You might not know it, but there are many amazing opportunities and truck driving jobs for Veterans.
As a former service member your previously gained driving skills are both valued and needed in the trucking industry. I know you might not think so but they are, indeed!
Here are just a few reasons why truck driving jobs for Veterans is a good idea:
- You can handle stress and constant change;
- Ability to work in most any environment, and don’t mind travel;
- You are used to schedules and meeting deadlines;
- The ability to understand the importance of and can follow rules;
- You understand the importance of properly maintaining your equipment.
Of course these are just a few of the reasons that recruiters use when finding truck driving jobs for Veterans.
Also, Veterans are loyal and understand how to follow directions. Another plus is with some companies where the requirement to where a uniform is necessary, well as a Veteran that is no problem.
Now if you’re a recent Veteran you might not be aware of just how valuable your skills are in the ‘real world’. Truck driving jobs for Veterans can be a great transition from service to civilian life.
Because, we all know that many people come out of the service and find it a bit of culture shock once they are out on the street. After all it’s not easy to transit from war zone into the everyday life!
They think that life after the service its as unusual, and you will just be able to sit down and tell your stories from the combat the same way you are telling driving urban legends and true stories! The truth and reality is that most of the veterans actually will not speak a lot about the time in the service!
So that is why truck driving jobs for Veterans can be a great way to bridge the gap. How or perhaps a better question is why? Both are simple to answer.
As a truck driver you are alone in the cab. You can decompress, listen to your favorite radio and music, whatever you wish. While at truck stops you can connect with other Veterans through social media and other means.
Considering truck driving jobs for Veterans is great step towards both a new life and a new you!
Whether you’re considering to transition out or you’re already out you might want to connect with a few others who have been there. Most of your ‘civilian’ friends can’t truly relate.
Your spouse might try, and even perhaps she/he thinks they do, but if they never served they don’t.
It isn’t his/her fault, if you never traveled into space can you relate to an astronaut? If you’ve never been to medical school can you relate to a doctor? No. So how can you expect them to fully understand what you’re going through if they never served? You can’t.
So what can you do? Simple find and speak with likeminded people. How do you do this? Well, there are literally hundreds of Veterans groups, associations, and organizations.
Some are really good others are not… but here are just a few Veteran organizations to have in mind:
- S. Department of Veterans Affairs;
- American Legion;
- Vietnam Veterans of America;
- National Association of American Veterans (NAAV);
- Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA);
- A good list of Veteran groups.
But, as I said there are so many more out there and many more popping up all the time. Some are great and some are just looking to cash in on you being a Veteran. If you need some help selecting a group, check out this article from Military (dot com).
As for social media of course there is Facebook and LinkedIn. Both of which have groups geared towards Veterans.
However, if you’re looking for the best, that have to offer but in one site, everything strictly for the military minded (current and Veteran), then check out Rallypoint.
There you can find out about all the issues that are important to Veterans. You can even find some experts that will tell you all about truck driving jobs for Veterans.
Driving Requirements to be a Truck Driver
Ok so you were in the service and decided against another hitch, retired, were medically discharged or otherwise let go (with an honorable discharge). Through a recruiter, locker-room talk, an Internet meme or whatever you heard about truck driving jobs for Veterans. Now you need to find out what is required.
Well actually the government does have some set requirements. These are both from the federal level as well as the state. And they can seem a bit overwhelming, well don’t worry they are not. Actually you might meet some of them already. In order to be eligible:
- You must be 21 years of age to drive a commercial vehicle across state lines, or to haul hazardous materials.
- Cannot have any disqualifying criminal offense in your background
- If you meet those basic requirements, then there are few other steps:
- Take and pass the written portion of the driving test.
- Take the road skills (driving) test.
Once that is done you will need to your commercial learner’s permit (CLP), and maintain it at least 14 days before applying for your actual commercial driver’s license (CDL).
- If you want additional endorsements you will need to test and pay for them as well.
Now, there are some additional requirements:
You will need to supply all legal documentation of testing, and legal citizenship status;
- Have a current valid driver’s license;
- A driving record that goes back 10 years (depending on your state).
