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PERSONALIZED JOBS

Become A Driver

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Working As A Driver

  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Controlling Machines and Processes
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Stressful

  • $41,350

    Average Salary

What Does A Driver Do

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers transport goods from one location to another. Most tractor-trailer drivers are long-haul drivers and operate trucks with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) capacity of more than 26,000 pounds. These drivers deliver goods over intercity routes, sometimes spanning several states.

Duties

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers typically do the following:

  • Drive long distances
  • Report to a dispatcher any incidents encountered on the road
  • Follow all applicable traffic laws
  • Inspect their trailers before and after the trip, and record any defects they find
  • Maintain a log of their working hours, following all federal and state regulations
  • Report serious mechanical problems to the appropriate personnel
  • Keep their trucks and associated equipment clean and in good working order

Most heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers’ routes are assigned by a dispatcher, but some independent drivers still plan their own routes. They may use satellite tracking to help them plan.

A driver must know which roads allow trucks and which do not. Drivers also must plan legally required rest periods into their trip. Some drivers have one or two routes that they drive regularly, and others drivers take many different routes throughout the country. Also, some drivers have routes that include Mexico or Canada.

Companies sometimes use two drivers, known as teams, on long runs in order to minimize downtime. On these team runs, one driver sleeps in a berth behind the cab while the other drives.

Certain cargo requires drivers to adhere to additional safety regulations. Some heavy truck drivers who transport hazardous materials, such as chemical waste, must take special precautions when driving, and may carry specialized safety equipment in case of an accident. Other drivers, such as those carrying liquids, oversized loads, or cars, must follow rules that apply specifically to them.

Some long-haul truck drivers, called owner–operators, buy or lease trucks and go into business for themselves. In addition to their driving tasks, owner-operators also have business tasks, including finding and keeping clients and doing administrative work, such as accounting.

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How To Become A Driver

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers usually have a high school diploma and attend a professional truckdriving school. They must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL).

Education

Most companies require their truck drivers to have a high school diploma or equivalent.

Many companies require drivers to attend professional truckdriving schools, where they take training courses to learn how to maneuver large vehicles on highways or through crowded streets. During these classes, drivers also learn the federal laws and regulations governing interstate truck driving. Students attend either a private truckdriving school or a program at a community college that lasts between 3 and 6 months.

Upon finishing their classes, drivers receive a certificate of completion.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is considering a requirement that mandates all newly hired interstate truck drivers to take a truckdriving course.

The Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) certifies a small percentage of driver-training courses at truckdriver training schools that meet both the industry standards and the U.S. Department of Transportation guidelines for training tractor-trailer drivers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All long-haul truck drivers must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Qualifications for obtaining a CDL vary by state but generally include passing both a knowledge test and a driving test. States have the right to refuse to issue a CDL to anyone who has had a CDL suspended by another state.

Drivers can get endorsements to their CDL that show their ability to drive a specialized type of vehicle. Truck drivers transporting hazardous materials (HAZMAT) must have a hazardous materials endorsement (H). Getting this endorsement requires passing an additional knowledge test and a background check.

Federal regulations require random testing of on-duty truck drivers for drug or alcohol abuse. In addition, truck drivers can have their CDL suspended if they are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or are convicted of a felony involving the use of a motor vehicle.

Other actions can result in a suspension after multiple violations. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website has a list of these violations. Additionally, some companies have stricter standards than what federal regulations require.

Training

After completing truckdriving school and being hired by a company, drivers normally receive between 1 and 3 months of on-the-job training. During this time, they drive a truck with a more experienced mentor–driver in the passenger seat. This period of on-the-job training is given so that the new drivers will learn more about the specific type of truck they will drive and material they will transport.

Important Qualities

Hand-eye coordination. Drivers of heavy trucks and tractor-trailers must be able to coordinate their legs, hands, and eyes simultaneously so that they will react appropriately to the situation around them and drive the vehicle safely.

Hearing ability. Truck drivers need good hearing. Federal regulations require that a driver be able to hear a forced whisper in one ear at 5 feet (with or without the use of a hearing aid).

