The trucking industry is thriving, and it needs new truck drivers. Are you interested in trucking? If so, there are certainly jobs just waiting for you to claim. But, as with anything worth having, you have to do some work to get them.

In order to qualify for most trucking jobs, you need to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). To get a CDL, you must first complete CDL training, typically at a trucking school. Most good trucking schools will help you learn the skills and knowledge you need to find employment in the trucking industry through a training program that usually lasts several weeks.

Many students go through trucking school and get their CDL and find themselves a nice career driving a big truck. However, if you want to position yourself for success after trucking school, there are a few tips you can follow to place yourself ahead of what is essentially your trucking school competition.

First off, don’t go to the first trucking school you find. Do some research. Find out which school in your area is the best one. Speak to trucking companies and express your interest in working for them someday. Find out which trucking schools they consider the best in the area, and find out why.

Next, speak with a few trucking school graduates. You should be able to find them on social media or on message boards if you search correctly. Find out their thoughts on their own trucking school. They should be able to give you better trucking school advice than just about anyone.

After you find the best school for you and get enrolled, find out what the minimum requirements for a CDL are…and surpass them. Do your best every day to do better than the minimum. Commit trucking regulations to memory, try to put in more time than you have to in the truck practicing with an instructor, and do everything you can to be a superior trucking student.

Another way to get ahead: pick your instructors’ brains. Generally, trucking school instructors are experienced professionals. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions about their experiences in the trucking industry. Many of them should have some great stories and may be interested in talking to you further outside of class. In a college setting, instructors and students frequently mingle, especially with students who are upperclassmen. There’s no reason that a willing instructor wouldn’t want to sit down with a student for a few minutes, maybe over post-class drinks or something, and talk about their trucking experiences?

Finally, get ahead in the trucking industry by one tried-and-true way to make yourself more marketable: picking up new trucking skills. One great way of doing this is by pursuing trucking endorsements for your CDL license. Endorsements are the government’s statement that you have received trucking training in an activity they deem specialized and sensitive enough that it must be regulated. For example, transporting hazardous materials, or driving a tanker truck.

Receiving a trucking endorsement requires extra training, but there is no better way to stand out in a crowd of wannabe trucking professionals than to have skills they don’t have. Explore the options of getting a trucking endorsement for your CDL and see if it fits into your work. The extra work is certainly worth it when you’re suddenly a valued member of a trucking company because you have skills that half of the workers there do not.

In the end, you have control over your trucking training. Your attitude and work ethic is a huge part of success in the trucking industry. That will be true both in your trucking training and in your work as a truck driver. Finding a place in the trucking industry isn’t difficult for someone willing to put in the work necessary. The trucking industry always needs qualified workers to do their part for American commerce, and if you have the skills and work ethic necessary to get the job done, the trucking industry has a place for you. Just remember that you have to develop the skills and the knowledge necessary.