The life of a truck driver can be a lonely one with countless hours on the road and time away from the ones you love. Nevertheless, there are few careers that can be as rewarding as that of a truck driver. Truck drivers seem to be in a class all by themselves and actually enjoy the time they spend on the road. These individuals defy sleep itself and drive hundreds of miles in a single stretch. Some say they can actually hear the road calling. Are you one of these individuals? If so, here's what you need to know about becoming a truck driver.
While it is not an immediate requirement, most trucking companies like to field drivers that have a high school diploma or equivalent. If you do not have a high school diploma consider getting your GED before you seek your trucking employment.
Obtain a Commercial Driver's License (CDL). Getting your CDL will qualify you to drive trucks over 26,000 pounds or any size that transports hazardous materials. To get your CDL you must pass both a written and driving exam.
There are many commercial truck driving schools that offer courses and actual hands-on driving, and if you are serious about becoming a truck driver, you should strongly consider one of the schools. The schools will of course cost money, but the knowledge you gain will be invaluable. Many schools even offer assistance with job placement after graduation.
Take the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCR) exam. Along with a written exam, you will also have to pass a physical exam that includes an eye and hearing test. Once you are a certified truck driver you will have to take the FMCR's physical exam every two years to maintain your good standing as a commercial truck driver.
Keep a good driving record. If you have lots of speeding tickets and/or DUI arrests, your chances of being hired will diminish greatly. Keeping your nose clean will go a long way when it comes to employment.
It is now also mandatory that all trucking companies administer periodic drug testing to their drivers. A failed drug test can lead you to dismissal and the chances of you getting back into the truck driving game will be slim to none. Again, it pays to keep your nose clean.
While each state will have different procedures as to how they want you to go about applying for your CDL, the steps are pretty much the same. All states currently offer many different truck driving schools to choose from and it is wise to take advantage of the schools that are available.
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Now you are ready to become a certified commercial truck driver. Pack your bags and say goodbye to the family because the road is calling your name. In the words of Willie Nelson, "On the road again. I can't wait to get on the road again."