Physical health. Federal regulations do not allow people to become truck drivers if they have a medical condition, such as high blood pressure or epilepsy, which may interfere with their ability to operate a truck. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website has a full list of medical conditions that disqualify someone from driving a long-haul truck.

Visual ability. Truck drivers must be able to pass vision tests. Federal regulations require a driver to have at least 20/40 vision with a 70-degree field of vision in each eye and the ability to distinguish the colors on a traffic light.

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Driver jobs

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Average Length of Employment
Subway Train Driver 14.4 years
Package Car Driver 7.7 years
Frontload Driver 7.1 years
Scoop Driver 5.5 years
Jitney Driver 5.2 years
Jeep Driver 5.1 years
Feeder Driver 4.6 years
Clark Driver 4.5 years
Power Truck Driver 4.4 years
Tow Motor Driver 4.2 years
Refuse Driver 4.1 years
School Bus Driver 4.1 years
Motor Pool Driver 4.0 years
Semi Driver 3.9 years
Driver Supervisor 3.9 years
p & D Driver 3.8 years
Bus Driver 3.7 years
Farm Truck Driver 3.7 years
Heavy Truck Driver 3.7 years
Dispatcher/Driver 3.7 years
Truck Driver 3.6 years
Route Sales Driver 3.6 years
Lumber Driver 3.6 years
Mechanic Driver 3.6 years
Driver Trainer 3.5 years
City Driver 3.5 years
Line Driver 3.5 years
Class B Driver 3.5 years
Rivet Driver 3.5 years
Moving Van Driver 3.5 years
New Car Driver 3.4 years
Semi Truck Driver 3.4 years
Motor Coach Driver 3.4 years
Driver Sales 3.3 years
Trailer Driver 3.3 years
Hyster Driver 3.3 years
Driver Manager 3.2 years
Limousine Driver 3.2 years
Van Driver Helper 3.1 years
Route Driver 3.1 years
Tour Bus Driver 3.1 years
Lead Driver 3.0 years
Coach Driver 3.0 years
Carrier Driver 3.0 years
Mixer Driver 3.0 years
Taxi Cab Driver 3.0 years
Service Car Driver 3.0 years
Hi Lo Driver 3.0 years
Wrecker Driver 3.0 years
Driver 3.0 years
Taxi Driver 3.0 years
Roll Off Driver 2.9 years
Courier Driver 2.9 years
High Lift Driver 2.9 years
Transit Bus Driver 2.9 years
Line Haul Driver 2.9 years
Gas Truck Driver 2.9 years
Driver/Technician 2.8 years
Lift Driver 2.8 years
Recycle Driver 2.8 years
Warehouse/Driver 2.8 years
Loader/Driver 2.8 years
Equipment Driver 2.8 years
CDL Driver 2.8 years
Bus Driver/Monitor 2.8 years
Class A Driver 2.8 years
Residential Driver 2.7 years
Dray Truck Driver 2.7 years
Ambulance Driver 2.7 years
Log Truck Driver 2.7 years
