Trucking Job Overview and Description

As our economy continues to grow and the demand for goods increases, more truck drivers are needed to meet the demand. The amount of trucking jobs available is projected to grow 6 percent from 2016 to 2026.

With advancements in technology creating trucks that are more fuel efficient and easier to drive, trucking will become safer and ease the burden of the driver.

What is a Truck Driver?

A truck driver is someone who operates a truck and transports goods from one location to another. Some drivers may travel long distances, usually spanning over several states.

A Truck drivers job usually includes securing cargo for transport using ropes, blocks, chains or covers, inspect trailers before and after trips to record any defects that they find, Maintain a log of their working hours, maintain the condition of their trucks and associated equipment in clean and working order, Drive long distances, and report to a dispatcher any incidents encountered on the road.

Truck Driver Job Overview

Most of a truck drivers time will be spent on the road, away from home, sometimes for weeks at a time. They may have to transport cargo across several states and may even travel internationally into Mexico and Canada. Unless driving in teams, many drivers will spend almost all their time alone on the road, sitting for long periods of time. Trucking can be tiring and physically demanding as some drivers may be required to load and unload cargo.

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations due to the potential for traffic accidents.

What are the different types of Truck Driving jobs?

  • Owner Operator. Long-haul truck drivers who buy or lease trucks and go into business for themselves. Their jobs also include administrative tasks, such as finding and keeping clients and accounting.
  • Local Drivers. Work only within the limits of a local area. May cross state lines, but usually returns home daily.
  • Tanker Drivers. Haul liquids, such as gasoline, diesel, milk, dry bulk (sugar, flour, cement). Needs special driving skills due to the load balancing changing from the liquid movement. Oil/ fuel drivers require special certification.
  • Vocational Drivers. Drives as a vocational truck, such as a tow truck, garbage truck, dump truck, or cement mixer.
  • Dryage Drivers Transports cargo containers.
  • Auto/Boat Haulers. Uses a specialized trailer to transport cars and boats and require a specific skill for loading and operating. For boats over a certain width a permit is required.
  • Dry Van Drivers. Haul the majority of goods over highways in large trailers.
  • Bullrack Drivers. Haul livestock locally or regionally.

What type of education do you need to be a Truck Driver?

For most driving jobs companies require at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Many prospective drivers attend a professional truck driving school or community college program to learn how to maneuver large vehicles on highways or through crowded streets. These programs usually lasts 3 to 6 months.

After completion of the program, drivers usually have continued on-the-job training for several weeks. This involves driving with a more experienced mentor-driver in the passenger seat.

Applicants must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Qualifications for obtaining a CDL may vary from state to state but generally include passing a knowledge test and a driving test.

Drivers can get endorsements to their CDL to show their ability to drive specialized vehicles. Endorsements are required for transporting hazardous materials. Getting an endorsement requires passing a knowledge test and a background check.

What is a typical salary for Truck Drivers?

The median annual wage for heavy and tractor-trailer drivers is $42,480. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $27,510 and the highest 10 percent earned more than $64,000.

Drivers are usually paid by how many miles they have driven, plus bonuses. The per-mile rate will vary by employer, the type of cargo and the experience of the driver. Some long-distance drivers, including owner-operators, are paid a share of the revenue from shipping.

What are the job requirements for Truck Drivers?

Along with a CDL and endorsements for operating specialized vehicles, federal regulations require CDL drivers to maintain a clean driving record and pass a physical exam every two years. Drivers are subjected to random drug and alcohol tests.

Where can you find a Trucking job listing?

You can search for a trucking job listing through websites like CareerBuilder, Monster, Indeed, SimplyHired, and You can also check your local papers or do a general web search for your area for trucking jobs. The need for truck drivers will continue to grow and there is a lot of work available for those interested in getting into this line of work.

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