The last thing you will need is to pass the DOT physical exam. This is basic test for reflexes, eyesight, hearing, and drug testing. Usually it isn’t anything too crazy.
A few other points to consider, is the cost of fees must be paid at the time of getting your license. Test must all be passed with a minimum score of 80%.
Programs for Veterans That are Interested in Trucking
When it comes to truck driving jobs for Veterans there are several things to consider. Is a life on the road one you want?
It isn’t that you can’t do it, after all you’ve deployed to wonderful and some horrendous places. So obvious you have the physical ability and the right mentality.
The question is simply after serving and traveling do you want a career involving constant travel? If you are like most Veterans the answer is yes. Once you contract the travel bug it can be hard to stay in one place. I am not saying all are like that but many.
Truck driving jobs for Veterans, as I said earlier, is a great opportunity to put your skills to use. But, you might be wondering how can I do that? Well there are several organizations that can help you. Some will offer advice others will offer training support.
A few of the more obvious ones will include the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Sure they have gotten some bad press lately, but give them call, go to the local office, search their website, but whatever you do don’t miss out on some of their programs.
Speaking of which, the VA offers financial assistance to those who qualify. They have several options such as the Post 911 GI Bill. Such programs will assist with paying for your truck driving school and getting your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).
So now you truly are interested in truck driving Jobs for Veterans, but not sure how to go about it, that is normal. Here is another resource that might help you, Troops to Truckers.
What is Military Skills Test Waiver Application?
Did you know that another great thing about truck driving jobs for Veterans is that you can get credit for being a truck driver in the military! How cool is that!
A MOS/job classification that actually transfers directly into the civilian world, unfortunately not many do.
Now if you’re still in and want to see about re-classing here is a good overview of what the military truck driver is. Now all the branches have their own specifications, they just call them something different. For example:
If you were to go into the Army and enlist as a motor transport operator (88M) you’d be trained as a truck driver. In doing so you’ll spend 7 glorious weeks in Fort Lee, Virginia, that is after your 10 weeks of basic is over.
If you are joining the Marines to be a truck driver they call it something else, 3531 motor vehicle operator. With them you will get to spend your training in the beautiful Camp Lejeune, in North Carolina!
Of course the Navy and Air Force have their own versions as well. And then the guard and reserves have programs for those who are prior service and re-class. But the point is the Department of Transportation (DOT) has deemed that if you can drive a truck for the military, you’re eligible to apply for any of the truck driving jobs for Veterans.
Of course there is a catch! You still need the proper license and a clean driving record. The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) has this all lined for you. They even have an add saying that FMCSA Grants $1 million to veterans who Want to be trained as truck drivers.
Basically you can apply one year after your ETS. There are of course a few other requirement and associated fees but if you’re seeking truck driving jobs for Veterans, and already have trucking experience, it is worth it.
Types of Truck Driving Jobs for Veterans
Ok so you have determined that truck driving jobs for Veterans is something for you and worth pursuing. You got your license all straightened out and you can drive the big trucks in the civilian world. Do you know what you can do with your license? (No, not that…)
This goes back your ability to handle stress. The fact that you have driven long distances, maintained timetables, kept records, performed all the proper pmcs of you vehicle and equipment is so beneficial! Also you know how to secure loads, and follow proper instructions. All this and more makes you so valuable.
There is numerous truck driving jobs for Veterans. You just need to know where to look. Well you can check with many of the previously mentioned resources above. If you visit any job board you will see truck driver jobs listed constantly. “And what exactly are these,” you ask?
- Oversized transportation: Transporting items, machinery, and such that is actually bigger than the usual trailer (and even road width). If you can haul tanks and such you can haul large construction equipment.
- Hazardous materials transporting: This includes but is not limited to flammables, combustibles, explosives, toxic, bio-contamination, and such. If you haul bombs, fuel, other ordinance, and/or military chow you’ve transported stuff as dangerous more even more so that. Here you will still be required to take the HAZMAT practice test though!
- Ice road trucking: Really this can be more than just ice-road; it could be oil fields, mining fields, and/or desert roads. Basically this includes anything off-the- beaten-path that requires added attention and skill.
