How to become a Truck Driver
Most companies require their truck drivers to have a high school diploma or equivalent. All long-haul truck drivers must have a commercial driver's license (CDL). Qualifications for obtaining a CDL vary by state but generally include passing both a knowledge test and a driving test.
Drivers can get endorsements to their CDL that show their ability to drive a specialized type of vehicle. Truck drivers transporting hazardous materials (HAZMAT) must have a hazardous materials endorsement (H).
Many prospective drivers attend professional truck driving schools, where they take training courses to learn how to maneuver large vehicles on highways or through crowded streets. During these classes, drivers also learn the federal laws and regulations governing interstate truck driving.
Source: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
What skills help Truck Drivers find jobs?
- Basic math
- Box truck
- Commercial driving
- Communication skills
- Computer literacy
- Computer skills
- Customer service
Career progression for Truck Driver
Education levels for Truck Drivers
|required level of education||percent of job openings|
|High school diploma or GED||83.0%|
|Middle school education||0.4%|
Expected salary by experience
|Years of experience||Annual salary in USD|
|0 - 4||$37,700|
|4 - 8||$39,000|
|8 - 12||$40,100|
|12 - 16||$41,600|
|16 - 20||$41,100|
|20 - 24||$41,600|
Common qualifications for Truck DriversExplore popular schools to earn these qualifications
Common questions about career advices for a Truck Driver
Are there other qualifications needed for the job, besides a CDL license?
No. You need to be able to safely drive a vehicle and pass a basic Department of Transportation medical examination. There are companies that require loading or unloading of trailers and also to lift or move heavy objects.
What are the requirements for truck driving school?
Prior to joining a truck driving school, you need to be at least 21 years old, be able to pass a drug and alcohol test, obtain a commercial driver's license (CDL) and have a clean driving record. You may also need to be able to pass a physical.
How can I become an owner-operator from a truck driver?
If you are already a truck driver, take the following steps to become an owner-operator truck driver:
- File for USDOT number and Motor Carrier Number. Pay the filing fee.
- Lease or purchase a truck.
- Secure appropriate level of insurance.
- Find truck freight to start your first route as an owner-operator.