If you’re looking for a career that lets you travel, is relatively flexible, and pays well, then you have probably considered truck driving at some point. Truck driving for a logistics company can be both a rewarding and lucrative occupation, but there are certain requirements that you need to meet before becoming a driver. While some of these requirements may vary depending on the company and state, there is a certain baseline of standards that you must meet. If you’re interested in becoming a truck driver and don’t know how to take the first step, read on for a list of requirements you need to meet before you get behind the wheel.
Technically, no formal education is required to become a truck driver. No college degree is necessary, although a high school diploma or GED is typically recommended. You can also receive a certificate of completion from any accredited truck driving school. This will be extremely helpful during your hiring process, however it’s not a strict requirement either. What is required is a commercial drivers license, better known as a CDL. In certain states, a CDL can only be issued upon the completion of truck driving and safety competency courses. In addition to those, some jobs may require certain specific certifications such as a doubles or HAZMAT endorsement. Many companies will also have training programs specific to their company or open position that you need to pass in order to fill the position. While every job may vary, these are some of the basic education requirements you may face.
When driving trucks for a third party logistics company, you’ll most likely be entrusted with large amounts of valuable cargo at a time. With that in mind, it’s understandable why clean and driving records are stringent requirements for potential truck drivers. Most companies will conduct a background check to ensure that your criminal record is free of major charges that may conflict with your job. A motor vehicle report used to make sure that your driving record is clean and relatively accident free. If you’re prone to motor vehicle accidents, you’re less likely to be trusted with cargo. Your potential employer will also look at your work history to determine your ability to maintain a stable job, and then verify you have an up to date physical with the Department of Transportation. Candidates are also required to pass a Department of Transportation (DOT) pre-employment drug screen in order to obtain the position.
Truck driving can be a physically tasking job; therefore there are some physical requirements that must be met. One of the requirements is that you are physically healthy. Your health is assessed by passing a DOT physical, which tests your eyes, ears and overall well-being. Another requirement is being able to endure sitting for long periods of time, which is essential if you want to become a truck driver. You may also be required to load and unload your own trucks. If this is the case, then the company may require somebody who is able to lift 50 lbs.
Truck driving also requires a lot of travel; therefore, it’s often required that truck drivers be away from their homes and families for multiple days, sometimes weeks, at a time. When talking to a truck driver recruiter make sure to ask what “regional” deliveries means to that particular company. Regional for some companies may entail that drivers are home multiple nights a week whereas others could mean drivers are out on the road for most of the month. If regional and over-the-road hauls are not for you then start your search with local pickup and deliveries or port positions.
One of the first hurdles before becoming a truck driver is overcoming the initial age requirements set forth by the DOT and the even more stringent vast majority of companies that have even higher age requirements. The DOT allows anyone as young as 18 years of age to obtain a CDL, but the DOT have set parameters that make it so drivers under the age of 21 must remain within the state while handling commercial loads. Applicants also must be 21 years of age to haul hazardous material. Many companies, NRS included, only hire drivers 23 years of age or older to drive commercially for them. The main reason being that most insurance companies will only extend coverage to drivers over the age of 23.
If you’re looking for a career in truck driving job but don’t know where to go, then look no further than National Retail Systems, Inc. (NRS). Family owned and operated since 1952, we are one of the top third party logistics companies in the country and we pride ourselves on what we were founded on: family. At NRS, we strive to keep our truckers with their families as often as possible and to keep them as happy as possible. We are constantly in search of experienced and commercially licensed truck drivers in various locations across the United States, and even in Canada. We have job openings ranging from local hauling to nationwide hauling in order to accommodate different lifestyles. Apply today or contact us with any questions you might have. Don’t be just another number, come join a family: the NRS family.
National Retail Systems, Inc. (NRS) includes Keystone Freight Corp. & National Retail Transportation, Inc. (NRT). NRS is an asset based 3PL that has been providing logistics services for the World’s leading retail companies for 60+ years. Our hub locations include: New York & New Jersey; Los Angeles, CA; Inland Empire, CA; Savannah, GA; Columbus, OH; Greensboro, NC; and Baltimore, MD.