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Being a Truck Driver: Do You Have What it Takes?

A career in the trucking industry can be very rewarding but do you have what it takes to be a truck driver? Unlike your standard office job, a trucking career typically involves a lot of travel, long hours on the road, and advanced knowledge of various trucks and equipment. You can choose to complete a formal truck driver training program to learn the basics of road safety and truck operations, and also get some help in finding a job after you get your CDL license.

However, not everyone is cut out to be a truck driver. Successful drivers in this industry have a few distinct qualities and characteristics that keep them motivated to stick with their career path for the long haul. Here are a few of them:

Clean Driving Record

You do need to have a clean driving record in order to apply for a Commercial Driver’s License. If you have been involved in any serious accidents, received several speeding tickets, or proved yourself to be an “at risk” driver in any way, you may be ineligible to get your CDL and become a truck driver. Truck drivers need to have a strong sense of responsibility and be very responsive to road and driving conditions.

Flexible Schedule

You won’t be working a 9 to 5 schedule on any given week. Truck drivers are assigned to various routes throughout the week and might even have a few days off in a row followed by several days on the road. You need to be comfortable with having a changing schedule week in, week out. Some people like to have a schedule like this, while others are more comfortable with a weekly schedule that rarely changes.

Solid Health History

You will have to meet certain health requirements in order to be behind the wheel for long periods of time. Severe medical conditions can cause fatal accidents. Any bus or truck drivers who will be crossing state lines need to get a fitness certificate signed by a medical examiner before they can even get their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). This certificate has to be renewed every two years. If you have ever suffered from seizures, blacked out suddenly, or have a history of high blood pressure or diabetes, you will likely be disqualified from getting your CDL. State requirements are typically less strict than Federal regulations, but all truck drivers need to undergo a medical exam and confirm that they do not have any health problems that could put them — or others — at risk while on the road.

Commitment to Training

Whether you decide to attend a public training center or complete a private, company-sponsored training program, you need to commit to completing your CDL training and following through on any work requirements thereafter. Company-sponsored training programs require you to work for that company for a certain period of time. Not doing so may result in having to pay for tuition in full, out of pocket. If you attend a public training center or a vocational school offering a trucking program, you need to follow through and pass the CDL exam. Some of these schools may also offer some job placement benefits to assist with you your job search.

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