Although there are no strict qualifications required to become a truck driver, most companies prefer drivers with a high school degree. It is also important to have a clean driving record because most companies will not want to be liable for any accidents that take place on the road. You will have to have a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) to drive trucks over 26,000 lbs, or any size truck that transports hazardous materials. To get a CDL drivers license applicants will have to pass a written and driving exam to ensure that they are able to maneuver a large truck. Once you have passed the two parts of the test to get your CDL then it will go to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) exam of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Having this license will help you to get a job in large transportation companies. You will need to pass the FMCSR physical exam every two years to maintain your qualification as a commercial trucker.
As a truck driver it is important to have physical strength, be able to concentrate very well because you will be driving for long periods of time in most cases. You should also be flexible with your sleeping habits as most of the long distance drives prefer to drive during the night because there is less traffic. Truck drivers must have technical knowledge about the vehicle so that they know what and how to fix it in case it breaks down at an odd hour. The truck driver must also inspect the truck daily and must check the headlights, tires, tire pressure, hoses, brakes, oil, steering, and other things.
Another thing that you will need to be flexible with is your eating habits. Being on the road you don't know when you will be able to have a proper meal, or when you will be able to stop at a gas station to get food for yourself. Another key virtue that truckers need is to display the ability to take responsibility for their actions, and choices that they will need to make along the way. The goods that you are transporting are in large quantities and you cannot afford to misplace them or cause any damage to them. Also, perishable goods need to be taken care of especially as they get damaged easily.
Trucking may not be as lucrative as some of the other job careers, but if you have passion for driving and want to make a living out of driving, this is what you should opt for.
If you are a commercial driver your salary can be anywhere from $8.00 to $20.00 an hour for a local or regional driver to as high as $60,000.00 a year for over the road driver. The pay also depends greatly on the company and the area of the country.