Ever wondered about who could be a truck driver or where do people come from that are truck drivers? The direct and to the point answer is:
- In most states, anyone at least
- 18 years of age
- With a clean background check
- That can pass a substance drug and alcohol test
- Pass a Department of Transportation (DOT) Medical / Physical Exam
- Pass the Written Test for a Class A Commercial Driver’s License
- Pass the Driving test for a Class A Commercial Driver’s License
Following the above will almost allow anyone to begin a career in trucking within the state they live and to transport goods within their state. To enable the ability to travel from state to state and coast to coast, you must be at least 21 years of age in addition to the above list of qualifications.
Now, this seems like a lot of information, about how to get started, but who becomes a truck driver, anyone can. You would not believe where many truckers started working prior to becoming a truck driver. To know the real-life details, read everything I have compiled below!
Who Are Truck Drivers?
Truck Drivers are people that transport various types of goods from one location to another. They come from a wide range of backgrounds. These backgrounds can include anyone and everyone. From people that at one point in their life may have been in a bit of trouble that decided to change their ways and become productive members of society.
To people that at one point in time were CEOs of multimillion-dollar companies. There have been people that migrate to the USA without work, looking for a career to get into and decide to venture into trucking as well.
Teachers in schools, professors in colleges have all became truck drivers as well as their next career choice. Even some that have been successful lawyers for years have decided to become truck drivers.
Many truck driver’s come from a background of being in one of our military branches. Unable to find work as a rifleman, sniper, paratrooper, or tanker for example after their military career, they decided to become truckers.
Even some people that go through with college, obtain a bachelor or master’s degree, after obtaining their degrees have chosen the path of driving a semi-truck across the USA instead of what they have a degree in.
Take me for example, I come from a background of some trouble like any teenage boy, maybe a little more than most, to working in factories, joining a military branch, to bartending and odd jobs with no direction to becoming a truck driver just for the sake of something to do.
Now that may sound somewhat odd or weird, something to do. At the time I was living in an area where job hunting was like trying to uncover the secrets of finding a sasquatch. Basically, not happening.
As we can see truckers come from a wide spectrum of working environments. Not all truckers grew up with trucking as a family motto. Some have, but not the majority. The majority is a reflection of how the USA first began. A mixing pot of people all working towards the same common goals.
Why Do People Become Truck Drivers?
It’s crazy to think that someone that is a CEO of a multimillion dollar company, or a successful lawyer with more clients than anyone could care to count or someone with a masters degree would give all of that up to become a truck driver.
Though true, we have to understand how people view the job of truck driving. Maybe your working your normal 9 to 5 job and one day you just become bored, or maybe tired of what you do each and every day. Being mostly the same exact thing.
To some people, they view trucking as an adventure that changes each and every day. To other people that view being a truck driver as freedom from corporate America.
Sometimes though, many remember when they were a child looking up at the big rig passing by, dreaming with a stargazed look in they’re eye at the sight of this amazing yet enormous semi truck. To these people, becoming a semi-truck driver was always a childhood dream.
Others decided to become truckers simply because they believe that truck driving provides a better income. Which can be very true and somewhat false at the same time. This depends mostly on how much money a person was making prior to becoming a truck driver and what area of truck driving they desire to work within.
The simple truth when talking about truck driving and money is that there are areas of trucking that make a very lucrative income while at the same time there are also areas of trucking that make around $30,000 or so a year when starting out as a very new rookie truck driver.
Most people that are truck drivers that make more than I’ve mentioned here are not rookie truck drivers. Though that does not mean that it is impossible to make more than that as a rookie trucker.
To be honest, I wrote an entire article about why truck drivers become truck drivers that goes into the complete details that you can check out here if you like.
Can Women Be Truck Drivers?
Many times when you are traveling down a road, a man is seen driving a semi-truck. Though don’t let that fool you. Some of the best truck drivers are women. Honestly, women truck drivers have it a little tougher than men truck drivers.
I’m not sure how to say this without upsetting anyone, but I’ll just say it the best way I know how. Before I do, I apologize in advance. Ladies tend to receive more harassment from “some” of the men drivers.
This is so because like anywhere or within any industry, there are always a few bad apples. Trucking is a dangerous occupation. Not only when you are driving, but when you are parked as well. If you are a woman, being parked can be dangerous.
Simply for the fact that it is uncommon to hear about a man being raped by a woman on the news. It is uncommon to hear about how 3 ladies beat up a guy, raped him, and then disposed of the body and took all of his money.
Though we do hear about these types of things on the news when we swap the genders around within the previously mentioned. Now I’m not saying that male truck drivers do not get harassed. They do, they get people trying to rob them or take advantage of them.
What I am saying, is any woman can be a truck driver. Though if you are a woman wanting to be a truck driver, know not to ignore what you see or hear, instead use it as a tool to help you recognize a dangerous situation so that you can avoid it at all costs. This goes for anyone male or female.
