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What is a Truck Driver

Remember when you were a little kid and you would move your arm in a pulling down motion every time you passed a large semi-truck? You know that excitement when the drive actually honked? That's actually one of the responsibilites of being a truck driver.

While we're totally kidding, honking at kids (and let's face it, some adults) does make the long road trips a little more fun. After you take a professional truck driving school and obtain your commercial driver's license, then you'll be able to see the country. Imagine all of the cities and towns you'll get to drive through.

What Does a Truck 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.

Learn more about what a Truck Driver does

How To Become a Truck 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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  1. Walmart Jobs (756)
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  3. C.R. England Jobs (2,160)
  4. Knight Transportation Jobs (3,354)
  5. U.S. Xpress Jobs (1,411)
Average Salary
$59,684
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
5%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
1,071,269
Job Openings
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Truck Driver Career Paths

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Average Salary for a Truck Driver

Truck Drivers in America make an average salary of $59,684 per year or $29 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $89,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $39,000 per year.
Average Salary
$59,684
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12 Truck Driver Resume Examples

Learn How To Write a Truck Driver Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Truck Driver resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Truck Driver Resume Examples And Templates

And if you’re looking for a job, here are the five top employers hiring now:

  1. Walmart Jobs (756)
  2. Prime Jobs (737)
  3. C.R. England Jobs (2,160)
  4. Knight Transportation Jobs (3,354)
  5. U.S. Xpress Jobs (1,411)

Choose From 10+ Customizable Truck Driver Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Truck Driver templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Truck Driver resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

Truck Driver Resume
Truck Driver Resume
Truck Driver Resume
Truck Driver Resume
Truck Driver Resume
Truck Driver Resume
Truck Driver Resume
Truck Driver Resume
Truck Driver Resume
Truck Driver Resume
Truck Driver Resume
Truck Driver Resume
Truck Driver Resume
Truck Driver Resume
Truck Driver Resume
Truck Driver Resume

Truck Driver Demographics

Truck Driver Gender Distribution

Male
Male
92%
Female
Female
8%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among Truck Drivers, 8.4% of them are women, while 91.6% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among Truck Drivers is White, which makes up 65.5% of all Truck Drivers.

  • The most common foreign language among Truck Drivers is Spanish at 71.8%.

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Truck Driver Education

Truck Driver Majors

21.8 %

Truck Driver Degrees

High School Diploma

48.0 %

Associate

15.9 %

Diploma

13.3 %
Job Openings

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Online Courses For Truck Driver That You May Like

Customer Service Mastery: Delight Every Customer
udemy
4.6
(11,073)

Master Customer Service using this practical customer care course...

Road Traffic Safety in Automotive Engineering
edX (Global)

Engineers in the automotive industry are required to understand basic safety concepts. With increasing worldwide efforts to develop connected and self-driving vehicles, traffic safety is facing huge new challenges. This course is for students or professionals who have a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering or similar and who are interested in a future in the vehicle industry or in road design and traffic engineering. It's also of value for people already working in these areas who...

OSHA Safety Pro: Personal Protective Equipment
udemy
4.6
(1,401)

Impress management or get that job with you your ability to display life and dollar saving work place safety practices...

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Top Skills For a Truck Driver

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 47.9% of Truck Drivers listed CDL on their resume, but soft skills such as Hand-eye coordination and Hearing ability are important as well.

Best States For a Truck Driver

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a Truck Driver. The best states for people in this position are Kentucky, New York, Delaware, and New Jersey. Truck Drivers make the most in Kentucky with an average salary of $72,287. Whereas in New York and Delaware, they would average $72,237 and $71,947, respectively. While Truck Drivers would only make an average of $71,801 in New Jersey, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Kentucky

Total Truck Driver Jobs:
6,466
Highest 10% Earn:
$107,000
Location Quotient:
2.03
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Indiana

Total Truck Driver Jobs:
9,598
Highest 10% Earn:
$105,000
Location Quotient:
1.69
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Ohio

Total Truck Driver Jobs:
15,146
Highest 10% Earn:
$105,000
Location Quotient:
1.72
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Truck Drivers

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Top Truck Driver Employers

Most Common Employers For Truck Driver

RankCompanyZippia ScoreAverage Truck Driver SalaryAverage Salary
1$78,792
2$72,083
3$70,947
4$70,646
5$70,262
6$70,198

Truck Driver Videos

Becoming a Truck Driver FAQs

Are truck drivers happy?

