A real world guide to a career in the best local truck driver jobs
Truck drivers are known for their vigorous work schedules that keep them away from home for weeks at a time. While some drivers will choose to be national truckers, others want to stay more local. In fact, regional or strict local truck driving jobs are available.
Let’s take an in-depth look at what you can expect from a career as a truck driver.
Truck Driver Compensation and Benefits
Truck drivers are a part of every facet of the American economy. From groceries to vehicle manufacturing, truck drivers are a key point in the transportation process. Currently, over 1.7 million people are employed as a truck driver and the field is projected to see a growth rate of 11 percent between 2012 and 2022. During this time, over 190,000 jobs will be added to the trucking industry.
Truck driver salary ranges are greatly affected by the city where a person works, the person’s experience and the freight that they haul. Statistics from 2012 indicate:
- General freight hauling is paid the most with an average of $40,000 per year.
- Specialized freight hauling drivers are compensated with a $37,000 per year salary.
- Merchant wholesalers are in the middle with a salary of $39,000 per year.
The median wage from all trucking industries was $38,200 per year. The minimum and maximum salaries seen are very different from the top and bottom 10 percent.
- The top 10 percent of truckers earned just under $59,000 in 2012.
- The bottom 10 percent earned just over $25,000 in 2012.
The nature of the freight being hauled as well as your experience will play a role in how much money you can expect to earn. Oftentimes, companies will offer paid CDL training under the terms of a contract to work for the company plus a lower salary the first year. These agreements skew the salary figures, but they are a way for potential truckers to pay for their CDL training.
The Advantages Of Local vs Regional Trucking Jobs
A profession as an over-the-road truck driver can be a very profitable and rewarding career. Not only can truck drivers make a great deal of money, but traveling to different states can be very exciting to some people. The promise of making a respectable living is what attracts most people to this particular profession.
However, there are also some disadvantages, especially if you have a family, which are highlighted below:
- Time Away From Your Family – Many truck drivers who drive regionally have families, and being gone most of the time can be extremely difficult on the spouse as well as on the children, which is why looking into Local Driving Jobs instead might be a good idea. Any spouse will eventually tire of being left alone to solely care for the children, and will of course miss his or her spouse immensely. The truck driver is often lonely as well, which history has shown sometimes leads to infidelity. Additionally, being on the road most of time is particularly hard on your children. They will find it difficult to deal with their parent being away from home a majority of the time. Not only will the truck driver have difficulty maintaining a bond with their families, but it’s not uncommon for some marriages to end in divorce because of the fact that the truck-driving spouse is rarely home.
- Healthy Lifestyle Challeges – When you are only home on weekends 2 – 3 times a month, it can be extremely challenging to eat in a healthy diet. Many truck drivers find themselves frequenting eating fast food, where they will feast on burgers, fries, and other unhealthy food on a regular basis. Not only can eating in this manner lead to chronic conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, but it can also lead to obesity as well. The other lifestyle drawback is that many OTR drivers find it challenging to exercise, since they are frequently exhausted from the long hours spent on the road. Of course, lack of exercise only further exacerbates conditions caused by poor eating habits.
So if you’re considering a career as a truck driver, there are many reasons why you might want to look into securing a local trucking gig instead of regional jobs. Not only will driving locally enable you to spend as much time as possible with your family, if you have one, but you won’t have to worry about sacrificing your health for your job. While you may not make as much money driving locally as you would driving regionally, most people consider their families and health to be more important than money, and perhaps you do as well. Of course teaming with another driver can improve the life of a truck driver, and rather than requiring him or her to drive solo all the time, there will be the companionship and assistance of that other person, but it is important that the driver trust the driver that he or she is considering teaming with.
Required Trucking Driver Training & Certification
Training to become a truck driver will require an intensive CDL training course. A CDL is a commercial driver’s license that needs to be obtained before being allowed to drive a commercial truck. The test required will vary from state to state, but there are a few key aspects to every CDL test:
- Written Test: There will be a written exam that ensures every driver knows the local and national driving laws. There will also be questions asked that pertain to driving larger trucks and scenarios presented that will need to be answered correctly.
- Driving: Just like a regular driver’s license, a CDL will require the person to drive in front of an examiner. This will be used to ensure a driver can back up correctly, downshift, up shift, perform a quick smooth stop, merge, perform lane changes, obey traffic signs and signals and turn properly.
If a person passes both tests, they will be awarded with their commercial driver’s license. This is the basic necessity that every truck driver in the country will have to obtain.
Driver Solutions offers 3 week CDL training and sponsorships from some of the biggest names in the trucking industry. This is a great choice for all potential truckers.
There are certifications or endorsements for drivers of hazardous material. This is an actual endorsement and will not be easy to obtain. A driver will have to have a background check, DOT medical card, waiver and pass a background check from the TSA.
If a person meets all of this criteria, they will also have to pass the Hazardous Materials Endorsement Knowledge Test. If you pass the test and pass all of the stringent background checks, you will be awarded your endorsement and you will be allowed to transport hazardous materials.
Life After Training
Once you have received your CDL, it is time to look for a job in your local area. Many truckers will decide to drive all over the country, but you can also choose local or regional routes. These routes will allow you to spend more time with your family.
In fact, there are many local-only transportation companies available. The following local truck driving jobs are a good choice for any family man or woman. You can choose to find local dump truck jobs, or you can choose what is known as Intermodal or Local truck driving jobs.
Intermodal jobs will include regional and local driving only. This allows at least weekly time at home and often daily time at home. Mostly, these are drop-and-hook loads where you simply drop off freight and pick it back up with no other work needed.
Once a job is chosen, you can expect to undergo continual training and an initial training period to ensure you understand the ins-and-outs of your new job.
There are employers of all sizes looking for local CDL holding drivers to fill their fleets. The biggest companies in the country are also always hiring and offer the utmost in compensation with consistent work all year long.
A few of the biggest names offering local truck driving jobs include:
- CRST Trucking
- J.B. Hunt
- CR England
Truck drivers are always in demand and recent news has indicated that a shortage of truck drivers is looming. Anyone that wants to enter into a career with an immense amount of opportunity and vacancies will find that truck drivers are paid well and receive outstanding benefits. There are even more opportunities to work locally or regionally than ever before.