Driving Trucks: Challenges, Rewards, and Requirements

Driving the truck along the highway

People over the age of 50 may elect to take the truck driver route as a second career. Some retired airline captains, for instance, choose to become truckers before retirement.

Driving a truck across the state or the country can appeal to people who have a strong desire to travel and explore more of the world. The open road often calls to those who have spent most of their lives in an office or who have had limited opportunities to travel outside of their home city.

Centerline Drivers, a company that offers local truck driving jobs across various states, notes that drivers can find the job enjoyable, exciting, and rewarding if fitted with flexible and long-term assignments that suit their lifestyle.

Challenges and Rewards of Driving Trucks

The struggles of becoming a truck driver involve the physical demands of the job, as well as the emotional difficulty and loneliness of spending long periods of time away from the home and family. In terms of physical demand, drivers may feel exhausted spending hours and days in a cab, eating food at truck stops, and often having to take naps in the truck itself.

However, being a truck driver can also be both personally and financially rewarding. It is rewarding in the sense that drivers have the ability to call their own shots and take jobs only when they want to. They are also given the opportunity to travel and explore the roads of cities they’ve never been to before.

Trucking can have massive financial benefits. Veteran high-end movers can earn up to six figures in a year. In 2017, the median salary of heavy and tractor trailer truck drivers was $20.42 an hour or $42,480 a year. Drivers earn more when they drive hazardous materials, flatbeds, or tanker trucks than when they drive common household goods or retail products to another city or state. Trucker wages may increase depending on specialized certifications they have, the type of license the driver holds, and the part of the country service is required.

Company truck drivers are usually offered incentives like medical benefits, a 401(k) retirement savings plan, disability and insurance coverage, and paid time off. These are benefits that independent contractors may not have.

Trucking Requirements

Driver posing in front of a truckThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and state transportation departments require that truck drivers get a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Those who consider getting into the trucking business can consider taking classes at for-profit schools or community colleges for their Class A, B, or C CDL.

Many local, regional, and short-haul trucking companies will not hire drivers if they do not already have about six months of long-haul driving experience. As such, entry-level truckers usually have to take jobs with long-haul carriers. By experiencing long-distance, cross-country trips that last weeks or months, new truck drivers can determine right away whether or not life on the road is for them.

Aspiring drivers who believe the benefits of driving a truck outweigh the challenges of the career can obtain specialized certifications to increase their earning potential and likelihood of employment.