Motor Driver 2.7 years
Stock Car Driver 2.7 years
CDL Class A Driver 2.7 years
Corporate Driver 2.7 years
Trash Truck Driver 2.6 years
Forklift Driver 2.6 years
Commercial Driver 2.6 years
Tank Wagon Driver 2.6 years
Contract Driver 2.6 years
Transit Driver 2.6 years
EMS Driver 2.6 years
Tour Driver 2.5 years
Haul Truck Driver 2.5 years
Tow Truck Driver 2.5 years
School Boat Driver 2.5 years
Milk Pickup Driver 2.4 years
Tractor Driver 2.4 years
Bellman Driver 2.4 years
Cat Driver 2.4 years
Mail Truck Driver 2.4 years
Winch Driver 2.3 years
Tank Truck Driver 2.3 years
Local Driver 2.3 years
Pile Driver 2.3 years
Spotter Driver 2.3 years
Set-Key Driver 2.3 years
Fuel Truck Driver 2.3 years
Tank Driver 2.3 years
Local Truck Driver 2.3 years
Charter Driver 2.2 years
Van Driver 2.2 years
Driver/Installer 2.2 years
Stock Driver 2.2 years
Tow Driver 2.2 years
Company Driver 2.2 years
Driver Examiner 2.2 years
Dumpster Driver 2.2 years
Paratransit Driver 2.2 years
City Route Driver 2.1 years
Driver/Mover 2.1 years
Delivery Driver 2.1 years
Oil Truck Driver 2.1 years
Deliver Driver 2.0 years
Medical Van Driver 2.0 years
Driver Medic 2.0 years
Dump Truck Driver 2.0 years
Escort Car Driver 2.0 years
Driver/Guide 1.9 years
Patrol Driver 1.9 years
Stunt Driver 1.9 years
Food Mobile Driver 1.9 years
Guard Driver 1.9 years
Shuttle Driver 1.9 years
Car Driver 1.9 years
Boat Driver 1.9 years
Dairy Truck Driver 1.8 years
Livery Car Driver 1.8 years
Cab Driver 1.8 years
Flag Car Driver 1.8 years
Shag Truck Driver 1.8 years
Parts Driver 1.7 years
Chuck Wagon Driver 1.7 years
Test Driver 1.7 years
Drive Away Driver 1.7 years
Cart Driver 1.7 years
Pick Up Driver 1.7 years
Combine Driver 1.6 years
Tram Driver 1.6 years
Flatbed Driver 1.5 years
Stage Driver 1.4 years
Water Truck Driver 1.4 years
River Driver 1.4 years
Log Driver 1.4 years
Auto Driver 1.4 years
Crew Car Driver 1.4 years
Driver Assistant 1.4 years
Goat Driver 1.3 years
Pizza Driver 1.3 years
Pedicab Driver 1.3 years
Valet Driver 1.3 years
Skip Load Driver 1.2 years
Rickshaw Driver 1.1 years
Stake Driver 1.0 years
Hook Up Driver 0.9 years
Helper/Driver 0.9 years
Seasonal Driver 0.9 years
Grab Driver 0.7 years
Fence Post Driver 0.7 years
Trencher Driver 0.4 years
Limb Driver 0.3 years
Hammer Driver 0.2 years
Top Employers Before
Truck Driver 11.4%
Cashier 8.7%
Manager 4.1%
Supervisor 3.8%
Technician 3.3%
Cook 3.3%
Operator 2.9%
Owner 2.9%
Top Employers After
Truck Driver 14.0%
Cashier 4.7%
Technician 3.6%
Operator 3.4%
Manager 3.2%
Owner 3.2%
CDL Driver 3.2%
Supervisor 3.1%

