“Get paid to travel by learning to drive a truck!”
Statements like this are fairly common among motor carriers desperately trying to recruit new truck drivers. Let’s face it; with the vast majority of existing truck drivers quickly approaching retirement age, employers have to pull out all the stops in an effort to replace them. Nonetheless, there is more to driving a truck than traveling the country.
America’s future truck drivers can easily fall victim to the romance of truck driving epitomized by the Hollywood-inspired culture of the 1970s and 80s. While truck driving is an excellent career choice for a lot of people, it is not the glamorous world made famous by the likes of Burt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson.
So what do you truck drivers face? More importantly, what actually happens after CDL school? When motor carriers are keen on answering these two questions, they find their recruiting efforts reap better results in both numbers and quality.
The trucking industry has created a juxtapositional problem for itself. A lot of trucking companies only want experienced drivers, but new drivers fresh out of CDL school cannot get that experience if they cannot get a job. Thus, it is not unheard of for newly licensed drivers to spin their wheels, metaphorically speaking, for months until they can find that first job.
A better way of doing things is found in the model used by a number of national motor carriers, including C.R. England. That model involves recruiting drivers, putting them through CDL school, and then immediately bringing them on board to receive extensive on-the-job training with an experienced driver trainer.
It is in the best interests of future truckers concerned about getting a job to go this route. Yes, they may have to commit to an employer for a certain amount of time, but this kind of opportunity guarantees a first job and the experience that comes with it.
Climbing the Company Ladder
New truck drivers should also expect to have to climb the company ladder just like they would in any other industry. Trucking is no different in that there are some assignments less desirable than others. Those assignments do not go to veteran truckers with decades under their belts. They are given to the new drivers who have not yet earned the same level of respect.
New truck drivers willing to put in their time and work as hard as possible will find that climbing the company ladder is very possible. They can go on to become driver trainers who earn more money yet still enjoy time on the road. In some companies, drivers can continue to climb the ladder to become CDL school trainers, dispatchers, and even management.
Becoming a Good Coworker
Perhaps the most surprising thing new truck drivers learn fresh out of CDL school is the need to be a good coworker. This is largely due to the fact that truck driving is seen as independent work. It is, but a driver still has to work with dispatchers, management, and office staff in order to serve customers.
The new CDL holder who has trouble being a good coworker will find his or her time as a truck driver miserable. If there is one career that requires teamwork at every level, it is trucking. The sooner a new driver can learn to be a good coworker, the smoother things will go during those first few weeks and months.
There is a lot to learn about trucking after CDL school concludes. Yes, truck driving is about more than just traveling the country.