Dump truck training may seem rather obvious at first. After all, you might be thinking how hard is it to drive a dump truck all day?
I mean we have all seen the dump trucks pull into a job site drop their load off the dump trailer and go. A little while later, they return loaded again.
Well, actually there is more to it than you might think. There are quite a few pros and cons of being a dump truck driver, and there are few things that you need to do before you become one, like the example you need to go through dump truck training first!
Dump truck training, as I will explain in a bit, is more than just driving a large truck. It is more than just going from the quarry to the construction site and back.
Actually, it is as important as any other truck driving job. Some might say more important! How do you think the asphalt get to the road crews? If it wasn’t for drivers who had proper dump truck training the roads would not be able to be built!
No seriously! Well, I guess we could go back to the days when workers would shovel the material off the back of a wagon. They would drop it into wheel barrels and push it to where they wanted it and drop it.
Can you imagine how long it would take to build a major highway this way… well, let’s just say ants build roads faster than that!
So that brings us to a couple of points like:
- What is a dump truck?
- How does one become a dump truck driver?
- What are the requirements for becoming a dump truck driver?
- How does one find proper dump truck training?
- Who will hire dump truck drivers, after the completed dump truck training?
- And how much do they get paid?
Well, I am glad you asked. Because in the next couple of paragraphs I plan to answer these questions, and hopefully cover a few other things as well. So let’s jump on in and learn about dump truck training and related stuff.
What is a Dump Truck?
Well, the first thing to learn in regards to dumping truck training is, “what is a dump truck”? The very simple answer is a vehicle with a bed that is designed to be raised, allowing its load to be ‘dumped’.
They can dump from the back, which is most common, from the sides, and/or from the bottom.
Even though the Department of Transportation (DOT), oversees and regulates everything transportation related, they don’t have a special classification for dump trucks.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), does have classifications for commercial vehicles though. Most commonly seen dump trucks are either class 7 or class 8, however, class 6 dump trucks do exist.
The modern dump truck has actually evolved from wagons designed in the late 19th century. In the US trucking history says that the first motorized dump trucks were designed around 1910, with hydraulic designs soon to follow.
Like so many vehicles, the dump truck designs were tested and developed during World War one, and soon after were made available to the general public for private commercial use.
Most of the earliest designs were based on the model-A Ford truck frame but as time passed and the weight stations limits increased, so did the truck frame designs. It wasn’t long before companies were manufacturing their chassis for dump trucks.
One of the oldest companies still in operation today is Galion, though they are now called Galion-Godwin Truck Body Co.
Of course with the development of the dump truck and the related industry, government regulators were there to help. As more vehicles were sharing the road, safety became a major concern so soon there were licensing and other requirements along with dump truck training.
How to Become a Dump Truck Driver
First and most important is the wish to become a dump truck driver! Well Duh….
If you are thrilled by the idea of seating in the driver truck seat of a dump truck, wearing comfortable driving shoes, a cotton trucker t-shirt and one of those custom made truckers head, then you are in the right mindset! You are meant to be a dump truck driver!
After all, truck driving is not everybody’s right and ideal job! Not everybody is meant to be a truck driver, especially not a dump truck driver!
Now, that’s all fine but here comes the next thing: how to fulfill that wish of yours and how to become a dump truck driver? The idea is there, the desire is there too, but now comes the part where you need to do something about it!
Next, you need to consider is looking at the requirements to become a dump truck driver, and one of those requirements is going through special dump truck training.
Yes, you read it well! There is dump truck training! It’s not very different from the rest of the truck driving training’s but it’s specific and is more lying towards the dump truck and how to operate it!
When you start your dump truck training, you will become familiar with all aspects of the job. That includes the daily duties that will be expected from you as a dump truck driver and such.
So with that said, let me cover and go into more details about the requirements to become a dump truck driver and going through dump truck training.
Requirements to Become a Dump Truck Driver
There are people who want to go through dump truck training and get in the industry as dump truck drivers, but they just don’t know what to do first.
Here in few basic steps, I will try to cover that. Sure, there are some basic requirements for becoming dump truck driver with the most obvious being the fact that you need to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License.
So yes, in order to become a dump truck driver, it is a mandatory requirement that you first need to earn a CDL license. You should apply for it through the department of motor vehicles and prepare for the written and a practical examination.
