So, you are thinking about becoming a trucker. It is a very good choice if you are the kind of person looking for a career with good pay and plenty of employment opportunities. What’s more, it is not difficult to get started. Becoming a trucker is simply a matter of deciding which of three paths you want to take to break into the industry.
We will describe each of the paths here. Suffice to say that there is no right or wrong. Each choice has its own pros and cons that you will need to weigh against your current circumstances and career goals. Moreover, if you realize you have made a mistake down the road, that’s not a problem; there is always plenty of room for course correction.
With that out of the way, here are the three paths to a trucking career:
1. Independent Training, Company Work
Of the three paths, this first one is the most difficult. It involves going to CDL school independent of any employer. The individual earns his or her license, and then looks for work on their own after graduation. A good number of trucking schools offer job placement assistance as a way to attract new students. This is the primary benefit of going this route. However, there are downsides.
First and foremost is the cost. Students must pay for their training out of pocket, though financing is often available. The second downside is one of actually finding work. Companies paying the best rates tend to prefer drivers with some over-the-road experience for new hires. New drivers may be left to take lower paying local jobs until they get a year or two under their belts.
2. Independent Training and Work
The second option is to become an independent contractor after completing training independently. The two benefits to this strategy include being your own boss and not necessarily needing a tremendous amount of experience just to get loads. The truth is that freight forwarders and shippers treat independent contractors differently. Because they are not investing so much in a driver that works independently, they are less likely to require a lot of experience.
The biggest downside to this choice in procuring your own rig. Some truckers purchase while others lease their vehicles. Remember that along with owning or leasing comes the responsibility for all upkeep and maintenance. You are paid more as a contractor, but you also have to deal with the associated costs of owning or leasing a vehicle.
3. Company Training and Work
The third option may be the best for new drivers who are not comfortable being independent contractors and who want to get to work over-the-road as soon as possible. Under this option, a trucking company will hire a new driver and send him or her to CDL school. C.R. England is just one example of a company that offers such a program. Once drivers complete training with Premier Truck Driving Schools, they are guaranteed employment with C.R. England as long as they meet the company’s other hiring requirements.
The main advantage of this model is that new drivers have a guaranteed job waiting upon graduation. Students may also be able to take advantage of free or reduced-cost training, depending on the company they hire on with. The downside is that many companies require a certain commitment, say a year or two, from the driver in return for the training.
If you are looking to be a professional truck driver, there are many opportunities. It is a career that is wide open to anyone who wants to be part of it.