Are there good truck driving jobs available?
The answer is a definite yes. If you’re thinking about becoming a truck driver, you could definitely be on the right career track.
What are the Job Duties of a CDL Driver?
There’s more to it than meets the eye. We found a great definition at the employment review giants over at Glassdoor:
Truck drivers earn their living by driving a truck and transporting goods and materials. They typically drive a route that takes them to and from retail and distribution centers or manufacturing plants. As long and short distance haulers of goods and materials, they provide essential services for industrialized nations. They move cargo by way of tractor-trailers and know how to connect and disconnect cabs from trailers and basic repair skills including changing a tire. They are trained to operate the vehicle up or down a steep grade while keeping the brakes protected from overheating and keeping loads from shifting on curves.
Truck drivers operate multi-gear transmission vehicles and are educated in safely maneuvering the vehicle and its cargo while staying mindful to its size. They are expected to track their long hours in a log book and get merchandise to a final destination safely and timely. They are responsible for manifest sheets that they check to match their load, and they load and unload their truck. There is no education requirement to be a truck driver, but candidates must be 21 years of age and take the Department of Transportation physical, meet or exceed the medical requirements set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Truck drivers must also complete commercial driver’s license training.
That’s an excellent description, but we’ll get into more of the details. What are the requirements to get a CDL? Are there fulfilling career opportunities? What are the pay ranges? And what is the current and future job outlook for truck drivers?
Career decisions and changes can be challenging to make. You should always consider these types of changes from all angles. You should also consider engaging some professional assistance whenever possible.
At Top Notch Personnel, we help job seekers strategically navigate the job markets in the Witchita, KS region. We’ll help to uncover the best-of-the-best skilled labor jobs available. We focus on candidates just like you, and we take every client’s job search personally. We want to understand your career goals and job preferences completely before we start our search process. Call one of our recruiting professionals at 316-425-4501, or get in touch online today!
In this post, we’ll discuss the critical aspects of pursuing a career as a commercial truck driver:
- What Are the Education and Certification Requirements?
- What Is the Average Salary of a Truck Driver?
- What Are the Necessary Personal Skills and Traits?
- What Are the Current and Future Career Opportunities?
We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get started!
What are the education and certification requirements to become a commercial truck driver?
The fundamental requirement to become a commercial truck driver is to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License or CDL. A Commercial Learner’s Permit, or CLP, is also required to obtain a CDL. The federal regulatory organization that oversees the CDL certification and testing process is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA.
There are essentially three types of CDLs:
A Class A CDL covers vehicles with a combined Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of over 26,000 pounds. This rating covers tractor-trailers, heavy trailers (up to 10,000 lbs), multiple trailers, tankers, etc.
Class B covers a single vehicle with a GVWR over 26,000 pounds, not including the additional weight from carrying one or more vehicles. This certification essentially covers large straight trucks without a trailer.
Class C is for vehicles that carry over 16 passengers or vehicles carrying hazardous materials.
The Class C CDL essentially applies to vehicles not covered by Classes A or B. A Class C is required to drive vehicles that transport 16 or more passengers, like buses, and for smaller vehicles that haul hazardous materials.
New FMCSA Entry-Level Driver Rule
As of this year, 2022, all new CDL applicants also have to take a prerequisite course called Entry-Level Driver Training, or ELDT.
From the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website:
About the Entry-Level Driver Training (ELDT) Regulations
FMCSA’s Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) regulations set the baseline for training requirements for entry-level drivers. This applies to those seeking to:
-Obtain a Class A or Class B CDL for the first time;
-Upgrade an existing Class B CDL to a Class A CDL; or
-Obtain a school bus (S), passenger (P), or hazardous materials (H) endorsement for the first time.
The ELDT regulations are not retroactive; individuals who were issued a CDL or an S, P, or H endorsement prior to February 7, 2022 are not required to complete training for the respective CDL or endorsement.
If an applicant who obtained a CLP prior to February 7, 2022, and obtains a CDL before the CLP or renewed CLP expires, the applicant is not subject to the ELDT requirements.