I will recommend to people with no prior experience in driving commercial trucks, to enroll for lessons for a few days in preparation for the test.
Once you pass the test and now you have your license, you will be required to attend training in heavy equipment operation.
Operating a dump truck isn’t that difficult, but you do need to be trained by somebody with experience and somewhere where you can get that experience.
Just because you pass the test does not mean that you are now all set and good to go! Further, you will need to attend lessons in heavy equipment operation.
The best way to do this is to learn/practice by somebody with an experience and in a relevant institution.
A good option will be to have dump truck training in one of the construction companies near you! They mostly use a heavy machinery at the construction sides, so having trained with various machines including dump truck training, will be ideal for you.
So, I don’t want to bit the dead horse, but let me repeat it one more time! If you want to be a dump truck driver, you will have to have a valid driver’s license that’s renewed on a regular basis.
Moreover, you will need to have a valid CDL license or a learner’s permit for a CDL in the future.
If you want to drive a straight dump truck, you will need a Class B CDL. With that one, you can drive heavy other straight flatbed and box trucks as well. In other words, you can tow trailers less than 10,000 pounds of Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR).
Certain trucks, that are considered tractor-trailer dump trucks, require a Class A CDL. With that license, you can tow trailers that are more than 10,000 lbs. GVWR.
These semi-dump truck trailers are bigger and longer than the straight dump trucks, and with them, you can move material more quickly.
What Other Requirements are needed?
You know how we are. We have requirements on the requirements. No seriously, all joking aside, it’s almost unbelievable sometimes!
Another thing you will need to take care of in order to become a dump truck driver or any type of driver in a matter of fact is to get a DOT physical. Furthermore, you should look into the proper endorsements if you want to operate a dump truck with a specific load like hazardous cargo.
HAZMAT endorsement and passenger endorsements are the most popular ones among the dump truck drivers and you can obtain them by going through some classes and tests.
There are of course other types of vehicles that are considered ‘special purpose’. Some good examples are farm vehicles, mining/excavating, and other heavy duty vehicles designed for a specific reason.
These are not usually designed for normal highway use and require either special permits or special trailers to get them from one place to another.
If you are going to be operating such equipment you’ll need additional training and certifications.
There are even dump trucks that can fall into this category, some of the large beast seen at rock queries for example. These will require a professional dump truck training program, perhaps a required amount of drive time, and even a restrictions beyond the set standard.
Keep in mind not all companies will require this. Some will even have training programs provided.
So do a little research and see what is in your area and study up on what they require. Then compose your perfect truck driver resume and apply! You might be lucky and all they require is someone who is a good driver and will show up for work on time!
How to Find Dump Truck Driving School and Attend Dump Truck Training
This is actually very simple; learn how to drive a dump truck! I say it this way not to be rude, but to remind you a dump truck is not the same as a regular truck.
It is not like a semi truck, or like it is presented on the reality trucking TV shows! Is not and like your ¾ ton truck that requires a full tank gas and some extra in the auxiliary fuel tank! As a matter of fact, it is completely different than any other vehicle you have ever driven.
Oh, sure your thinking it has wheels, a steering wheel, brakes and all the other things a regular truck does. And you are correct!
But there is a major difference, their size, and weight. They are a heavy truck unloaded but when you add a load of rock or sand, especially if it’s wet, you have a mountain on wheels.
They weigh between 12,000 to 74,000 pounds, when loaded. Let that sink in!
So you see you want to have proper dump truck training. And there are ways to get it. Grow up on the farm, join the military, or go to school. These are some of the more common ways. But let’s stick with getting your dump truck training from a truck driving school.
First off, getting your CDL takes a couple of weeks to over a month, by the time you are actually able to drive legally. So be prepared for that. Also, a lot of places will only get you the license, but what you really need is the practice and experience.
The get dump truck training, some of the options you have are:
- Find a company that will cover the cost and pay you to learn;
- Find a company that will reimburse you for the training;
- Go to a heavy equipment operator school;
- Try your local community college;
- Or you can research the private driving schools.
Many states have dump truck associations who can help direct you to a reputable school. An example of a good school is The Georgia Construction Aggregate Association (GCAA). They offer the ‘Dump Truck Professional (DTP)’, – a certification program that focuses on dump truck drivers.
