Trucking is where you are going; there’s no doubt about that. You’ve known for a long time that the truck driving field was where you wanted to be. And why not? Trucking is (literally) fast paced, exciting, and it’s an important job.
Trucking is a vital piece of American commerce; trucking gets goods delivered where they need to go so they can be sold to the people who need and want them. Without trucking, you would have a difficult time finding gas for your car, clothing, food, a home, even. Trucking transports the things we buy to a place where we can reach them.
So how do you get into trucking? The first part is to get a trucking license. That’s more commonly known as a CDL-a commercial driver’s license. It’s required by the federal government that people who operate large vehicles must obtain a CDL. This is required because of the potential hazards involved in operating a large piece of machinery often travelling at high speeds on busy roadways, particularly when they are operated by unskilled, untrained, nonqualified truck drivers. As a result, trucking is a much more highly-regulated industry with a variety of safety rules that drivers and companies must follow.
To get your CDL license, you most likely will need to find a trucking school that will help you learn the ins and outs of the profession. There are many trucking schools out there; be sure you seek out a good one. You want a school that will help you prepare for a career, not help you to pass a test. Look at the birth of your trucking career like this: you want advice on how to proceed in your career. You want something that will offer you stability, the chance to develop and grow into your career. Trucking is definitely for you, but you need a school that will offer you the educational experience you need. Don’t go for the first trucking school you see, or the first person to promise you a CDL. Take your time and find a good school that will actually teach you something.
While you are at trucking school, consider the future. You have a ton of options—which area of trucking you want to get into, whether management is in your future, which endorsements you want to pursue. Trucking is a large, varied industry, and you want to set yourself up for success from the start. Don’t make the mistake of asking what are the minimum CDL requirements, then shooting for that. Aim high, and give yourself a little bit of an advantage over others entering the trucking industry.
After you have completed trucking school, you are ready to take the CDL exam. Treat it with the proper respect; don’t get cocky and believe that your trucking school training program will be sufficient to pass the exam. If you can get additional training time in the truck, do so; if you can read up additionally on trucking regulations, you had better do that. Studying is key; treat this as if you were an attorney trying to pass the bar exam. Yes, you have gained some knowledge, but you aren’t inside the trucking field just yet. Study as if you are a newbie and read up until you have everything committed to memory.
Once you pass your trucking exam and have your CDL, you may be ready to find employment in trucking. It’s your tie to shine; make the most of it. Sell yourself well and let your positive attributes get you inside. Have a strong work ethic; that is key in trucking. Employers appreciate a strong work ethic both in trucking and elsewhere.
And most importantly: never look at your trucking training as being complete. You always have more to learn, there is always another challenge to take on, another endorsement you can earn, another aspect of trucking you could stand to pick up a little more information about. Immerse yourself in the trucking industry, or whatever your career field is, and develop skill upon skill. Position yourself for trucking success, and you will find yourself succeeding more often than not. Your skills are your own; you may as well develop them to fit the trucking industry well.