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Trucking Jobs

Truck Driver Training

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Taking driver-training courses is an excellent method of preparing for truck driving jobs and for obtaining a commercial driver's license (CDL). High school courses in driver-training and automotive mechanics also may be helpful.

Driver Training Programs

Many private and public vocational-technical schools offer tractor-trailer driver training programs. Students learn to maneuver large vehicles on crowded streets and in highway traffic. They also learn to inspect trucks and freight for compliance with Federal, State, and local regulations. Persons interested in attending a driving school should check with local trucking companies to make sure the school's training is acceptable.

Some States require prospective drivers to complete a training course in basic truck driving before being issued their CDL.

Training given to new drivers by employers is usually informal, and may consist of only a few hours of instruction from an experienced driver, sometimes on the new employee's own time. New drivers may also ride with and observe experienced drivers before assignment of their own runs. Some companies give 1 to 2 days of classroom instruction covering general duties, the operation and loading of a truck, company policies, and the preparation of delivery forms and company records. Driver/sales workers also receive training on the various types of products they carry, so that they will be effective sales workers.

Very few people enter truck driving professions directly out of school; most truck drivers previously held jobs in other occupations. Driving experience in the Armed Forces can be an asset. In some cases, a person may also start as a truck driver's helper, driving part of the day and helping to load and unload freight. Senior helpers receive promotion when driving vacancies occur.

Truck Driving Jobs

Although most new truck drivers are assigned immediately to regular driving jobs, some start as extra drivers, substituting for regular drivers who are ill or on vacation. They receive a regular assignment when an opening occurs.

New drivers sometimes start on panel trucks or other small straight trucks. As they gain experience and show competent driving skills, they may advance to larger and heavier trucks, and finally to tractor-trailers.

Some long-distance truck drivers purchase a truck and go into business for themselves. Although many of these owner-operators are successful, some fail to cover expenses and eventually go out of business. Owner-operators should have good business sense as well as truck driving experience. Courses in accounting, business, and business mathematics are helpful, and knowledge of truck mechanics can enable owner-operators to perform their own routine maintenance and minor repairs.

More Resources

Trucking Jobs
Trucker driver jobs, training and employment resources.

Truck Driver Qualifications
The qualifications you need for a truck driving job.

Professional Truck Driver Institute
Free list of certified tractor-trailer driver training courses.

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