Congratulations! You want to become a truck driver. When you make this determination, you need to be aware that there are certain training and qualifications needed for this line of work. Not only does this help you to be a safer driver on the road, but it helps weed out those applicants who aren’t really suited for the rigorous and demanding nature of the job. Drivers who choose a career in trucking must be independent and self-reliant and able to deal with things without relying on someone else.
Before you can even consider training for trucking jobs, you will have to make sure that you are old enough. For trucking within your own state, you must be at least 18 years of age. For trucking across the country, you must be at least 21. However, it is also important to note that many companies will not hire persons younger than 23. In many cases, this has to deal with the high costs of insuring a younger driver.
CDL training and beyond
The training needed to get a trucking job starts with CDL training, which will give you your Commercial Driving License or CDL. This license is required for anyone who wants to drive an 18-wheeled vehicle. For this test, you will be required to take a written exam that goes over the major parts of driving the truck. You may also decide to take other endorsement tests to drive tanker trucks, trucks with double or triple trailers, or trucks carrying hazardous materials.
Provided that you pass the written exam, you will be issued a driving permit. This permit will allow you to drive a truck only if there is a CDL-licensed driver with you. In most cases the permit will be good for 6 months, which will give you enough time to go to truck driving school to learn how to actually handle the larger vehicles.
Going to driving school
The next set of skills and training for jobs in the trucking industry comes from a truck driving school. The school’s objective is to teach you how to safely and successfully manage driving the larger trucks so that you can pass the driving skills exam needed to obtain a CDL license. It is very important to choose a school that gives you plenty of training, since truck driving will become your career. There are numerous certified truck driving schools that are widely recognized and accepted by trucking companies, making it easier for you to find a job once your training is complete.
The driving test
The last part of training involves taking the driving skills exam. This is done once you have graduated from driving school. The point of the exam is for you to prove that you know how to inspect the truck before driving, perform an air brake test, and maneuver the truck safely on the road. It will also include basic skills like backing up and parking. Most test givers will start the test in a private driving area and then have you complete the exam on the open road with other drivers. Once completed, you will be given a full CDL license and will be allowed to drive a truck on your own.
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