Once budding truck drivers have acquired their Commercial Driver’s License, or CDL, the next step is to put it to good use and become a truck driver. For trucking students who graduated from a company-sponsored CDL training class, there is likely a period of employment already waiting for you. For everyone else, you need to find a trucking company that is willing to hire you. And that means sending out job applications.
The Road to Hire
If a driver receives a pre-hire letter, this means that a trucking company is interested in what a driver has to offer. The letter does not immediately guarantee that a rookie driver has been hired though. To improve the odds of successfully gaining employment at a desired trucking company, budding truckers should apply to multiple places.
Rookie drivers that have graduated from a company-sponsored CDL training class and those who received a pre-hire letter can anticipate partaking in a 3-5 day company orientation.
During this time, trainers disclose valuable company information, mandated policies, and important procedures. The trucking company’s goal at this point in time is to confirm that potential candidates have what it takes to become a truck driver.
Although the orientation process varies from company to company, it may include a written test consisting of 50 questions, followed by a driving test.
On average, rookie drivers find this portion of orientation somewhat easy.
After passing the pre-elimination screening, new truckers are given their very own driver number. Once you get your driver number, you can officially declare that they have become a truck driver.
At the conclusion of orientation, rookie drivers may receive a scheduled time and place to meet up with a training engineer and begin on-the-job training. If you don’t get this information immediately, don’t panic yet. Drivers are typically contacted within two weeks of orientation.
This next period of on-the-job training is a standard process. New drivers pair up with company trainers and drive with them. Training provides rookie drivers with a chance to perform daily trucker activities, such as pre-trip inspections, hauling cargo, and being on the open road for long periods of time.
Although on-the-road training is conducted under the supervision of a designated trainer, rookie drivers are able to experience firsthand what it is like to be a trucker. This gives you the opportunity to grow accustomed to your new position and ask vital questions that are pertinent to your career.
Training usually lasts a little over a month; however, the time may be extended to two months. Regardless of the duration, during training, rookie drivers should anticipate receiving a lower than average salary. Usually trucking companies offer a different wage during training due to the lack of cargo being hauled on the company’s behalf.
Rookie drivers should also bear in mind that company-sponsored CDL training expenses start to get deducted at this time.
Driving On Your Own
With the conclusion of on-the-road training, rookie drivers are on their own. The freedom and joy of this simple fact can be exhilarating for new truckers. Often times this delightful detail can make the first twelve months of driving fly by.
Once rookie drivers have successfully delivered cargo for one year, all sponsored training expenses or company obligations have usually been fulfilled. At this time, truckers may delight in their lavish, deduction-free paycheck and take pride in procuring any of the newly available trucking opportunities.