Back on topic, not only can a woman be a truck diver. There are ladies that own a small fleet of semi trucks. Even some other women truck drivers that own medium to large fleets of semi trucks.
Can A Amputee Be A Truck Driver?
Matter of fact, yes they can be. Though there is one catch, that being an amputee must have been granted a skill performance evaluation certificate (SPE) from the Skill Performance Program from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) 49 CFR 391.49 (b)(1).
Many people when we read the rules and regulations we read about how having a loss of a limb like a foot, an arm, even a leg may be a disqualification. Though many times the entire regulation itself is not completely read or understood.
If we read all of the regulation 49 CFR 391.49 through 49 CFR 391.41 (b) (13)we will see the above mentioned along with information about if the individual is fitted with and wearing the proper prosthetic device and if the driver can demonstrate safe operation of the commercial motor vehicle while completing on road and off road tests. Then the individual may be eligible to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).
With over 3,000 SPE Certificates issued by the FMCSA, this alone is proof that an amputee could become a truck driver and obtain their CDL. If you would like to read the information directly from the FMCSA, click here to go to the FMSCA Website where I have already completed the search for you, to find this information directly and quickly.
As a quick side note, keep in mind that the FMCSA allows employers to have tougher company regulations. So it is possible to become a truck driver under the FMCSA rules and regulations so long as you meet them all to perfection or better.
Though employers could have other rules or regulations in place as a company policy that could supersede the FMCSA rules and regulations. Before anyone gets their hopes up, I would suggest contacting the employer you are wishing to seek employment from, and just ask them this question, “Does your company hire truck drivers with an SPE Certificate?”
This will go one of two ways; first they may not know the exact details of what they pertain, at which point you may wish to educate them or at least show them where they can find the correct information as I have done in the above. Second, they will give you an answer of yes or no.
Can A Convicted Felon Be A Trucker?
There are some trucking companies that are great at giving people second chances. Although this is sometimes dependent upon the seriousness of the offense for the time served and how long ago the conviction was in place. Many people that have been institutionalized have been able to become a truck driver.
Many of these individuals find trucking to be sort of a rest haven from what they are accustomed to. They find being a truck driver to be something that they can do, and do well while making a decent living doing so.
Convicted Felons honestly at times do have a hard time becoming a truck driver. However, some companies want to see a clean background for 5 years, while others may want to see the same history with a clean record for 10 years.
Some trucking companies do an extensive background check whereas others do the minimum required. I know guys that have gone to prison for lengths of time, come out and have successfully become a truck driver.
Either way, if you have any of the following you are ineligible from obtaining a Commercial Drivers License (CDL):
- Manslaughter in the 1st or 2nd degree with a motor vehicle
- Using a commercial motor vehicle during the act of a felony
- Misconduct with a motor vehicle.
- Assault with the intent to murder
- Causing a fatality through reckless vehicle operation.
- Smuggling of anything illegal.
Here’s a small list of trucking companies that I know of from talking with drivers over the years that have hired felons and ex-convicts. If you’re looking for a trucking company to drive for, that may also provide truck driving schooling, these would be a good place to start in my opinion.
- Celadon – On a case by case basis. But, Rape convictions, murder, controlled substance distribution or sale or manufacturing, and registered sex offenders will not be accepted.
- Swift – On a case by case basis. But, Felonies and convictions must be over 10 years old and a clean background from then to the present day.
- Prime – On a case by case basis.
- Knight – On a case by case basis. But, no DUI in past 5 years, none while ever maintaining a CDL, no failed or refused drug testings while maintaining a CDL, the felony must be over 5 years old and a clean record from then to the present day.
The best advice I can provide you is, to be honest. On your application(s), interviews, be honest. If a person tries to hide a conviction of any type. The background check will find it.
A person increases their chances of employment by being honest and showing their ability to show responsibility for their actions.
To sum it up, anyone can become a truck driver so long as they meet the originally mentioned criteria. And if you meet that criteria, the only thing stopping anyone from seeing if they could become a truck driver is ultimately, themselves.
At the same time, some people will not pass this or that test. They will get caught drinking and driving while at home and lose not only their ability to drive their personal vehicle but also they will lose their Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) as well.
Overall, becoming a truck driver couldn’t be any easier. With information all over the internet and within this website, becoming a truck driver will only ever be as easy or as difficult as each individual allows it to be.
Do I Need A GED Or Diploma To Become A Truck Driver?
No, a GED or High School Diploma is not required to become a truck driver, but it can be helpful to have. Some trucking companies may require you to have one or the other to be employed by that particular trucking company. Check with the trucking company you are seeking employment and ask them directly to know more.
Who Can Teach Me To Become A Truck Driver?
Many trucking companies these days have their very own in house truck driver training facility or structure in place. With these, there are also truck driving schools that will teach the basics of truck driving. Many of these trucking schools also offer job placement into various trucking companies for those seeking to become a truck driver.