How to become a truck driver

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How to become a truck driver
Become a Truck Driver

If it seems as if more and more big and small rigs fill the highways every year, it's not just your imagination - over 3 million Americans drive trucks for a living. If you'd like to be one of them, here's how.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Complete high school or obtain your GED. Although not a formal requirement, most trucking companies (with about one-third of all jobs in this field) strongly prefer to hire high school graduates.

  2. 2

    Maintain a clean driving record. Excessive moving violations and/or any Driving Under the Influence (DUI) convictions can disqualify you from trucking.

  3. 3

    Obtain a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) to drive trucks over 26,000 lbs. or any size truck that transports hazardous materials. Getting a CDL requires applicants to pass both a written and driving exam to prove their ability to operate a commercial truck.

  4. 4

    Prepare for and pass the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) exam of the U.S. Department of Transportation. In addition to a written test, truck drivers must pass a physical exam, including vision and hearing screenings.

  5. 5

    Pass the FMCSR physical exam every two years to maintain your qualification as a commercial trucker.

Tips and warnings

  • Many private schools offer training to prepare potential truckers for the CDL exam, which includes a period of driving under the direction of a licensed truck driver.
  • Contact your state's Department of Motor Vehicles for specific instructions on how to apply for a commercial driver's license where you live.
  • Keep in mind that the life of a truck driver can be lonely, with countless hours spent on the highway for long stretches of time.
  • All employers must now conduct pre-employment and periodic drug testing of truck drivers. Failing a drug test can result in immediate termination.

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