Ah, the call of the open road.
Some say America’s truck drivers are the last of a dying breed. A group of free-wheeling professionals who refuse to be contained. They’ve traded cubicles for well-equipped cabins. They know their routes like the backs of their hands–and they’re carrying the country’s bright future in their trailers.
Today’s truck drivers are modern-day cowboys, wrangling their loads from dock to dock, enjoying the solitude of the open road, making a living doing what others daydream about. They’re also not going away any time soon.
According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for truck drivers is expected to grow as fast as the average of all occupations through 2028.
And Virginia is a great place to begin your career.
The Port of Virginia is one of the busiest ports in the country, and 62 percent of the cargo that moved through the port did so on a truck, according to the port’s website. But of course you can work anywhere in the country after you’ve finished truck driving school and earned your commercial driver’s license.
Here’s a look at five things you need to know about getting into truck driving school in Virginia:
Begin with the basics
If you’re going to be a truck driver based in Virginia, you’ve got to begin with the basics. This means you’re going to have to be at least 18 years old if you only want to be able to drive a commercial vehicle inside Virginia.
To be eligible to earn a commercial driver’s license that allows you to drive a truck across the country, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old. You will also need to have a basic driver’s license issued from the state of Virginia.
Once you have met the basic requirements, you can start looking for a truck driving school.
Find the right school
Not all truck driving schools are created equal. Some schools are better than others at helping you develop both the skills and knowledge you’ll need for a successful career in trucking–whether you want to drive locally, regionally, or over the road.
The best schools prepare you to be able to drive all three types of routes.
You’ll also want to look for a school that offers small class sizes, training that doesn’t take forever, and connections to thousands of employers.
Reap the rewards
Once you have found the right truck driving school, applied for admission, and been accepted, it’s time to get ready for school!
You should spend some time in the classroom preparing for Virginia’s CDL general knowledge exam. You could dig into the Virginia Commercial Driver’s Manual. In order to pass the exam, you’ll need to correctly answer at least 80 percent of the questions on the general knowledge exam.
Your classroom work should prepare you to succeed. You’ll typically learn about driving safety, substance abuse, the transportation of hazardous materials, trip planning, and operational procedures.
Then you’ll get to drive.
You should get behind the wheel and hone your skills in backing up, parking, shifting, and maintenance. By the time you are finished building your skills, you’ll be ready to take the CDL exam, earn your license, land a job, and hit the open road.
Ready to get started?
If you are at least 18 years old, a resident of Virginia, have a state-issued driver’s license, and want to be a professional truck driver, now is the time to enroll in truck driving school. ATI offers a commercial driving course to get you started.
To learn more about eligibility and how to find the right truck driving school for you, connect with the Advanced Technology Institute today. You could join the ranks of America’s modern-day cowboys in as few as eight weeks!