Our nation relies on truck drivers to transport freight and keep major consumer industries going. With a growing demand for truck drivers, there are many opportunities to join the trucking profession and make an important contribution to keep the economy moving.
Before you start a career in truck driving, let’s take a look at the career profile of a truck driver and examine the education and training you will need to get started.
What Do Truck Drivers Do?
Many of the duties of a truck driver depend on the type of driving you are doing as well as the commercial vehicle or trailer you are driving.
With over-the-road (OTR) or long-haul trucking, drivers cross the country and can be on the road for long periods (two to four weeks) at a time. Local or regional drivers make deliveries closer to home. There are a variety of commercial vehicles that truck drivers operate, including dry vans, freights, flatbeds, tankers, and more. Each of these truck driving jobs require a Commercial Driver’s License, or CDL.
Truck drivers often keep a rigorous schedule to meet delivery deadlines. Federal rules dictate how many hours drivers can drive consecutively and how long they must be off-duty to rest.
Your job as a truck driver may also require you to load and unload cargo from your trailer, inspect and maintain your vehicle, and manage trip planning and customer relationships.
It is important that you make sure truck driving fits your personality and desired lifestyle. If you are independent, hard-working, and enjoy operating mechanical equipment, truck driving may be a good fit for you. However, truck driving is a major commitment and is not right for everyone.
Why become a truck driver?
Due to a growing shortage of truck drivers, there is expected to be an increase in job opportunities for new drivers to join the trucking industry.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, heavy truck driving is expected to grow 6% over the next decade, increasing to nearly 2 million truck drivers employed in the United States by 2026 . And in a 2017 report, the American Trucking Associations estimate the trucking industry is expected to hire nearly 900,000 new drivers over the next decade.
|● Adventure. Many see over-the-road truck driving as an opportunity to meet new interesting people and see the country.|
● No college degree required. You can complete CDL training and state license exams in approximately one month (compare the time and investment of a four-year college degree).
● Competitive pay and benefits. The median annual income for truck drivers is $42,480, as of May 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics . Company drivers may also get medical benefits, retirement savings plans, paid time off, and disability and other insurance. . Compensation for a career in truck driving often largely depends on the type of trucking.
|● Major lifestyle choice. If you are working in OTR driving, you may be away from home and from family for days or weeks at a time, which can be hard on relationships.|
● Potential for unhealthy lifestyle. Truck drivers can be sedentary, and many drivers find it more difficult to eat healthy and exercise on the road.
● Can become tedious being alone most of the day. While you may see a new areas of the country, it is mostly while passing by on the highway.
Truck Driver Training and Education
If you think you have what it takes to become a truck driver, CDL training and truck driver education is your first step to getting started.
Midwest Technical Institute offers two programs that prepare students for entry-level careers in the commercial truck driving industry. Through classroom learning and practical experience, you will gain the knowledge and skills needed to operate a tractor-trailer and will be prepared to complete the state licensing exams  and qualify for a variety of truck driving careers.
- MTI’s CDL Training Course  is a 20-day (4 week) course where you’ll learn important skills you’ll be required to know for your state CDL exam, including:
- Safely transporting cargo
- Pre-trip vehicle inspections
- Managing vehicle speed and space relations
- Handling driving hazards and extreme driving conditions
- Various maneuvers and techniques, such as backing, parking, and docking
MTI’s Professional Truck Driving Program  is a 20 week (5 month) training program where students will gain hands-on experience truck driving to prepare for a career in the transportation industry.
Topics covered in the training program include:
- Life on the road and driver wellness
- Trip planning
- Loading and unloading cargo
- Federal trucking rules and regulations
Watch the video below for an overview of CDL and Professional Truck Driving Program at MTI .
Upon successful completion of MTI’s CDL training or truck driving program, you will receive a certificate of completion from MTI. You will then take state licensing exams for your CDL.
For more on CDL licensing requirements and the steps to get your CDL in Missouri, visit “How Can I Get my CDL in Missouri?”
To get started on your way to a rewarding career in truck driving, contact MTI’s friendly Admissions Team today to learn more about how to enroll in our truck driving programs or courses.