How to Become a Truck Driver in the US?

Becoming a truck driver normally involves training that can span a few weeks to several months. This training goes beyond road regulations; it contains vehicle safety inspections, trip planning, and cargo-securing techniques. Despite the lonely nature of the job, effective customer service skills are essential. Truck drivers regularly communicate with dispatchers and customers who receive shipments as part of their responsibilities. 

So, how to become a truck driver in the US? Read the guide below by Truck Driver News to find out.

What’s it like to be a Truck Driver?

Being a truck driver takes work. There are a lot of challenges that you face while you’re on the road. Being away from home and mostly spending time inside the trucks makes this profession very hard. Driving through harsh weather may also be problematic sometimes. However, truck driving is a career that allows you to travel the country and puts you in charge of scheduling your days. The life of a truck driver can be lonely at times, but it also feels like a big adventure.

10 Steps to Become a Truck Driver

Transporting goods and supplies for the whole country is a big responsibility. You must complete many steps before becoming a trucker and taking loads nationwide. The following points are the steps to becoming a truck driver:

Meet the minimum requirements

The minimum requirement for becoming a truck driver is 21 years old. However, in many states, their state law allows them to drive semis at 18 but only inside the state boundaries. However, most trucking companies don’t hire drivers at the age of 18.

Have a regular driver’s license

You must obtain your regular driving license before obtaining a CDL (Commercial Driving license). In the state, the fee to get a driving license is from $20 to $90. With a regular driving license, you can start your career driving delivery trucks while preparing for your CDL.

Attend truck driving school

After obtaining your driving license, you must find a truck driving school in your area that offers classroom and practical education. This will help you learn truck driving rules and regulations and get hands-on guided experience driving a commercial vehicle. The programs offered by truck driving schools can last anywhere from a month to 10 weeks, and others last a year. You’ll need a CLP (Commericals’ Learning Permit), which allows you to operate a CMV( Commercial Motor Vehicle) during your training under the supervision of someone with CDL. You can obtain CLP from the DMV of your state.

Pass the licensing exam

After the completion of truck driving school, you should move towards gaining a CDL license. CDLs are classified into three categories (A, B, and C), depending on the size and weight of the vehicles. CDL application, test, and license will incur a fee in many states’ BMV and DMV systems. The fee for obtaining a license fee is from $20 to $120. To get your CDL, you must be atleast 18 years old or 21 years old for interstate driving with a valid driving license and have atleast 2 years of driving experience.

Pass the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) exam

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) aims to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving large trucks and buses.FMCSA test includes written and physical tests. The written test consists of your test of your knowledge of federal laws, and the physical portion of the test consists of testing vision and includes brief hearing. After passing the written test, you don’t have to take the test ever again, but the physical test is mandatory every 2 years.

Earn Your Other Relevant Endorsements

Endorsements are the extra privileges printed on your driving license near expiration. You’ll need a Class A or Class B CDL to work as a professional truck driver. Some endorsement certificates will help you get hired faster and earn better pay. The State’s Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) issues endorsements, which may include written and road tests.

Look for an entry-level job

Most truck driving schools will assist you in finding a job after graduation. You can also use industry websites and online job boards. Truck driving schools also help you to connect with employers and career mentors.

Pass the job training period

After completing your employer’s orientation, the company will provide a complete driver finishing program to ensure you are familiar with the vehicle you’ll be driving and any equipment you need to do the job. You’ll also learn about the company’s routes and paperwork procedures. The training can last weeks to months.

Complete a finishing program

At the end of the employer’s training program, you must pass the trucking exam. The exam could usually be just a road test or a written portion. It all depends upon the company you’ve joined. When you pass the exam, you’ll likely get a truck assigned to you and a route to complete independently.

FAQs About Becoming a Truck Driver

What qualifications do you need to be a truck driver in the USA?

To be eligible to drive a truck in the USA, you must be over 18 to operate in state lines and above 21 to drive state and state, have a clean driving record, proof of state residency, social security number, proof of insurance, pass periodic drug tests and medical examination and pass a background check.

What are the benefits of being a truck driver?

Truck driving has many benefits: a well-paying salary, independence, career advancement, employee benefits, flexible schedules, travel and education costs.

What is the basic salary of a truck driver in the USA?

The basic salary of a truck driver in the USA is $48,750 per year.

How do I get a truck driver’s license in the USA?

The process to get a truck driver’s license in the USA is you need to be above 18 years of age to drive in the state’s border and over 21 to drive inter-state and have a regular license with 2 years of driving experience. After that, you must enroll in a truck driving school and pass the driving school and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) examination. You can get an endorsement certificate for the desired cargo that you want to transport. The only step left is to get an entry-level job and proceed with your career.

How much does it cost to get a truck Licence in the USA?

The exact cost to get a truck license will vary according to your driving school. The total cost to get your license will be between $3000 and $10,000.

How can a foreigner become a truck driver in the USA?

For a foreigner to become a truck driver in the USA, you should have the document prepared, including medical commission, SSN( Social Security Number), Driver’s license, and work permit. After this, you must take three computer tests in the DMV(Department of Motor Vehicle) office: general knowledge, combination vehicle, and air brake. The last step is to find a driving school. The US truck drivers are accepted to the school only if they have a CLP (Commercial Learner’s Permit).

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