How to become a Truck Driver with No Experience?

Finding a truck driving job with no experience isn’t as hard as it sounds. Unlike some other jobs, the trucking industry always needs new drivers. Even though many companies prefer drivers with 1-2 years of experience, you can still find jobs if you’re applying into the companies that would provide opportunities to peoples with no experience. 

This guide from Truck Driver News is here to help new truck drivers like you to start their journey in the industry.

The Basics of Truck Driving

A truck driver is a professional driver who has obtained their CDL and operates large commercial vehicles for transporting goods and supplies for the nation.

Truckers have a lot of responsibility to carry throughout their journey of transporting the load. The responsibility of a trucker would include:

  • Drive long distances to deliver goods to the customer
  • Load and unload cargo
  • Record cargo deliveries
  • Refuel and clean the vehicle
  • Report road incidents to the dispatcher
  • Follow traffic rules
  • Inspect the truck and document the issue
  • Follow traffic laws
  • Inspect trucks and record issue
  • Follow accident procedures
  • Keep an activities log and log hours
  • Report mechanical problems to maintenance personnel
  • Plan routes using the GPS
  • Get goods to the client on time
  • Maintain a positive attitude with customers
  • Keep commercial driver’s licenses up to date

Trucking has many options that you can choose from while choosing a career. The type of load and the distance the truck covers determine the type of trucking.

The categories for the distance covered are:

OTR

The OTR stands for “Over The Road”. The OTR trucker goes across the country, covering many miles. The OTR drivers are on the road for many weeks and are far from their loved ones. The OTR is perfect if you love travelling and spending time on the road rather than with your family.

Regional

The regional drivers cross specific regions, mostly a few states covering 1000 miles. Regional work has a level of predictability since you’ll likely have a set route you’ll be running.

Local

Local drivers stay with the family the most out of the three. Local drivers have less earnings compared to regional and OTR drivers. The work for local drivers is more physical than the other two types due to deliveries. If you’re a family man and love spending time with your family, then being a local driver will be the best.

The categories according to the type of load are:

Auto Hauling

Auto haulers are one of the most acknowledged trucks. They transport new and remarketed vehicles from manufacturing plants, ports, railheads and auctions to retail dealerships and auction sites. Auto hauling can be OTR, regional and local.

Dry Van

Dry vans are the semi-trucks. Dry VANs are 53′ trailers filled with pallets or loose goods. These are used for transporting non-perishable food and beverages, household goods, clothing items and building products. Dry Van is usually either OTR or regional and requires CDL ‘A’.

Flatbed

Flatbed drivers are most in demand now. The flatbed driver is more in demand nowadays because of their ability to carry oversized loads. The income of flatbed drivers is more than that of other trucking drivers. To operate a flatbed truck, you’ll need CDL A. Flatbed jobs can be local, regional or OTR.

Hazmat

Hazardous materials like explosives, gases, poison, radioactive material, oxidizing substances, and corrosive materials are called hazmat drivers. Due to the potential risk of transporting these hazardous materials, the driver must have special endorsement. These jobs can be local, regional or OTR. Hazmat drivers need CDL A to operate trucks.

Refrigerated

Refrigerated or reefer driver transports specialized trailer that keeps the goods at a certain temperature. These drivers haul common goods, such as frozen food, medicine, dairy products, etc. The reefer job can be CDL B, but it may require CDL A in most cases. The job can be local, regional or OTR.

Tanker

The tanker transports Gasses or liquids. Tanker as a job is risky compared to other trucking jobs. You need to be skilled and qualified to operate a tanker. You also need endorsement before operating tankers. As a tanker driver, you’ll be able to find local, regional, and OTR jobs.

Requirements for a Truck Driving Job

Operating a truck is a technical job. You must get certified by government organizations and even training schools working beside governments. The physical requirement should also match to be eligible.

License required

To operate a truck, you’ll need a regular driving license first after obtaining the standard driving license and having two years of driving experience with clean driving records. After turning 18, you can apply for your CDL (Commercial Driving License), but you’ll be able to drive on the state border until you reach 21. A certified driving school in your state takes the CDL examination.

