For many people, the ability to work while out of the office is a privilege and something of a dream. But for truck drivers, it’s a reality. You get to spend your time on the open road, exploring the countryside and traveling far and wide.
As a trucker, you’ll drive to new places. And often these will be the very places most people would choose as holiday destinations. Truckers in the US, for instance, often have to travel up into the wilderness of Canada or right down into Mexico.
But the question is, are you ready for a career on the road?
Sure, the career has its perks. But it also has some significant drawbacks. Let’s take a look and see what trucking has to offer.
Truck driving isn’t like a regular job. In a regular job, you get up, go to work and then come home in the evenings. But because of the nature of the work, this isn’t possible for truck drivers.
Truck drivers often have to make long, thousand-mile journeys. And that means that it’s simply not possible to return home to have dinner with your family on most days.
Often truckers have to go for days or weeks at a time away from their loved ones as part of their job. As such, it’s a rare kind of job, like being in the military.And it requires a certain temperament to make it work.
On the plus side, however, you will get time off work known as “home time.” As the term might imply, this is your chance to spend a few days with your family before getting back out on the road.
Another challenging aspect of becoming a truck driver is the training. Truck driver training is both a mental and a physical challenge, and not for the feint hearted. When you’re learning to control a seventy-foot, 50-ton vehicle, things can get a little stressful.
To become a commercial truck driver, you’ll need what’s known as a CDL, or commercial truck license. This license allows you to drive vehicles larger than a certain size. Usually, the process of getting your CDL is relatively rapid. Most courses only take about a month. And once you’re qualified, you’ve got a skill for life.
But remember, life out on the road as a truck driver is very different to CDL training. Often you’ll be asked to do eight to ten hour days. And while that might be a normal shift pattern in the office, it’s a lot on the road. Driving at night can be particularly taxing, given the amount of concentration required.
Trucking is a dangerous job. As this truck accident attorney points out, semi-truck accidents are on the rise. In fact, trucking is one of the most dangerous industries alongside constructing and mining.
Every year, around 4,000 truck drivers are killed on US roads. This is partly why truck driving appears to pay so well. Truck driving companies need to compensate drivers for the risks that they face every time they go out on the road.
First-year truck drivers can expect to earn the same as people fresh out of college. But, of course, they also have to accept additional risks.
4. The First Year Is The Hardest
As with most jobs, the first year is the hardest. In truck driving, you’re not endlessly making tea for the office staff. But you will be given some pretty nasty assignments that nobody else wants to do. You may find yourself driving in difficult or boring locations. And you may be given tasks with antisocial schedules, like during the middle of the night.
This type of thing is typical in many trucking businesses. It’s a sort of vetting that makes sure that you’re really prepared for the job. It’s during the first year that most of the weak hands will leave trucking jobs and find something else. Thus, you should see these tough jobs and a rite of passage. After those first twelve months, things start to improve rapidly.
The Long Term Outlook
The Bureau of Labour Statistics says that the median trucker income is $37,770. That works out to be around $18.16 an hour. When you consider that you don’t need to do any expensive training for the job, that’s not bad at all.
What’s also great about the trucking industry right now is that it’s a booming market. According to research, the sector has seen 21 percent job growth year-on-year for the past several years. And this means that truck drivers are very employable right now.