- Overseas Contracting: You’ve seen them. They are civilians doing the same job you’re doing but getting paid better. That’s right, most contractors are Veterans who now drive for the Department of Defense (DoD).
Of course there are other truck driving jobs for Veterans but these are the ones that call to Vets.
Which is Better: Regional or OTR Truck Driving jobs for Veterans?
Now when it comes to truck driving jobs for Veterans there are a few other things to consider. One of the most obvious is the location. Are you willing to relocate to where the work is? Do you just want to find a company that has headquarters in your community?
Well, obviously if you are looking at the overseas contracting or some of the other more ‘skilled’ truck driving jobs for Veterans you are willing to go where the work is! The good thing is that like the military your home of record can be anywhere. The world is your leaving room!
However, if you don’t want to be a world traveler or you want to return home after each trip then you need to take a few other things into consideration. Just how much time do you want away from home? How many miles are you looking to go per shift, per week?
So you have regional, which is also called local driving job. These are routes that usually are within a reasonable distance from your start point. They can also consist of a regular route. Think of it like a mailman, you have a route you follow every day. Or you go from one warehouse to another, perhaps you work just in the yard. Either way you are usually home every night and work a set schedule.
Over the road (OTR), sometimes called the long haul, is just that, long trip. The dispatcher will assign you a trip, or a route. You will be gone a week or more at a time driving from one doc to another, either dropping off, picking up, or both.
Local drivers have a steady income and a set schedule; their day is more predictable. OTR usually pays better, and you have a greater sense of independence (within reason).
Military Friendly Employers
Truck driving jobs for Veterans are out there! Some pay better than others, and some offer better perks than others. But be warned just because they are offering truck driving jobs for Veterans don’t always mean they are Veterans friendly.
I must stress it depends on the area you have chosen to call home. There are some great companies everywhere from Alabama to Montana to California and all points in between. Just do a little research on the company before taking any job offers that will save you some serious grief later.
Regarding truck driving jobs for Veterans I guess you would like to know where to find them. Well there are job boards like Indeed or websites such as Craigslist and of course a dozen others. Some offer free service some offer pay for services.
To find truck driving jobs for Veterans, you should never pay! The employer should pay to post the job, you the job seeker should not have to pay. There are several companies out there that will recruit you and others that you have heard of.
Moreover, there are numerous trucking companies out there all promising truck driving jobs for Veterans. You should do a little research before you do anything. A good place to start is to GI Jobs and you review the top military friendly companies according to Forbes Magazine.
Of course there are numerous other resources. You can look into some of the government contracting companies and see if there is something for you.
But this is where networking can really pay off! Join the associations and social media groups. Talk with your fellow Veterans and see what is out there. You might be surprised to find your next job is right there where you standing!
Keep in mind, as a Veteran you will run into all sorts of people. Some will love you for what you have done and some will hate you! That is actually another advantage to truck driving jobs for Veterans; you usually don’t deal with such characters. Well not as much, sure maybe at the moment of getting truck loaded and/or offloaded but then you’re off to the next location.
So don’t get too wrapped up what non-Veterans have to say. Be proud of what you have done and accomplished. Remember they just might be jealous, or can’t understand you fully, so don’t be too annoyed with the “I thought about joining”. You’ll hear that from time to time.
Also you’ll hear the “my daddy/mommy/uncle (who ever) was a mayor in the Marines. Then because of such they are more an expert about the military than you are.
Again, remember you can hop in your cab and drive off; hopefully you won’t have to deal with him/her again.
I know you want to learn all about truck driving jobs for Veterans and life as a trucker, but we can’t cover it all in one little article.
Luckily, there is a ton of good truck driving tips available out there. And, furthermore there are tips for winter driving, so many resources, associations, and whatnot! You’ll be an expert in no time!
Now, of course you will need to get yourself familiar with the ever-popular truck driving songs if you don’t want the silence! Another thing that is almost a requirement for truck driving jobs for Veterans is to be familiar with all the trucker movies! I am sure you will enjoy them!
Were you a trucker in the service? Did it help you get a job out in the civilian world? What advice would you give to a newbie and all the rookies out there? Share your tips, stories and experiences for us all.