Truck Driving School Is Just The Beginning
A career as a professional semi driver can open the door to a lifetime of job opportunities. And proper training is critical to your potential for success.
There are several types of driving jobs available for industry professionals. It's important to understand the different types of jobs so you can pursue a path that will help you find the most enjoyment in your career.
CDL Career Possibilities
- Company Drivers - these drivers work for trucking companies and drive equipment that is owned by the carrier employing them.
- Owner Operators - these drivers own their own tractor trailer. They either contract with a company to haul for that company or they can haul loads for many companies. This type of driver is self employed and is sometimes called an independent contractor.
Most recent truck driving school graduates begin their careers behind the wheel for a carrier, or what is often called a Company Driver. After you complete CDL training, you can start looking for opportunities that fit your life and career goals.
Starting your career as a driver can also prepare you for other types of roles at trucking companies. Your driving experience can prepare you for such roles as:
- Driving recruiter
- CDL training instructor
- Safety and compliance officer
- And more!
The first step is finding schools in your area to learn more about your potential career path in the trucking industry.
Checklist For Choosing a School
As you compare schools for training, consider these key factors:
- Drive Time - How many hours will you spend behind the wheel of your tractor trailer. The more time you spend, the better prepared you will be for your first job.
- Length of School - Most CDL training schools last around 2 months. Some schools also offer night and weekend classes if you are working a daytime job. Make sure to check with the school to make sure the training fits into your schedule.
- Location - Is the school close to home, or will you have to stay on site during your training? Many schools have excellent facilities that are close to the school that you may stay in.
- Job Placement - Does the school have a job placement department that will help get you hired? Many schools will help you land your first professional driving job.
What Should I Expect In School?
Specific training will vary depending on the school you choose, but generally training is structured into a few topics, such as:
- Classroom Learning - You will spend time in the classroom learning regulations, laws, logbooks, map reading, and many other skills necessary for your new career.
- Driving Practice - Practicing is typically divided into 2 parts - range practice and driving in traffic. Range practice may include maneuvering the rig, shifting, backing, parking, and alley docking. These skills will be practiced until you are comfortable controlling the rig. Traffic practice will provide you with the opportunity to drive on local roads and highways to further develop your driving skills.
- Pre-Trip Inspection - Learning a proper pre-trip inspection is a very important part of your training, and an essential part of your Class A test. You will learn how to identify integral parts on your rig, and to make sure they are in proper working order
Career Outlook for Professional Drivers
The career outlook for professional drivers is very bright according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment is expected to increase 21% according to their data
, which is higher than average for other careers. A variety of government sources and independent trucking professionals agree that there is a huge need for drivers, and that need will increase into the future.
Earn More Endorsements To Increase Your Potential
Endorsement tests are inexpensive to take and can help you qualify for additional driving positions. They typically consist of a written or driving test - sometimes both. We recommend earning as many as possible. You never know which one might land you your next job.
While some states differ in the endorsements they offer, the most common are:
- Doubles and triples (hauling multiple trailers)
- Air brake
- Hazardous materials(HAZMAT)
Different types of freight may also affect your career. For example, certain specialized haulers (flatbed, cars, tanker, etc.) may have different opportunities and/or routes than regular dry van haulers. Make sure to consider getting additional training and/or endorsements that might help you advance as a specialized hauler.
If you're ready to hit the road as a professional driver, use Top Trucking Schools to find the right program. Use our simple zip search at the top of this page, or choose your state below for more information about your area.
What Real Students Are Saying About Schools on Top Trucking Schools
"Job placement opportunities are endless if you really want to work.
Several recruiters come by on a regular basis to hire students."
"I think all of you at NBI are doing a great job! A very
enjoyable learning experience."
"Thanks to Roadmaster, I'm out making a living doing something fun and also very professional. I love every minute out on the road."
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