Dump Truck Training Opportunities
To be honest, there are many training opportunities, you just need to know what you want!There are schools that offer programs specifically for learning how to drive straight trucks, such as dump trucks, waste trucks, delivery trucks, concrete trucks/mixers, and water trucks.
A straight truck program typically includes:
- Preparation for CDL tests and
- Basic skills instruction.
Courses normally vary. It all depends on the school you are choosing, and they last between 3 to 7 weeks. As for the cost, it also varies based on the school and can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $6,000. To qualify for taking this course, drivers need to show:
- Proof of being over 18 years old;
- Valid state driver’s license;
- Clean driving record.
As I mentioned earlier, if you want to operate specialized dump trucks, such as the one that hauls hazardous materials, you may need to take further training for HAZMAT and passenger endorsements.
Now the good part in all of this is the fact that some of the companies pay you for the training, instead of the other way around! If you are fortunate enough, at the end of the training program you might get a full-time role if the company likes your accomplishments and performance during the training.
Honestly, on-the-job training can really provide a valuable preparation for those undertaking to become dump truck drivers. Its a step closer towards your dream of becoming a dump truck driver.
Although some companies are skeptic about hiring drivers with no prior experience, there are many that others offer on-the-job training to the drivers they hire.
What Kinds of Companies Hire Dump Truck Drivers?
As I said dump truck drivers are mostly working in the Mining, Construction and landscaping sites, and some specialized trucking companies.
I am looking on daily bases through the industry trends and I know all about the US trucking secrets, so I can for sure tell you that dump truck drivers are a deficit and very needed!
When I am looking for the job vacancies in the industry, every day I see advertisements for dump truck drivers. Companies are in constant search and are advertizing for experienced operators of dump trucks. Most of them will take and trainees and have them trained, just because they were not able to fill the quota.
So yes, the demand is still there!
Another thing you can do when you first enter the industry is to get a trainee dump truck job and get experience by working for a smaller company, local contractor, or for your local council.
At the beginning, probably you’ll be operating machines that are smaller but you will be getting machine experience, and that’s what matters!
I am not saying this is the best idea but you can have it somewhere in the back of your burner if you feel ready for something like that.
Of course for that, you will need to have some saved capital up front or make the best trucking business plan and have the bank back you up! Good luck with that! My experience was not that great but I will tell you all about in one of my next articles!
What Is The Salary for a Dump Truck Driver?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), shows that truck drivers, in general, have a median annual salary of $34,000, which means that the hourly rate can vary greatly, from $11.79 to $20.69. If you manage to have some overtime and bonuses to tuck in, the total amount that a driver make will increase too!
Dump truck drivers are mostly working for a trucking company or a construction company. A number of dump truck drivers is working in the mining industry as well.
What is good about lending a job as a dump driver is the fact that in the compensation packages that those companies offer as common part of the package are health insurance and benefits!
If you build your way up, you can have an extra role and become a trainer in the dump truck training program that most of those companies have.
Then you can train new recruits that come through, and make some extra dollars. So it will all depend on how big are your ambitions and the opportunities and circumstances in your area!
So on the end of the day, the question how much dump truck drivers make will still be a million dollar question!
The salary of a dump truck driver will vary based on a many factors. The industry in which the dump truck driver is working will answer only half of the question.
This might be surprise for you but the difference between an entry-level dump truck driver and one with years of experience is only about $5,000! Figures!
Like anything, dump truck training can be a great way to go into a new career. Whether you wish to work your way up and even own a fleet of dump trucks one day or you wish to buy one of those trucking business for sale you sew the other day listed on Craig List, and turn it into a successful dump truck business, you should consider the dump truck training first!
Or perhaps you might just want a stepping stone, well again, dump truck training is a great step!
The thing to remember about dump truck training is that regulations can vary. Not only from state to state, but company to company.
That’s right! You might think your time driving a Ford F450 Dump will be all the experience you need! Well, try getting a job driving the Belaz 75710. They’ll laugh you right out of the office!
Get remember to research the company, get all the proper training and endorsements. Prepare to start at the bottom and work your way up.
If you’re a good and reliable driver your reputation will spread. Keep in mind, there are that many dump truck drivers in any given area! If you stand out (in the good way) employees will know it! If it’s in the bad way they’ll know that too!
Have you had dump truck training? Where did you get it? Was it on the job? Was it at a driving school? Share your experiences and offer suggestions to those considering driving dump trucks and going through dump truck training.