So, you are considering becoming a professional truck driver? Whether you want to be at home every night or a few days a week, now is a great time to do so, with professional truck drivers in more of a demand than ever before, the job market is hot, and you have options. Professional truck driving as an owner-operator or with a carrier is a career that an estimated 3.5 million have chosen as their profession. These professional drivers are the heartbeat that keeps America supplied with the goods and services needed to Keep America Moving.
There are many reasons to consider becoming a professional truck driver. 1.Get your CDL and get on the road - If you don’t want to spend years training for a career or end up with college debt that could take years to repay, becoming a professional truck driver is a career you should consider. Most CDL training programs enable you to receive your CDL, on average, in 7 weeks. There are different requirements depending on where you work post-training, but you won’t spend years preparing for a career. Instead, you will learn on the road and start earning money quickly.
2.Good starting pay - A truck driving career is notorious for a great starting salary with excellent growth potential as you gain experience. While the pay varies depending on whether you are an owner/operator or work for a large shipper, driver wages and benefits have steadily increased since 2012 to attract and retain qualified drivers. Wages are currently at 59.6 cents per mile – a 43 percent increase since 2012.* Page 22 ATRI 2019 Operational Cost of Trucking Study https://truckingresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/ATRI-Operational-Costs-of-Trucking-2019-1.pdf
3. Bonuses too - seventy percent of carriers offered some type of bonus, the most common are safety, starting, and retention bonuses. In 2018, safety bonuses averaged $1,238, a surprising six percent decrease from the $1,317 reported in 2017. Starting bonuses saw an 11.5 percent increase to $1,562 in 2018, which is understandable as sign-on bonuses are a leading tool used to recruit new drivers.* Page 24 - ATRI 2019 Operational Cost of Trucking Study https://truckingresearch.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/ATRI-Operational-Costs-of-Trucking-2019-1.pdf
4. Want to be your own boss - have you dreamed of being your own boss? About 1 in 9 truck drivers in the USA are owner/operators, which means they work for themselves. Owner/operators are responsible for filling their trucks with freight of their choosing and are free to work when they want. Most drivers start out working for carriers as they gain experience. Later in their career they may choose to own a truck (or several). The business potential is endless.
5. Love to travel - If you love to drive and experience new places, long-haul truck driving might be the perfect career choice for you. Long-haul drivers average 2,000-3,000 miles per week. But, want to be home every night or every few days, there are many jobs in the industry to meet those needs too.
6. Financial aid or competitivefunds available to cover training – Don’t have the funds available to pay for your training, not to worry, some training schools are operated by carriers that will cover you training cost with a 12 – 24-month commitment to drive for them. Depending on the school or course you attend, you may be eligible for financial aid or a grant from Indiana Work One, or other programs that will cover most of your training costs.
The truck driver shortage, which is the primary force behind the compensation growth, ranked as the top issue in ATRI’s 2019 Top Industry Issues Report. The American Trucking Associations estimated that the driver shortage was 60,800 at the end of 2018, and if current trends were to continue, the shortage could grow over 160,000 drivers by 2028. So, if you think that a career as a professional truck driver is right for you, read on to learn the next steps and find a CDL training school right for you.
IMTA Member Truck Driving Schools
Are you ready to start a new career brimming with opportunities? Get your education at one of these Truck Driving Schools that supports the Voice of Trucking in Indiana:
CDL Overview - Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) requirements are stricter than any other Indiana driver's license and are based upon stringent Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations. Individuals who hold an Indiana CDL are permitted to operate the following vehicles:
Commercial motor vehicles or combinations of vehicles with declared gross vehicle weight ratings in excess of 26,000 pounds
Vehicles designed to transport 16 or more people, including the driver; and vehicles used to transport hazardous materials.