Is Trucking the Job for You?

In a recession most Americans are happy to get a job, but the trucking industry is an exception to this rule. Today there are around 200,000 job openings in the United States for long haul truck drivers, according to David Heller, director of safety and policy for the Truckload Carriers Association. And the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 20 percent increase in trucking jobs between 2010 and 2020. Truckers also make above the average of median wage for all jobs. So if there are so many jobs with no sign of the industry slowing down, why aren’t people taking on truck driving jobs? There’s no one answer, but there are some obstacles that could deter prospective truck drivers from taking the leap. Here are some possible obstacles and ways to overcome them.

Certification

If you want to get into the trucking industry, you need to save up around $6000 in order to complete the training it takes to become a commercial driver. Truck drivers have to go through extensive training and testing. “Drivers are put under intense scrutiny before they get into the industry, and for good reason,” argues Brett Aquilla, trucker and creator of the blog, TruckingTruth. “It’s incredibly risky putting someone behind the wheel of an 80,000 pound truck with your company’s name on it.” If you want to become a trucker, you’ll need to do some saving first, but once you’ve done it, the road is fast and you’re pretty much assured a job at the end of it.


Lifestyle


When Night Falls on a Truck StopUnlike Willy Nelson, not everyone is ready to get on the road again. Truck driving isn’t for those who like a set routine of bedtime, morning rituals and predictable schedules. Many truckers start the business only to find out they’re not that into unpredictable sleep routines and spending time away from family. The fact is, though, you’ll probably have more quality time to spend with your family than most 40-hour/week workers will. You’ll drive for a condensed time, but you’ll also have a condensed time with your family. That means more family trips and outings would be possible. If you’re the kind of person who actually enjoys a job that is adventurous and unpredictable, you can probably overlook those aspects and even capitalize on them.

What It’s Worth

Madisonville, KYTrucking companies are experiencing a boom in business as the economy recovers. Companies such as Schneider National and J.B. Hunt Transport Services are aggressively recruiting drivers. And Werner is offering a $5000 signing bonus for team drivers. That means that all the money you spent on education could be paid off immediately. They also offer GI Bill funding for the trucking school, if you are looking for a way to get educated without spending a dime. Truckers can make six figures, so it may be a career move that makes sense to you.

Trucking isn’t for everyone. It requires flexibility and a sense of adventure that trumps an addiction to routine and predictability. If you can figure out how to capitalize on the quirks of trucking, you may just find an immediate career.

Dan Nielson has a lunette ring he purchased online at Truckspring.com on the back of his truck to make towing easier

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