Job postings for truck drivers can get highly competitive. Like any business, you have to sell yourself to get the jobs you want. Nonetheless, the demand for competent truck drivers is increasing steadily, as there is actually a shortage of qualified drivers out there. The requirements a driver must meet changes depending on the job, but by and large here are the basic requirements you need to be aware of:
License and registration – you have to have a state issued license for your rig. If you’re packing a light truck or a carrier van, a regular driver’s license will be sufficient in most states. However, drivers of long bed rigs and heavier trucks must have a commercial driver’s license. Furthermore, a commercial license is also required for drivers who are transporting hazardous materials, regardless of the type or size of truck being used. A commercial drivers license may be obtained from state sponsored motor groups. When applying for a commercial license, the driver must demonstrate his ability to handle a truck for commercial purposes, and must have a good driving history.
Clean Legal Record – most companies require that their drivers have clean histories. Being convicted in the past for felonies is definitely a detriment. In particular, companies avoid drivers who have been convicted for heinous crimes, felonies involving the use of a motor vehicle, and driving while intoxicated or high on drugs.
Medical Requirements – drivers must generally have 20/20 vision, or 20/40 with correctional lenses. They must have good reflexes and hearing, must not be colorblind, and must not be physically impaired in any manner that will be a detriment to their operating a trucking rig. Ideally, they must also be perfectly healthy, though in the case of those drivers requiring only supplemental medication, the only additional clause is that any medication the driver may need to take be non-narcotic in nature, as these types of medicine will also impair a driver’s capabilities on the road.
Personal Requirements – depending on the company, there are also other physical requirements involved. Most truck drivers must be at least 21 years old, and of sufficent strength to not only handle driving the truck, but must be capable of heavy lifting and hauling.
Experience and education – while not every trucking job requires a high school diploma, it helps. Minimum requirements in this area include the ability to speak fluent english, and to at least be able to read road signs and manuals. Skills in the maintenance and upkeep of mechanical vehicles is a must. Additionally, the higher paying jobs require at least 3 to 5 years driving experience. For those who lack the necessary experience, it’s recommended that you join a trucking fleet first to get your wings.
Higher requirements – for those who are after the most high paying jobs, a class A driver certification is required. The qualifications for these jobs are much more demanding, and not everyone can make the grade. Depending on the duties involved in the job, these will usually mean holding a college degree in mechanical or electrical engineering, and will require at least 9 years driving experiance as well as experience in operating and handling heavy machinery and equipment. While much harder to get into, these jobs offer the highest pay and the best benefits for those who pass muster.