You did it. You’re done with CDL training! Well done you! You’re an official truck driver! But did you know you’ll likely still have to go through a few phases before you can officially drive solo? So what are your next steps, now that you’ve earned your commercial driver’s license?
Step 1: Sign with a Carrier Once You Get Your CDL
The first thing to do after getting your CDL is to sign with a carrier. Depending on the school you did your training with, you may not have to worry about this step. Some schools help students get pre-hired by carriers while still in training.
When it comes to signing with a carrier, look around for the one that’s right for you. See what different carriers can offer you in the way of tuition reimbursement, job opportunities, benefits, and so on. Don’t just choose the first one that comes along – be selective, you’re building a career!
Step 2: Take Your Training To The Next Level
Now that you’ve chosen a carrier to sign with, it’s time to take your training to the next level. Your carrier will work with to build up your more advanced driving techniques. When you’ve mastered those, it’s time to start driving with a trainer.
Many, although not all, carriers will pay you during this training period. So if compensation is a priority, check with your carrier before signing to make sure they offer paid training.
Step 3: Over The Road
You’ve signed with a carrier. You aced their advanced truck driving training, and you’re ready to get out on the road.
Typically, most carriers start new drivers out by driving long-distance trips called Over-The-Road (OTR).
A lot of drivers stay in the OTR phase for a year or longer picking up valuable experience at the start of their career.
Step 4: Career Advancement
For some truck drivers, OTR is the epitome of what being in the trucking industry means, and they choose to remain OTR drivers for the length of their careers. Will you decide to stay with OTR or opt to move into other positions within the industry, including roles such as recruiter, truck driver training instructor, self-employed truck driver?
Offering excellent pay, job security, and benefits, it’s no wonder why the truck driving industry is booming and why CDL drivers are in demand.