Tips On Becoming A Truck Driver With No Experience
All prospective commercial Motor vehicle (CMV) drivers are required to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL), you can’t work as a truck driver without one. However, if you desire to work in the trucking industry as a truck driver, some companies may require that you have some years of experience as a truck driver before you can be employed.
Since it is not compulsory to attend a truck driving school, many people take the CDL test required for obtaining a license by studying and taking practice tests on their own and if they pass the CDL examination, they would get their license. But it would mean they would be counted as having no prior work experience and finding employers in the trucking company may be more difficult. But if you are fresh out of a truck driving or vocational school, with no work experience you can be hired by the trucking company that trained you in the necessary knowledge and skills to obtain your CDL or another company easily as a truck driver.
If you would require more on the job training, that would depend on the trucking company who hired you and the type of vehicle you will be operating. In case you’re hauling hazardous materials, driving double or triple vehicles, and passenger bus according to the regulation, you would need to take endorsement tests and earn a permit in addition to your current CDL.
How To Become A Truck Driver With No Experience
There are a series of requirements you must meet and steps you need to follow before you can become a truck driver. Below are the steps you must take to become a truck driver;
-Pass your state’s regular driver’s license exam;
No state would allow their residents to drive any small vehicle like family cars or small trucks unless they have gone through training, taken the appropriate test, and earned a regular driver’s license let alone if you plan to drive a commercial truck. After getting your driver’s license, you can start to prepare by training and studying to obtain a CDL.
Complete the minimum education requirements and professional training
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), trucking companies expect their long-haul driving employees to have at least a high school diploma or its GED equivalent in addition to a CDL. Also, applicants must have undergone training in a certified truck driving school, which could be a private truck driving school or community college program.
Earn the appropriate license and certifications
Attending truck driving school means you would learn the necessary information and details to pass a CDL examination and other related tests to obtain your CDL and other pertinent licenses as the case may be. The training school would typically focus on the details of the state’s CDL examination. Also, additional licenses like the different types of endorsements paves way for drivers to be qualified to drive specialized vehicles like combination vehicles, regulated contents like hazardous materials haulage, tank vehicles, and others. These tests require adequate study of the provided CDL manual and taking practice tests to prepare drivers for the real CDL examination. The test is in writing; which are a theory and general knowledge test and skills test involving behind the wheel training with an instructor and assessment to test proficiency.
Find Job placement
If you attend a truck driving school, the majority of these schools assist in job placement, counseling, and guidance to their candidates. You can choose to register under truck driving associations to assist you in finding trucking jobs through job fairs and other recruitment activities, you can also use the service of a professional recruiting agency. You can use the national job platforms that post job opportunities for truck drivers like Monster or Indeed.
Complete Employer Orientation And Training Program
After you have been accepted as a newly recruited truck driver in a trucking company, most companies usually require that drivers who have just newly obtained their CDL to take in-house orientation and training to help them settle into their new career with the company. The duration of training differs from one company to another but typically the training should be within 4weeks to 6weeks. This training is referred to as Driver Finishing Program, the training topics cover introducing new truckers to the company’s materials, equipment, and vehicles they would be operating. New drivers get on the road mentoring and supervision by licensed instructors during this period.
Gain relevant experience
Often, employers may not hire new truckers to operate vehicles such as tractor-trailers unless they have at least two years of relevant experience. Also, experience may affect the total earnings of a semi-trailer or long haul drivers. While on the road, drivers easily connect with other drivers, gain information on job openings, improvement strategies, and so on.
What Disqualifies You From Being A Truck Driver?
If a person is disqualified from getting a CDL that means the person is not permitted to be a commercial motor vehicle driver and can not be employed by any truck driving company either. So, prospective drivers must research carefully on the CDL eligibility criteria both at the federal and state level. The following are the reasons you may be disqualified from getting a CDL;
If you’re found driving under alcohol influence, whether off duty or not, or you refuse to take an alcohol test you automatically get disqualified to drive a CMV, even in some states it may apply to personal vehicles.
-Drugs or Other Controlling Substances
If you are in possession or used drugs or controlling substances in some states like Illinois, it is considered a felony, and by the law, it is a punishable offense. A CDL driver found under the influence of a drug, or other controlling substances will be disqualified according to the Controlled Substance Act (CSA).
-Serious Traffic Violations
Excessive speeding while you are driving a CMV, reckless driving without regard to the safety of your life and other road users, improper lane changes; not signaling, failure to check blind spots, weaving between traffic, changing lanes frequently in traffic, passing lanes that are not for trucks.
-Felonies like homicide from negligent driving, murder, smuggling, burglary, etc would lead to automatic disqualification after you have been convicted of such crimes.