How to Obtain a CDL
You will have to go through a driver’s training certification course to get your CDL in your home state.
These programs can take anywhere from 30 days to six months, depending on experience and aptitude. The training will involve classroom instruction and testing and over-the-road training with an instructor. A Commercial Learner’s Permit allows CDL trainees to drive a truck with an instructor in the passenger seat.
Once you’ve completed your driver’s training, you’re ready to take the CDL test. The test is administered under the auspices of the FMCSA at the state level. Applicants must have a valid state driver’s license to take the test. The FMCSA will also review the applicant’s driving record for the past ten years.
The CDL Test consists of a written knowledge test and a skills test. There are three parts to the CDL Skills Test: the Vehicle Inspection Test, the Basic Controls Test, and the Road Test.
Pay-to-learn programs are sometimes available from employers, along with tuition reimbursement plans.
The training costs for the ELDT certification, which allows CDL trainees to get their CLP, are around $300. Complete CDL training programs can range from $1500 to $7500 depending on the type of vehicle certification, types of vehicle endorsements, such as HAZMAT, candidate’s experience level, and the state of registration,
Tuition assistance plans are available from some of the training companies. And some hiring companies will pay CDL trainees for on-the-job training.
What is the average salary of a Class A CDL truck driver?
Compensation and benefits are excellent for truck drivers. According to Salary.com, salaries average around $55,000 and range up to $70,000 per year on the high end.
Compensation and benefits packages are definitely competitive. Employers commonly pay for healthcare and retirement benefits for commercial truck drivers.
What are some of the necessary personal skills and traits?
Truck drivers engage in physically and mentally demanding work. To work as a commercial truck driver, you have to be mentally sharp and in good physical condition. Some jobs will be over-the-road, where you might be away from home for several days per month. Others will be more typical 9-5, Monday through Friday work schedules. Overtime will depend on the company you work for and your work preferences.
What are the current and future career opportunities for commercial truck drivers?
The present, and future, look very bright! From The American Trucking Associations:
The American Trucking Associations estimates that in 2021 the truck driver shortage will hit a historic high of just over 80,000 drivers. This figure is the difference between the number of drivers currently in the market and the optimal number of drivers based on freight demand.
There’s definitely a shortage of truck drivers, and that doesn’t appear to be changing any time soon.
Are you wondering how to get started on a path to a great career with a bright future?
Interview and Resume Preparation with Top Notch Personnel!
Does a commercial truck driver job sound like something you’re interested in? We can help you get started with professional advice on resume preparation and interviewing. After that, it’s our goal to introduce you to your next employer so you can start setting up your direct deposit payroll account!
Career decisions and changes can significantly impact your state of mind and your future in the workforce. Always consider these types of changes from all angles. You should also consider engaging with a professional for career assistance.
At Top Notch Personnel, we help you strategically navigate the job markets in the Witchita, KS region. We’re not a job board with millions of candidates—we’ll help you find the best-of-the-best skilled labor and professional truck driver jobs available. We focus on candidates just like you, and we take every client’s job search personally.
We want to understand your career goals and job preferences completely before starting our search process. Call one of our recruiting professionals at 316-425-4501, or get in touch online today!
How can you get started with a job as a commercial truck driver in Wichita?
It’s time to engage with an established recruiting and staffing agency that knows the Witchita region to help you with your search.
A motivated recruiting firm like Top Notch can streamline the hiring process by helping you find the perfect employer.
We want you to work for a company that values your contributions.
Why settle for just any job when you can choose an opportunity uniquely suited to you? Top Notch Personnel is a staffing and recruiting firm based in Wichita, KS, that specializes in helping job seekers throughout the area find their ideal opportunity.
Ready to work for a company that values you?
Some staffing and recruiting firms put their clients first. At Top Notch, we focus equally on job candidates and hiring clients. We can’t succeed unless you’re happy with your job, and we want to make sure that happens.
At Top Notch Personnel, we help candidates, just like you, find their dream job every day!
Call us today at 316-425-4501, or get in touch online. Our expert recruiters are waiting for your call.