- Obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to begin a career in trucking.
- In addition to the CDL, several other licenses may be required depending on the type of job.
- Consider consulting with an experienced truck driver attorney to understand any legal matters you may encounter during your career.
- Once all paperwork is completed and approved, it’s time to find a job.
A career in the trucking industry is one of the most rewarding and financially lucrative paths you can take. Whether you want to become an independent contractor or join a company as an employee, there are several steps that you need to take to get started. This guide will discuss the process of starting a career in trucking, from preparing for your CDL test and obtaining the necessary licenses to finding the right job for you.
Step 1: Get Your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
The first step when beginning a career in trucking is getting your CDL. To obtain your CDL, you must be at least 18 years old and pass all required tests.
You will need to complete extensive training and pass written, skills, and road tests before being granted permission by the state licensing agency. Depending on where you live, additional testing may be required as well. Once approved, you will receive your commercial driver’s license (CDL).
- Class A: This type of CDL is required for drivers who operate and tow vehicles weighing more than 26,001 pounds.
- Class B: This type of CDL is needed to drive vehicles weighing 26,001 pounds or more and tow trailers less than 10,000 pounds.
- Class C: Drivers with this license can drive vehicles that would carry up to 16 passengers or hazardous materials.
Step 2: Apply for Necessary Licenses
Once you have obtained your CDL, it’s time to apply for any additional licenses that may be necessary for your job. Here are some examples, depending on what type of job you plan on taking on:
Hazardous Materials Endorsement (HME)
This is necessary for carrying any hazardous materials and adds an extra layer of safety to your trips. For instance, tanker trucks carrying flammable liquids must have an HME. In addition, you must complete a security screening and successfully pass an exam.
Passenger Transporting Endorsement (PTE)
If you are transporting passengers, then you need to obtain a PTE. This endorsement requires extra training and certification, as well as a pass on the written exam. You would also need to maintain a clean driving record with no violations or tickets.
Double/Triple Trailer Endorsement (DTE)
This endorsement is necessary if you plan to drive a truck with double or triple trailers. You will need to pass an exam and practice driving the vehicle for several hours. This is because the laws vary between states, and you must be well-versed in each state’s regulations before taking on this type of job.
Livestock Carrier Endorsement (LCE)
This endorsement is necessary for any drivers who are transporting livestock. You must take a special exam and practice driving with the animals to ensure safety. Obtaining insurance might also be necessary before taking on this type of job.
Step 3: Prepare for Legal Matters
You may also want to consider working with an experienced truck driver attorney to understand any legal matters you may encounter. This includes dealing with insurance companies, filing paperwork, and understanding each state’s regulations.
Having a knowledgeable attorney by your side will help you avoid costly mistakes and misunderstandings along the way. For starters, you can ask them any questions you may have about the process and laws surrounding trucking.
Moreover, they can provide advice on any legal issues that may arise during your career. With a lawyer, you’ll be able to work through these issues without having to worry about the consequences of mishandling them.
Step 4: Join a Trucking Company
Once all of your paperwork is completed and approved, it’s time to find a job! Begin by researching different trucking companies and their available positions.
Many trucking companies offer entry-level and more advanced positions like freight broker or dispatcher positions. Consider applying for these jobs if they match your qualifications and desired salary level. This could help jumpstart your truck driving career!
Additionally, many companies provide educational programs such as apprenticeships or internships, which provide valuable experience while giving aspiring drivers the opportunity to learn new skills while working alongside experienced professionals.
A career in trucking can be one of the most rewarding experiences possible—both financially and personally. If you’re interested in starting a career in this exciting field but don’t know where to begin, use this guide as a roadmap. Start by getting your commercial driver’s license (CDL), then apply for any necessary licenses or permits needed for specific jobs. Finally, research different trucking companies to find one that fits what you’re looking for financially and professionally. With some hard work and dedication, there is no limit to what you can achieve in this industry.