No, truck drivers are not happy. Truck drivers score well below average in job happiness and satisfaction. Truck driving was rated in the bottom 10% of careers compared to all other industries. Truck drivers themselves rated their profession a 2.7 out of 5 stars in terms of career happiness.

Do truck drivers make good money?

Yes, truck drivers make good money. While there is a great deal of variability in earning depending on the type of truck driver and whether you own your own tricking driving company, the average salary for a truck driver is $68,000. Truck drivers that work for a company team earn around $0.48 - $0.75 per mile, while a company solo truck driver earns around $0.40 - $0.68 per mile, and an owner operate driver earns between $0.94 - $1.79 per mile.

How long does it take to get a CDL?

A CDL license can take anywhere from three weeks to six months to get. The median time is three months.

A person can obtain a truck driving license in as little as three weeks (e.g., freight truckers, local truck drivers) or as much as six months for more specialized truck drivers (e.g., refrigerated freight haulers, tankers).

How many hours can a truck driver drive?

Truck drivers can drive for 11 hours. After that, they are required to take a ten-hour break.

In 2020, truck drivers were allowed to begin working 14-hour days, rather than the limit of 12 hours previously in place. This is only for travel up to 150 miles. In order to gain as much drive time as possible, a truck driver usually will have a 7-3 split, which allows the driver to split the required ten-hour break into two segments -- with one segment no shorter than seven hours.

How much does truck driving school cost?

Truck driving school cost ranges anywhere from $425 to $10,000. Prices depend on the type of CDL class type, city and state, number of hours of training, and whether you take it at a college or independent school. The median cost of trucking school is $3,500.

Is being a truck driver fun?

Yes, being a truck driver is fun. While truck driving is not going to be something that all people consider fun, it's quite satisfying for solitary adventurous souls. There is the excitement to be had when driving a mammoth-sized truck and being able to honk that horn anytime you want, especially when given the gesture from kids and some adult still children at heart driving by.

Is being a truck driver hard?

Yes, being a truck driver is hard. While becoming a truck driver is not hard, working as a trucker can be. Many truck drivers must work long hours, spend lots of time away from home, and remain seated for most of their workday.

Is being a truck driver worth it?

No, being a truck driver is not worth it. That is unless you own your own business or work in a high-paying specialized area of trucking (e.g., refrigerated flatbed or cross-country flatbed).

Is it hard to be a truck driver?

Yes, being a truck driver is hard. While becoming a truck driver is not hard, working as a trucker can be. Many truck drivers must work long hours, spend lots of time away from home, and remain seated for most of their workday.

What is the age requirement for a CDL?

The age requirement for the CDL is 18 years old. If the applicant is under 21 years old, however, they will be restricted to intrastate only.

The types of trucking jobs available to someone under the age of 21 years old include: local delivery drivers, dump truck drivers, construction and lumber delivery drivers, oil field drivers, tow truck drivers, and livestock delivery drivers.

What is the first step to becoming a truck driver?

The first step to becoming a truck driver is to enroll in a truck driver school. In order to do that, an individual needs to first decide what kind of truck driver he or she would like to be.

What is the highest-paying truck driving job?

The highest-paying truck driving job is an owner-operated truck driver. A truck driver who own his own truck(s)can average $154,475 a year. The tops earners average $300,000 and the lower 25% average $95,453. A close second is luxury hauler truck driver who can earn up to $100,000 annually.

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