How to Become a Truck Driver | YourMechanic Advice

How to Become a Truck Driver

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Dream of hitting the open road, with nothing but the highway in front of you and the miles rolling by? Whether you dream of driving a big rig/over-the-road (OTR) truck or a smaller box truck doing local or regional deliveries, it’s a career that’s always hiring and expanding.

Here are a few tips and steps you can take to become a truck driver:

Know your trucks

  • A light-duty truck is typically utilized by smaller companies, such as contractors, plumbers, and home use and weighs under 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight (GVW).

  • A medium-duty truck is used more in construction, hauling, refuse, service, and more, and weighs between 10,001 and 26,000 pounds GVW.

  • Heavy-duty trucks, also known as big rigs and over-the-road (OTR) or long-haul trucks, are used for transportation, material hauling, mining, and more and weigh more than 26,000 pounds GVW.

Research the types of truck driver jobs and decide the path you want to take. A local truck driver operating a light- or medium-duty truck making deliveries locally and returning home each evening has different steps and requirements than an over-the-road, long-haul driver operating a big rig heavy-duty truck, who may be out on the road for days or weeks. In addition, some drivers choose to make the very large investment in a truck of their own, while others opt to work for-hire for local trucking and transport companies. Both have their pros and cons and depend on what type of investment you are looking to make in the career choice. When just starting out, truck drivers often start working for a company and branch out on their own after some time, experience, and savings.

Know the driver’s license requirements

Follow the steps to obtain what’s needed. A local truck driver operating light- and medium-duty trucks will only need a state driver’s license; however, to operate a heavy-duty, over-the-road truck, you will need a specialized, commercial driver’s license (CDL). Some states require driver’s be 21 years of age or older, with a clean driving record and high school diploma, or equivalent as well. There are many schools around the country that provide training and licensing programs. Also understand that driving violations are often doubled for individuals with a CDL, regardless of what vehicle they are driving at the time of the infraction.

Each state has it’s own requirements for a commercial driver’s license, so check with the Department of Motor Vehicles for specific information.

Take necessary certifications or endorsements to expand your job options. Certifications or endorsements may also be required depending on what you are hauling and transporting, including hazardous materials, doubles triples, passenger, school bus, and more. Additional exams for an over-the-road driver may be required, such as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation (FMCSR) exam, which covers federal traffic laws and requires hearing and vision tests.

Look for job openings and apply. Once you know what type of job you are looking for, have the necessary driver’s license and certifications, if required, it’s time to look for a job. Remember the options for returning home each night or staying on the road for short or long periods of time. Many jobs may have additional testing and certification requirements, as well as probationary or training periods to teach skills and information specific to the truck driving job at hand.

Continue your education. Stay up-to-date on driving laws and regulations wherever you are traveling, both out-of-state and close to home, stay current on testing and certifications, and continue to add endorsements as possible and needed to your truck driver resume.

Anyone with the desire, ability, and clean driving record can become a truck driving, If you have any questions about how to become a truck driver or the requirements, ask a mechanic for help or information.


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Chris

21 years of experience
1861 reviews
Chris
21 years of experience
Mini Cooper Clubman - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Silverado, California
He arrived early, went straight to work, and it should have been quoted higher as it’s a Mini which takes longer than the average break job. He didn’t try to get more than the quoted amount. He even set out to replace a running light for me when he was finished. I thought there would hard sales telling me I needed more work but there wasn’t. Because he didn’t try to sell me more work, I will use him again. When I hired a mechanic I don’t want a salesman. 
Land Rover Range Rover Sport - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Irvine, California
Chris again has provided great Service. Everything was great. I was very happy with the work and will definitely have him return for any other work.

Bryant

11 years of experience
408 reviews
Bryant
11 years of experience
Ford Fusion - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Indianapolis, Indiana
Bryant has done great work on my car before, the latest work is no exception. He's very flexible, and goes the extra mile to get you back on the road.
Scion iA - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Carmel, Indiana
This is my first time using this service. I am very happy with it. Bryant was very knowledgeable and did quality work. I will use this service more regularly.

Edmar

21 years of experience
184 reviews
Edmar
21 years of experience
Chrysler 200 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Euless, Texas
Edmar always does a very good job. He's done a few different things on my car the last two years. Each job was performed very fast and top quality. Thank you once again.

Mazyar

7 years of experience
255 reviews
Mazyar
7 years of experience
Jaguar XF - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Lawrenceville, Georgia
He was early, courtesy and actually helped me save some money since i didn't need all the work that i thought i needed done. Honest guy. Very knowledgeable. Great attitude.

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