Ever dreamed about traveling the country, but couldn’t afford it? Maybe you’ve never had the time because of work or other obligations. As a truck driver, you can get paid to travel and become a part of a unique and tight-knit community.
According to a 2012 report, 1,701,500 U.S. citizens work in trucking and heavy haul service, dedicating weeks at a time to driving all over the country. On average, tractor trailers and heavy haul vehicles travel 2,965 miles a second, and can cover 8,000 miles a month. Furniture and other manufactured products are the most commonly shipped items and moving the 9.2 billion tons of freight each year requires nearly 3 million heavy-duty trucks and over 3 million drivers.
So, what does it take to get involved in the heavy haul transportation industry?
Unlike other jobs, you don’t need years of experience to break in. There’s also a huge demand for truckers all year round, so there isn’t as much competition as you would find in other industries. As long as you’re over the age of 23 and have a clean driving record, most companies will train you for free. If you can’t find a company to train you, there’s always the option of going to truck driving school to obtain your CLD, which generally costs between $3000 and $6000. Your heavy haul trucking company may reimburse your tuition costs if you agree to work for them for at least two years or more.
What are the benefits?
There are hundreds of heavy hauling trucking companies in the United States, each of which has different requirements and benefits. But, on average, truckers work around 70 hours a week and are paid by the mile. This usually comes to about $30,000 a year starting out. Benefits typically include a 401K retirement plan, vacation days, and health insurance, which is more than a lot of college graduates get with their first job.
What are the cons?
Heavy haul transportation is about more than just making money and enjoying the freedom of the open road. There are a lot of cons, including irregular sleep schedule, long hours, weeks away from friends and family, hazardous weather conditions, traffic, and a lack of parking for overnight stays. There are also dangers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 333,000 large trucks were involved in accidents in 2012, resulting in 3,921 deaths and 104,000 injuries, and those numbers have been increasing with each year.
Truck driving, like any other job, has its ups and downs, but at the end of the day heavy haul transportation offers a way out of the monotonous 9-5 lifestyle, and the ability to see parts of America you might never have had the chance to see before. To find out more about what it takes to get involved with heavy haul trucking, you can visit sites like www.truckingtruth.com or contact your local CLD school.