The trucking industry, like in every other career field, has a wide range of positions associated with it. People thinking of the truckers themselves, the ones driving the big rigs, they don’t realize what all is involved with getting freight to its destination.
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Truck drivers are just one part of the bigger picture, though they are a very important and essential part of the overall operation.
The trucking industry has variety of levels and positions, everything from managers and administrative staff, who are responsible for the day to day operations, dispatchers, who are responsible for scheduling and often handling the logistics of the operation. Then you have the maintenance crew, who keep the equipment up and running.
Now we can’t forget the warehouse and other dock workers, who actually get the trailers loaded and ready to go. That is just a sample of the numerous positions tried to the trucking industry.
Of course we should mention all the other people whose livelihood is directly connected to this industry. They include but are not limited to service centers, truck stops, law enforcement, the highway departments, and etc.
We could even mention the end consumer, without whom there would not be a need for trucking industry, special licenses, or trucking schools.
But it is the actual driver who is truly the heart, even the life blood of the trucking industry. Because without drivers who would haul the cargo? Who would brave the open road ensuring that the store shelves are able to be stocked?
And if it was not for truck drivers, Hollywood never would have been able to make all those great industry related movies we all know and love.
However, there is more to this than just being able to drive. In most parts of the United States it is a major stepping stone when a teenager is able to get their license. But, the standard driving license isn’t enough if you want to be professional truck driver.
You must obtain a CDL, a special driving license that allows you to operate those large commercial trucks (and buses). Furthermore, in most cases they also require you to have both experience and officially recognized training.
Fortunately there are options for getting this, and you don’t need to attend a full fledge four year university. Some of the options are military service, if you are able to drive a truck in the service you are a shoe-in for almost any company.
Many community colleges offer a commercial truck driving program, they allow you to learn a skill and gain college credit. However, the vast majority attend an independent driving school, where you pay to train to be a driver. Many companies sponsor these free truck driving schools, while promising possible employment after successfully completing the program.
But like every industry, the trucking industry is well regulated. These come from several sources; the industry itself, the government regulatory agencies, and the company you drive for. But don’t let that bother you, typically these rules are for your protection.
But before you drive, there are some things you might be curious about…
Well like every industry there are requirements. Some are internal, from the company and the industry and some are mandated straight from the government. But none of these were just dreamed up out of thin air. Though sometimes it feels that way- No, they were developed out of the 80 plus years of the ‘modern’ transportation industry. There are age requirements, over 18 for intrastate (meaning you can only drive inside your state of legal residence) and over 21 for interstate (meaning you can drive in any state).
Typically the requirements are not all that outrageous. It starts with you, a relatively clean background (no felony convictions or criminal record, good driving record, good credit rating, and positive employment history).
Next is usually the completion of an industry recognized trucking and/or driving school, followed by passing scores on all related driving test and getting a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License), and then passing the (Department of Transportation) DOT physical and drug test.
See, simple enough.
Time is always an issue. We Americans have truly become an “I want it and I want it now” society. I am the same way, but even if you win the lottery you still have to wait and there are hoops to jump through. Nothing happens overnight, but the good thing is that this can be obtained in months not years.
You don’t need to attend a four year university or an eighteen month trade school. Typically the driving schools range from about 4 months (the ones sponsored by the community college) to as short as 4 weeks. Of course it depends on the chosen schools, course availability, the completion of administrative requirements, and your background.
The real cost varies with two things; your personal situation and the school you choose to attend. If you have either the finances to pay for the school yourself or if you have other support means, such as the GI Bill, you simply apply and go to school.
However, you still have to cover lodging, meals, and related living expenses while attending the program. So the real cost can be as low as $5000.00 to over $15,000 or more.
Fortunately there are other options available and that is the great thing about the trucking industry. Rarely do other companies and industries provide training anymore. But that is not true in the trucking world; many of the companies seeking drivers will do just that. They either offer reimbursement for successfully completing the course, and they pay for the program, but deduct the cost out of your salary once you successfully pass everything. Some of the larger companies will pay for it without charging you.
Typically all three options come with two things, a guaranteed job and a contractual commitment, obligating you to work for them. Commonly the average contract is twelve to twenty-four months, depending on the company.
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