Physical and health prerequisites

You must pass the medical inspection, which is done while obtaining CDL. Testing your vision, colour distinction, blood pressure, hearing, cardiovascular health, medication, urinalysis, physical endurance, and medical history are the tests performed in the CDL process.

Essential skills every truck driver should possess.

While driving a truck, you’ll need both hard skills and soft skills. The hard skill that you should master is navigational skill, basic mechanical skill, route planning, lead securing, logbook management, and backing and docking skills. The soft skills you should acquire are communication, organization, discipline, trustworthiness, patience, time management, and adaptability.

How to Land a Trucking Job Without Experience?

Trucking is always demanding new drivers. The supply of new drivers is insufficient, so getting a trucking job without experience is much easier than you think. Even though companies want to hire someone with 1 or 2 years of experience, the company will employ you if you do something extra, like getting additional endorsements and having good skills.

Get your license

The first thing you should be doing is get your license. without a license, you cannot do anything in the trucking industry. You can get your regular driving license at the age of 16, but in some states, you’re able to get it at the age of 14. You can get a license from your state’s DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles).

Meet the minimum requirements

The minimum requirements to be a truck driver are you need to be 21 years of age to be able to drive interstate, but you can drive within the state border at the age of 18 if you have CDL. You’ll need special endorsements for specific trucks. For example, you’ll need a “z” category endorsement if you plan to drive air brake trucks. Additionally, most organizations require their truck drivers to have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Some organizations require their candidate to take a truck driving program to gain essential skills and knowledge.

Consider attending a truck driving school

A truck driving school will greatly help you with the knowledge and skills required to operate a truck. Truck driving school also helps you to obtain your CDL. You’ll be able to learn the rules and regulations and gain experience driving commercial vehicles. A truck driving school’s course will generally last 12 weeks, but some will last from 4 weeks to a year.

Build job skills

Truckers may require many types of different skills. You’ll need skills to stand out and be selected without experience. The major skills you’ll be required to be communication, mechanics, research, and driving skills. These are crucial to make yourself a step ahead of others.

Look for job openings

After you complete driving programs, many companies may consider you for truck driving roles. You can find job opportunities on truck companies’ websites. You may also discover job openings listed on online job boards. Even though you are inexperienced, researching the trucking organization to determine if it suits you is beneficial.

Create a standout resume

Your resume determines whether you’ll be called for further selection process of the job or not. While making your resume, you should be extra careful about the information you’re giving. Unnecessary information is not needed. You should highlight your skills and achievements. A resume should be formatted properly and should contain all the necessary information like contact number, email, education, and professional summary.

Apply

You should apply for the hiring organization if you’re confident in your CV. Submitting your resume how the companies recommend will show your care toward the job opportunities and can follow instructions. For example, some companies prefer applications through emails, and some prefer forms via the organization’s website.

Prepare for the interview

You’ll be called for an interview if your resume impresses the employer. You can look up potential questions that could be asked by the employer. You can practice mock test sessions with your friends or family to overcome nervousness.

Being selected for a trucking company is fairly easy if you have the right knowledge about the trucks and have the right sets of skills and training.
Even without experience, trucking companies hire due to a shortage of drivers. Trucking is a great career for someone who likes adventure and staying away from home.

How to Get a Truck Driving Job with No Experience [FAQs]

How long does it typically take to get a CDL?

To obtain a CDL (Commercial Driving License), you’ll need to follow many steps, from getting a regular driver and having 2 years of driving experience to enrolling in driving school. By attending a driving school, it’ll take 7 weeks to even a year to obtain your CDL.

What’s the average pay for a beginner truck driver?

The average pay for the beginner truck driver is $48,750 a year. A trucker’s salary increases with their experience on the road and can reach up to $90,000.

How do I start a trucking business with little money?

Starting a new trucking business will cost around $10000 to $20000 if you have 1 or 2 trucks. You can work with a lender for the capital. You can look into various options for business loans. Many banks offer SBA loans for you to start your business.

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