Do you like adventure? Do you have a habit of looking out over the horizon and wondering what’s just over the next rise? If you want to get paid to explore the country, then working as a semi-truck driver is a fantastic way to make a living. Once you finish your training right here in Hampton Roads, you should have no trouble finding a job anywhere you want to go.
As a commercial truck driver, you will be able to choose between short-haul, long-haul, and specialized routes. You can choose to drive across country or stay local. You can operate large trucks, tanker trucks, passenger vehicles, or anything your heart desires. While there is a looming shortage of truck drivers, there is no shortage of ways you can apply what you know to create the career you have always wanted.
Getting Your Education in Gear
Earning your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) requires learning how to operate the truck as well as mastering the knowledge contained within the written exam. Your instructors will teach you how to prepare your trips, operate the vehicle in cities and along the open highway, and how to manage your health as you move down the road. You will also learn about state and federal transportation laws, safety and basic first aid, and the proper techniques for loading/unloading cargo.
Upon completion of your course, you will be ready to pass the tests required to operate the big rigs with the big kids. Most importantly, you will be familiar with all the applicable laws and regulations, as well as the safe handling of the massive vehicles you will be hired to operate.
Each state has three CDL classes for you to operate within. These include Class A for vehicles up to 26,001 lbs., Class B for vehicles of 26,001 pounds or greater, and Class C for vehicles that transport hazardous cargo. For Class C, you will also need to earn endorsements for each type of hazardous cargo you want to carry.
Earning Your Endorsements
Many graduates of truck driving schools stop at the standard educational requirements. With a huge shortage of drivers on the horizon, that is not a big deal as there are plenty of opportunities available for drivers with just the basic skills.
However, if you are willing to put in a little extra effort, you can open some very large doors. Earning an endorsement for hazardous materials, double/triple trailers, tankers, etc. can move you into a high demand specialization. This can considerably increase your earning potential.
The Looming Shortage of Drivers
Nearly 68% of all freight moved in the US travels down the highway. With online companies ramping up their offerings, its expected that this number will only continue to increase over the coming years. This increase in freight means an increased need for truck drivers.
Further, an increasing number of truck drivers are nearing retirement age. The current average age of truck drivers in the US is 55. As of 2016, there were 1.87 million truck drivers counted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Over the next decade, BLS estimates that a further 108,400 drivers will be required to fill the need.
However, that’s the government’s estimation. The trucking industry feels these numbers are low and the actual truck driver shortage is much higher. Right now, it’s estimated that there is a shortage of 296,000 truck drivers. By 2024, trucking industry professionals estimate that the actual shortage will be closer to 330,000.
Do you Want to Start Your Own Business?
The growing need for truck drivers and a looming shortage means there is a golden opportunity just over the horizon for enterprising truck drivers who get their foot in the door now. Over the next decade, you can build your own company, staff it with qualified drivers, and choose the most profitable routes to service.
There are plenty of possibilities if you are willing to get moving now. In fact, you can study the business skills you need to do to reach this goal while you are working and driving down the road. It is the ultimate work-study program for motivated students eager to shift their career into high gear.
Are you ready to move into a career as a professional truck driver? The Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) can help you make that move swiftly and smoothly with our commercial truck driving program. We offer a rigorous program that includes courses in range and road operation and vehicle systems/documentation. It typically takes 8 weeks and around 230 hours to complete these courses, and it would be our pleasure to give you all the details when you contact ATI today!