How To Become a Truck Driver in Washington State (With FAQs)
Careers in truck driving can be good for people hoping to work independently and earn a good salary. Though the standards across the country, like a valid commercial driver's license, can be consistent across states, there are some requirements specific to driving in Connecticut. Learning about some of these requirements and how to fulfill them can help you prepare for a truck driving career in CT.
In this article, we discuss the requirements for starting in this role and share how to become a truck driver in Washington state along with FAQs about the job and process.
Requirements for becoming a truck driver in Washington state
There are several basic requirements for becoming a truck driver in Washington State:
Age: To drive a truck in Washington, there is a minimum age requirement of 18 years old. To haul hazardous materials or drive vehicles across state lines, the minimum age is 21 years.
Citizenship: Truck drivers in this state show proof of their citizenship, non-domicile document or lawful permanent residency to drive a truck.
Medical documents: There are several medical documents you might need to provide to earn your CDL or start working. These can include eye or hearing exams that can keep you safe when driving.
Test results: When submitting your application, you submit proof that you've passed the necessary exams to earn your licensure.
Permit: Before earning a commercial driver's license, you earn a permit.
License: Most trucking jobs in Washington require a commercial driver's license.
How to become a truck driver in Washington
Here are some steps you can take to become a truck driver in Washington:
1. Verify your requirements
Verifying that you have the basic requirements for a commercial driver's license can ensure pursuing a truck driving career is possible. Along with the licensing requirements, consider reviewing several job descriptions to ensure you have the skills and experience needed. You'll also find several physical requirements to many of these jobs, including minimum eyesight, healthy blood pressure and blood sugar and the ability to lift packages up to certain weights.
Related: How To Become a Truck Driver
2. Earn a CDL
Earning a CDL requires you first get a commercial driver's permit, pass exams and submit applications. First, you can pass the knowledge exam, where you'll answer 50 questions to show your proficiency. Once you pass this, you can apply for the permit. From there, you can register for a training course that provides you with information about truck driving and helps you develop your skills. These can be up to 160 hours depending on the class of CDL you hope to pursue. After this, you can schedule a skills test where you can show your skills with a licensed professional.
Once you complete these exams, you can schedule an appointment where the Department of Motor Vehicles can issue your license.
3. Explore endorsements
Endorsements are specialized areas that help you drive certain types of trucks or transport certain goods. For example, you can pursue a T endorsement if you hope to operate double or triple trailers. An N endorsement can help you if you want to drive tank vehicles that transport liquids or gaseous materials. When pursuing each of these, consider what type of truck driving career you might pursue and fees you might need to pay to earn them.
4. Search for jobs
Once you fulfilled the requirements, you can start looking for jobs. Some companies may require several years of experience, so you might pursue careers with smaller companies or perform delivery duties before operating trucks. During your job search, consider highlighting your skills, experience and licenses on your resume to show hiring managers that you have the right qualifications.
FAQs for becoming a truck driver in Washington state
Here are some of the answers to frequently asked questions about becoming a truck driver in Washington:
What's the average salary for a truck driver in this state?
According to Indeed salaries, the average salary for a truck driver in Washington state is $78,942 per year. This can vary depending on your experience and the company for which you work. Also, you might earn more money depending on the type of truck you drive or the contents you transport.
Do I need a CDL?
There are some jobs where you might not need a CDL, but most trucking jobs require it. The common jobs that might require it include:
If you drive a truck with 26,001 or more pounds.
If you're driving a trailer that weighs of 10,001 or more pounds.
If you're driving a vehicle that transports hazardous material or other materials that are toxins or select agents.
How much does it cost to earn a CDL?
There are several costs involved in earning a CDL between the exams and applications. With each of these, you might pay between $300 and $400 dollars to get your license. Here are some of the standard costs in Washington:
Commercial permit: $40
Knowledge test: $35
Skills test: $250
Upgrading license to advanced license: $4
Getting a new advanced license: $38
What are some benefits of a truck driving career?
There are several benefits to becoming a truck driver:
Flexible hours: Truck drivers often work non-standard hours which can help you if you're managing other responsibilities in life. Sometimes, you might find opportunities to drive longer hours on certain days and have additional days off.
Independent work: Driving a truck can be an independent experience, as you often operate a vehicle alone or with one other person. This can be a benefit if you prefer to handle your own responsibilities rather than frequently collaborating.
Travel: Truck drivers often have the opportunity to travel to different locations, especially if they're carrying loads across states. This job can help you travel frequently and allow you to meet new people while working.
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