Are you contemplating a career change? From rising costs of living to job dissatisfaction, many people ponder making a switch, especially to a position that does not require a degree. For some, this means consideration of something like becoming a commercial truck driver. This position can be quite rewarding, especially knowing that you’re delivering important products and goods to the people that need them. Here are some things to contemplate.
Are You Up to the Task?
Before you start your new career as a trucker, think carefully about the job. You’ll be spending several hours each day alone sitting in a cab. Are you physically and mentally prepared for that? Do you thrive in solitary work environments? Do you even like driving? These are questions that demand answers up front. If road trips aren’t really your thing, you should reconsider a career as a truck driver. Keep in mind that you may be hired for a position that expects you to also load and unload items, which can be physically demanding, especially after a long trip. Be aware of any personal health issues that might make this type of work particularly difficult.
Do You Have the Credentials?
While you don’t need a degree to be a truck driver, most employers will require you to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) before they’ll hire you. A CDL requires a written exam as well as education on how to operate a big rig. Typically, you’ll have to hold a learner’s permit for an initial period before you receive a CDL. Getting this license is a big step, but there are other things to prepare for such as insurance and dealing with CDL traffic tickets.
What’s Your Ideal Work Schedule?
You also need to think about your potential work schedule. Many truckers spend weeks away from family members and friends, working over 40 hours each week. The United States Department of Transportation or DOT has strict rules about how many hours you can work in a day and week before you have to take a rest. There are penalties for violating these rules, so your daily and weekly schedules may be different from what you want. Some drivers only work 40 hours a week and go home at the end of each work day.
Working as a commercial truck driver can be personally and professionally rewarding. It’s an important job function that can take you to interesting places. Driving big rigs comes with a lot of challenges that you should consider beforehand.