Let’s suppose you are weighing your options about making a career choice. The economy is good, and there are plenty of “gig jobs” available right now. Of course, we’ve all seen the economy boom only to bust 10-15 years later. It seems only wise to get into a field that enjoys steady employment opportunities whether the economy is feast or famine. While there’s always bartending, perhaps something with benefits and upward mobility might suit your long-term goals better.
One appropriate option would be to earn your CDL and become a professional truck driver. There has been a lot of talk in the media about driver shortages and big box stores like Walmart and others advertising for drivers. But before diving into a career, it’s worth your while to speak with a truck driving school’s admission professional and ask some pertinent question. In other words, it’s in your best interest to get the facts about the life of a trucker and decide if it’s the right fit for you. Consider playing the trucking equivalent of 20 questions:
- I understand there are different opportunities for beginner and experienced drivers. What’s the difference between local, regional, and long-haul truck driving positions and how I would apply?
- These different types of CDL jobs must have different pay grades. I’ve heard a lot about truckers earning good money. What can I expect as starting pay and how often do truck drivers usually get salary increases?
- Health insurance costs have gone through the roof. Do truckers get health insurance coverage from employers? If so, how much do drivers kick in toward the cost usually?
- There’s quite a bit of talk about truck drivers working long hours. Exactly how many hours per day and week would I be expected to work? Also, if I take a long-haul job, do my non-driving hours in the cab count toward my salary?
- After making a run or handling a local or regional route, how much time off do drivers have before returning to work?
- One of the reasons I’m considering truck driver training is because I see a lot of jobs advertised. Is there really a driver shortage? If so, how big is the shortage and how long is it expected to last?
- Is it true that trucking companies are offering incentives for first-year drivers to sign on with them? If that’s the case, are these things cash sign-on bonuses or other perks?
- Do truck drivers load and unload their trailers or is that handled by warehouse workers?
- If I went to college and earned a four-year degree, I expect finding a job would be easy. What are the benefits of going to truck driving school instead?
- How much does truck driver training school cost?
- Are there financial aid packages or student loan programs available to cover the cost?
- Does your school take GI benefits like technical schools and colleges?
- How long does the program take to complete? And, what is your instructor-to-student ratio?
- If I’m not from the area, do you have housing options in place or relationships with local people for trucking students?
- I know not everyone finishes high school and college. What is the average completion rate for trucking schools, and what is it at yours?
- If I successfully complete your truck driving training program, does your school also help with setting up the CDL test with the state?
- Once I have graduated and passed my CDL test, will someone in the truck driving school connect me with suitable employers?
- If I discover that I get homesick as a long-haul driver, would my CDL open opportunities locally such as driving for a construction company? And, would I need additional training to pursue a career in other industries besides freight hauling?
- I hear on the news that pay equality continues to be an issue in some careers. Are the opportunities in the trucking industry equal for men and women alike? Are employers open to hiring female truck drivers? If so, is the number of women entering the field declining or growing?
- I understand that some truckers own their own rig and make more money that way. Is that true? What makes working for yourself as a professional trucker driver attractive?
It’s essential to select a truck driving program that provides high-level training and positions you to earn your CDL and begin a good paying career. If you are considering becoming one of America’s proud truckers, contact one of our Southwest Truck Driver Training admissions professionals. They can answer all of your questions and provide you with information about classes, costs, and enrollment as well.