Businesses and the economy rely on commercial truck drivers. After all, commercial truck drivers consist of professionals who drive trucks to transport large amounts of products or commodities. If you wish to drive a truck professionally, you will first start as a student truck driver.
What Is a Student Truck Driver?
A student truck driver is a new worker who is still learning the ropes of the truck driving field. Generally, trucking companies will hire student truck drivers and have them complete driving training classes. This training teaches new students how to drive a route, manage paperwork, handle cargo, and other responsibilities.
By the end of your training, you will complete the necessary requirements for an official commercial driving license.
What Qualifications Do Student Truck Drivers Need?
Of course, you will need to complete a CDL program and training to officially become a commercial truck driver. However, prospective students need other qualifications as well. Most companies and programs will require students to have a clean driving record and a high school diploma or equivalent. Already having a CDL permit, license, or HAZMAT endorsement may also give you an edge when applying to companies and programs.
On a personal level, you must have the ability to sit for extended periods of time and be comfortable driving in a variety of weather conditions to successfully become a truck driver. Depending on where you apply and where you live, you must also be between 18 and 21 years old to qualify as a student truck driver.
What Are the Benefits of Working as a Student Truck Driver?
There are many benefits to becoming a student truck driver. For starters, the commercial truck driving industry pays well and has promising employment outlooks. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, economists forecast that the employment rate of commercial truck drivers will grow by 12% from 2020 to 2030, which is much faster than other occupations. Additionally, almost 200,000 jobs for commercial truck driving open annually.
Compared to other professions, driver schooling and training are much cheaper and easier to afford. Thanks to this, student truck drivers typically will not accumulate tens of thousands of dollars in student debt. Of course, the expenses of truck driving school and training depend on geographic area and school.
Depending on your employer, you may receive great employee benefits such as health insurance coverage. You will also have access to labor unions and trade associates as a student truck driver or truck driver.
What Are Working Conditions Like?
Truck driving working conditions are protected by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration guidelines. Typically, truck drivers work full time and have regular hours if their route is the same. Some truck drivers may have long routes that last for several days. Student truck driving, and truck driving in general, is also physically demanding.
While sitting for hours on end may not seem like a lot, it can have a physical toll on the body. Usually, most truck drivers must load and unload commodities. There are also specific risks associated with becoming a student truck driver or truck driver. While fatalities are unlikely, truck drivers will still have to drive in dangerous weather, including snow, rain, hail, and storms. Additionally, fatalities or injuries may ensue in the case of a traffic accident.
What Can I Do To Prepare To Become a Student Truck Driver?
On top of receiving CDL licensure, student truck drivers will need to prepare for the FMSCA exam and other tests. FMSCA and CDL verifications require a series of driving tests, standardized tests, inspection tests, control tests, and endorsements. As such, it is wise to study as early as possible. You may be able to download a CDL manual on your local DMV website. Doing well during your truck driving classes will better prepare you for any exams that you must pass. You will also need to register for a medical DOT card before you can officially become a student driver. Sometimes, medical cards require a bit of preparation and studying on the student’s part.
Before committing to anything, consider the liabilities associated with your new career path. Most truck drivers seek out truck driving insurance to protect themselves from legal and financial consequences for any unexpected issues.