You might be bored with your job, or even just struggling to find one. Or maybe you’re looking for a shake-up in your life and you’re ready to take on a new adventure. If you’re considering transitioning into a trucking career, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be incredibly difficult and a little bit of preemptive research can save you a lot of trouble down the road.
The first step to becoming a professional truck driver is CDL training. There are several ways to complete this step, so you can choose the one that works best for you.
Private CDL training is offered by specialized schools and some community colleges. This will require you to pay for tuition yourself, but it gives you the freedom to complete the training on your own time and avoid being locked in with a company once your training is complete.
Paid CDL training, or company-sponsored training, is done by trucking companies that cover the cost of your training in exchange for signing a contract to work for them. This guarantees that you will have a job after training which makes it an excellent option, but it means you need to do your research before you sign the contract.
Choose Your Path
If you are doing paid CDL training, this step should be done before you start. There are several different types of trucking careers, so it’s important to know the difference between them and choose the one that suits your personal circumstances the best.
Regional routes stick to localized areas of operation, requiring less time on the road. This can be a good option for those with families and obligations, as well as those who just want time away from their truck each week. Regional truckers make less money than long haul truckers, which is the trade-off for being able to spend more time with loved ones.
Long haul, or OTR (over the road), truckers haul trucking loads that take them from coast to coast, anywhere in the country. They can spend weeks or months on the road, depending on how much work they’re willing to take on. This type of trucking operates more as a lifestyle than a job, being a good option for those who love driving or have little to no family obligations. These truckers make the most money, but also spend the most time on the road.
Hit the Road
It’s not a good idea to sell your house or break your apartment lease as soon as you hit the road in your new trucking career. You might end up not liking your new job, and find yourself wanting to plant your roots again. It’s a good idea to have someone who can check on your home during your first months on the road as you get adjusted to your new lifestyle. Once you feel more certain one way or another, you’ll naturally adjust your needs to your new lifestyle.
There is no solution that will suit everyone. Every driver has a different background and their own set of circumstances, so they all manage their own set of growing pains.
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