Getting trucking experience is not nearly as hard as you may think. Most companies are short on drivers and are always hiring experienced as well as inexperienced and student truck drivers. Below we will cover how you get experience regardless if you already have a CDL, CDL permit or are starting from scratch.
How To Get Trucking Experience
This is one of the most common questions from people that have either just got there CDL or contemplating the idea of a trucking career. It can seem overwhelming at first when you are trying to figure out how to get trucking experience.
In reality it is not hard to get driving experience because so many trucking companies are always short on drivers. The industry as a whole has a very high turnover rate due to a number of factors including home time, pay and the lifestyle that comes with being a truck driver.
If you have your CDL
The best way to get trucking experience is to head to a larger trucking company that operates Over The Road. If have your CDL already, even if you got it a long time ago you should not have a problem getting a student driving position as long as you are or over the age of 21. You may find this article about trucking companies that hire inexperienced drivers helpful if you already have your CDL but have no actual driving experience. All of the companies in the above link will hire you and then put you out on the road with a driver trainer.
If you do not have your CDL
Not having a CDL is okay, it only means that you will either have to attend a truck driving school or you will need to apply to a trucking company that will train and hire you. After they approve your application the trucking company will train you, allow you to test for your CDL and then will put you out on the road with a driver trainer.
The application process
Whenever you apply at a larger trucking company they perform an extensive background check on you. This will entail a drug test, physical, criminal background check, employment history verification for the last 10 years and also your address history. It is very important that you answer every question as honestly as possible. The company must investigate your background due to FMCSA regulations.
The training and hiring process
After you are hired the company will send you by bus to their terminal for driver orientation. Orientation can last from 3 days to 14 days depending on that company’s procedure for new hire truck drivers. Orientation is basically made up of informational classes about the company, company policies and safety related information. If you do not have a cdl then you will complete classroom and hands on training in order to obtain your CDL. You will then be assigned a driver trainer.
You will go out on the road with him for 2 to 8 weeks and he will teach you everything that you need to know. From shifting, pulling and descending steep grades to how to get fuel. It is very important to pay attention to your trainer and to ask questions. This will be your chance to really learn how to drive and practice skills that will make you a successful truck driver.
After your training is complete you will then be assigned your own truck and be sent out on your own. Make sure to stay at the same company for at least a year and you will have enough trucking experience to work for most companies. If you have any questions regarding on how to get trucking experience please comment below.