If you are considering a career in truck driving, this guide will help you explore what truck drivers do, what it takes to become a truck driver, as well as the education and training you’ll need to get started.
Here are 5 things you need to know about a career in truck driving:
- Truck drivers keep the nation and economy moving. As a country, we depend on truck drivers to transport freight and keep supply chains moving. Truck drivers have a major impact on manufacturing, the food industry, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, and a broad range of consumer industries.
- Truck driving can be an adventure, providing drivers with opportunities to see the country and meet many interesting people.
- Truck driving should fit your personality and desired lifestyle. If you love transportation and operating mechanical equipment, and if you are independent and hard-working, truck driving may be a great career for you. However, truck driving is not for everyone. It can be a major lifestyle choice being away from your home and family for days or weeks at a time. Truck driving is also relatively sedentary and brings with it the potential for an unhealthy lifestyle. Many drivers find it difficult to exercise and eat healthy food on the road.
- Truck driver jobs are in demand. In 2019, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers held nearly 2 million jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment for truck driving careers is expected to grow 2% over the next decade, and by 2029, the BLS projects there will be about 2,060,500 truck drivers employed in the United States. According to a 2017 report from the American Trucking Association, the trucking industry is experiencing a shortage of truck drivers, a problem that is only expected to grow. Over the next decade, the trucking industry will need to hire an average of nearly 90,000 new drivers each year. The driver shortage also has some industry leaders calling for more millennials and more women to consider truck driving.
- Truck drivers tend to have competitive pay and benefits. As a result, trucking companies offer competitive pay and benefits. Compensation for a career in truck driving largely depends on the type of trucking. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual income for truck drivers earn is $47,130 as of 2020. If working for a trucking company, you may also get medical benefits, retirement savings plans, disability and other insurance, and paid time off.
The Education and Training You Need For a Truck Driving Career
Before you start as a truck driver, you will need training and education to earn your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).The CDL Training Course at Delta Technical College (DTC) lasts for 20-days (four weeks). Each week of the course is spent on a different aspect of classroom training and behind-the-wheel experience.
- Week 1 is spent in the classroom, studying the state’s Commercial Drivers Manual. You will learn from qualified and experienced instructors on important topics such as safely transporting cargo, air brakes, combination vehicles, pre-trip vehicle inspections, trip planning, and more.
- Week 2 is spent behind the wheel and on the range, where you will learn different maneuvers and techniques you’ll be required to know for your state CDL exam.
- Week 3 will take you on actual city roads. You will get to practice managing vehicle speed and space relations and learn how to handle driving hazards and extreme driving conditions.
- Week 4 focuses on making sure you are prepared for the state licencing exams.
In Delta Tech’s 20-week Professional Truck Driving Program, you’ll get more in-depth instruction in how to prepare for a career in truck driving and how to qualify for a variety of careers in the transportation industry. You’ll learn more about life on the road including driver wellness, trip planning, loading and unloading cargo, and federal trucking rules and regulations.
You will also be prepared to qualify for a variety of other state-issued endorsements, including double and triple trailer combinations, tankers, and hazardous materials. Upon graduation, you will receive a certificate of completion. You will then take state CDL and endorsement knowledge and skills exams.
For more on CDL licensing requirements and the steps to get your CDL in Mississippi, visit “How Can I Get my CDL in Mississippi?“