Driver Demographics

Gender

Male

79.7%

Female

18.9%

Unknown

1.4%
Ethnicity

White

78.8%

Hispanic or Latino

12.9%

Asian

6.2%

Unknown

1.6%

Black or African American

0.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

68.0%

French

6.9%

Arabic

3.7%

Carrier

3.4%

Russian

2.3%

German

2.3%

Portuguese

2.0%

Italian

1.8%

Japanese

1.4%

Chinese

1.3%

Mandarin

1.2%

Dakota

0.9%

Hindi

0.9%

Polish

0.9%

Turkish

0.6%

Urdu

0.6%

Cantonese

0.5%

Tagalog

0.5%

Swedish

0.5%

Korean

0.4%
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Driver Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

22.7%

Ashford University

6.2%

Universal Technical Institute

5.8%

Liberty University

5.5%

Houston Community College

5.3%

Kaplan University

5.3%

Kirkwood Community College

4.7%

The Academy

4.4%

Delgado Community College

4.1%

Southern New Hampshire University

3.8%

Hinds Community College

3.5%

Northern Virginia Community College

3.5%

Glendale Community College

3.4%

Strayer University

3.2%

Grand Canyon University

3.2%

El Paso Community College

3.1%

Essex County College

3.1%

American InterContinental University

3.1%

Lansing Community College

3.1%

Texas Southern University

3.0%
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Majors

Business

23.7%

Criminal Justice

10.9%

General Studies

8.1%

Automotive Technology

5.8%

Computer Science

4.8%

Accounting

4.2%

Psychology

4.1%

General Education, Specific Areas

3.9%

Education

3.3%

Graphic Design

3.1%

Electrical Engineering

3.1%

Medical Assisting Services

3.0%

Communication

3.0%

Liberal Arts

3.0%

Management

2.8%

Health Care Administration

2.8%

Nursing

2.7%

Precision Metal Working

2.7%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.5%

Information Technology

2.4%
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Degrees

Other

47.1%

Bachelors

20.5%

Associate

16.5%

Certificate

8.3%

Diploma

3.3%

Masters

3.1%

License

0.9%

Doctorate

0.3%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Driver Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Drivers Valley Transportation Services of Massachusetts Nantucket, MA May 01, 2016 $52,885
Driver Ruiz Enterprises TX May 22, 2014 $50,547
Driver Britton Transport, Inc. Grand Forks, ND Jan 15, 2016 $43,744
Driver Jeffrey Crise Pinesburg, MD Nov 29, 2016 $37,316
Drivers Valley Transportation Services of Massachusetts MA May 15, 2014 $33,914
Drivers Valley Transportation Services of Massachusetts MA May 01, 2015 $32,578
Driver Rocky Mountain Cargo, LLC Salt Lake City, UT Jan 25, 2011 $31,305
Drivers Novaterra Inc. Platteville, CO Jan 30, 2008 $31,305
Driver Vivo, Inc. Nantucket, MA Mar 01, 2016 $30,992
Driver/Laborer Blue Mountain Landscape, Inc. CO Jul 10, 2014 $28,175
Driver/Laborer Blue Mountain Landscape, Inc. CO Apr 01, 2014 $27,778
Drivers Valley Transportation Services of Massachusetts, Inc. MA May 15, 2013 $26,630
Driver Independent Roofing Specialists, LLC Commerce City, CO Jun 06, 2008 $25,795
Driver S Transport Ooltewah, TN Jan 05, 2016 $25,044 -
$29,218
Driver D. S. G. K. Drywall, LLC Clark, NJ Feb 20, 2008 $25,044
Driver Challenger Transportation, Inc. Gaithersburg, MD Jul 02, 2008 $24,001
Drivers Easton Ice Company, Inc. MD Apr 01, 2014 $22,581
Sugarcane Driver Segura Farms LLC New Iberia, LA Aug 01, 2015 $21,246
Sugarcane Driver Gonsoulin Farms LLC New Iberia, LA Jul 30, 2015 $21,246
Sugarcane Driver Lejeune Brothers LLC Jeanerette, LA Aug 01, 2015 $21,246
Driver Union-Auto USA LLC Lithonia, GA Jan 05, 2016 $20,870
Driver Express One Logistics, LLC Bethesda, MD Jun 17, 2008 $19,889 -
$23,834
Driver Express One Logistics, LLC Bethesda, MD Aug 17, 2010 $19,889
Driver Express One Logistics, LLC Bethesda, MD May 14, 2010 $19,889 -
$23,834
Driver Express One Logistics, LLC Bethesda, MD May 24, 2010 $19,889 -
$23,834
Driver Express One Logistics, LLC Bethesda, MD Apr 07, 2010 $19,889 -
$23,834
Drivers Easton Ice Company, Inc. MD Apr 01, 2013 $19,889
Driver Express One Logistics, LLC Bethesda, MD May 18, 2010 $19,889 -
$23,834
Driver Express One Logistics, LLC Bethesda, MD Jun 19, 2008 $19,889 -
$23,834

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Top Skills for A Driver

DeliveryInstructionsVehicleMaintenanceSafetyRegulationsCustomerServiceSkillsCDLPre-TripInspectionsJobSitesPick-UpTractor-TrailerCombinationsDumpTruckOTRLogBookResponsibilitiesdriveSafeDrivingUnloadTrucksHeavyEquipmentPalletJackCompanyVehicleHazmatFederalRegulations

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Top Driver Skills

  1. Delivery Instructions
  2. Vehicle Maintenance
  3. Safety Regulations
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Maintained telephone and radio contact with supervisor to receive delivery instructions.
  • Perform basic vehicle maintenance tasks, such as adding oil, fuel, or radiator fluid or performing minor repairs.
  • Follow relevant safety regulations and state laws governing vehicle operation and ensure that passengers follow safety regulations.
  • Utilize customer service skills to smooth over any frustrations.
  • Maintained current Class A CDL with Hazardous Materials and Doubles and Triples endorsements.

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