Last Updated on November 21, 2022 by Tabraiz
What Are the Requirements to Become a Truck Driver?
Sick and tired of your boring 9–5 job? Need to get out of the city and take in some gorgeous vistas? Need to unwind and enjoy some time alone? You seriously ought to think about replacing your office with a truck cabin! But wait: while the open road and constant thrill sound exciting, you shouldn’t put the pedal to the metal just yet. There are a bunch of things you need to consider and lots of skills you’ll need to learn if you want to join the trucker family. And the trucker family is huge! Tow truck driver requirements aren’t the same as those for an 18-wheeler, so you’ll have plenty of thinking to do and lots of decisions to make.
Luckily, you have us, and we’re more willing to lend a helping hand! We’ll go over some of the most important qualities an ideal truck driver should possess, and we’ll see how you might go about making sure you meet all the standards. Now, if you’re already in the trucking business and are reading this for fun or have had your job application accepted — congratulations! You can start thinking about making your new truck your second home or your new sweetheart. Maybe you treat her to something special, perhaps some new tow truck essential lighting solutions?
What Kind of Profile Is Optimal?
So, enough chit-chat about light bars for tow trucks and all that mumbo-jumbo: what are the requirements to become a truck driver? Well, there are those that are regulated on a federal level, which you can’t really do much about if you don’t check all the boxes (say, if you’re not of legal age yet). On the other hand, you have rules and regulations mandated by each individual company. Here you have more room for negotiation and more options to choose from since there are countless trucking companies across the country. But let’s get into it in more detail!
Being of Legal Age
Got your license back in high school when you were 16 and think you’re a hot shot? Think again, mister! You’ll have to be 18 to drive a truck. Actually, you’ll have to be 21 to cross your state border! They say rules are meant to be broken, but you can’t break this one as it falls into the federal category we alluded to above. That is especially the case if you plan on taking more dangerous gigs, for example, transporting hazardous or nuclear material. Actually, some companies might set the bar even higher and hire only 23-year-olds for such jobs.
A Clean Driving History
So, you meet the age requirements. What now? Well, you’ll have to prove you didn’t go full Mad Max in the past! No one wants anarchy on the road, after all, and since you’ll be transporting potentially valuable cargo, your employer will want to make sure you’re one reliable dude (or gal!). So, you’ll have to provide your employer with a clean driving record and undergo a background check for them to make sure you’re a fitting candidate. If they see you have a tendency to cause havoc on the road (or just bad luck that makes you end up in such situations), they’ll most certainly look elsewhere for their future employee.
Background checks are the only type of checks you’ll have to submit to. That’s right — you’ll have to be in good health if you wanna stay on the road for hours and potentially days and weeks on end. The Department of Transportation has certified professionals conducting these types of tests, so start thinking about contacting them. Don’t worry, though: you don’t have to be Conor McGregor or Tom Brady to handle a vehicle, and most adults can pass the physical without much trouble. Keep in mind, though, that if you lie during your test, you might get into trouble with the law (and you’ll certainly have your license confiscated should someone find out).
Passing a CDL Exam
Oh yeah, speaking of licenses, you’ll obviously need one, and you’ll need to pass a CDL exam to start actually driving and earning money. The exam includes a mandatory road test, which you’ve probably expected, as well as vehicle inspection and backing tests. Of course, no one expects you to somehow magically know everything, which is why there are courses where you can learn everything and ace your exam with flying colors. In addition, many companies have their own training courses to help newcomers make themselves familiar with all the requirements and protocols, so all you need is some faith in yourself!
Are There Any Other Things to Keep in Mind?
So, we’ve covered the main requirements to be a truck driver, but is there anything else one might want to look into? As a matter of fact, yes! There’s always something else to keep in mind, and trucking is no different.
First, you might wanna consider what we said about having a clean driving history because a clean criminal record, in general, is just as important. You might be fine if you’ve been charged with something minor, but a lot of employers ask for a clean slate. Your best course of action would be to simply contact their HR and ask what their policies are.
Second of all, think back on our brief discussion about potentially dangerous and sensitive cargo. Sometimes, having a clean criminal record just won’t cut it if you want such gigs. What else do you need? Well, your employer might ask for some references. They’ll want to see what your experience handling such cargo is, so any kind of previous experience will be more than welcome. And not to mention that it might increase your chances of getting a raise!