Considering the highs and lows of becoming a commercial truck driver?! Let’s debunk some myths about whether truck driving is even a viable career option, trucking schools, and more to help you navigate your choices.
Check out these 8 Truck Driving Myths:
Myth 1: Trucking isn’t for me.
Stereotypes still thrive in bygone media representations of truck drivers as middle-aged men (e.g., 70s and 80s movies Smokey and the Bandit, Convoy, and Over the Top), but the truth is truck driving is growing more diverse. Social media channels, such as Maurice Bey’s YouTube Channel The Helpful Trucker and Clarissa Rankin on TikTok, help breakthrough these stereotypes by making truck driving more accessible to all. Here are the facts, women entering the field is up 2% as well as professionals who identify as Black or African American, Asian, and Hispanic are up 0.65%, 0.73%, and 1.91% respectively over the last decade.
Myth 2: Truck Driving is no longer a good career option.
Trucking is a great way to make a living now more than ever! Depending on where you live, your home time, and the type of lane you drive, you can earn $70,000-$100,000 in your first year. Even without the past year’s events shaking all industries, driver capacity and driver retention has been a top priority in the trucking industry. As carriers compete for a driver’s attention, it has created an incredible market for drivers to find jobs with top pay, benefits, and great home time.
Myth 3: Trucking is only for uneducated workers.
20% of professional truck drivers have a bachelor’s degree and another 21% have an associate’s degree. Here’s another fact: 1 out of 10 professional truck drivers are veterans (double the rate of workers in general). Important skills developed in other fields, like communication, critical thinking, organization, leadership, and customer service, easily translate into truck driving.
Myth 4: There’s no way I could ever back up a semi with a trailer.
You can. We tested it! We selected several office personnel to learn how to back up a truck on our closed course. Two men and two women of varying degrees of driving skills (none had ever been behind a semi-tractor trailer). Our dedicated Master Driver trainers were able to coach our office personnel within 5 minutes to successfully back up a semi-tractor trailer. If they can do it, so can you!
Myth 5: I don’t need to go to a trucking school.
Technically, you can take the test for your CDL without going to school, but you are strongly – in no uncertain terms – advised against it. A short explainer: Insurance rates and Safety. Insurance premiums have been steadily climbing in the industry for the past decade and insurance carriers may prevent a trucking company from hiring new CDL holders if they did not attend an accredited or certified training school. Attending an accredited or certified training school for a minimum of 160 hours will set you up for success to be hired on by a carrier that will be able to provide you with a better work-life balance and competitive pay. (Check out these resources: What to Look for in a CDL School & Deciding on a School)
Myth 6: I can’t afford trucking school.
You have options! The upfront cost of a trucking school can feel steep (the average cost of a CDL trucking school is between $3,000 and $7,000), but the rewards are exponential. Options: (1) Many schools partner with carriers who will sponsor your training with a contractual agreement for job placement with the carrier after completion of the program. (2) Carriers may have a program for you to attain your CDL in-house or will sponsor you through an approved program. Heads up: Sponsorships will commonly be tied to a contract with the carrier and be deducted from your paycheck after you’ve pulled your first load. Ask for the finer print, such as the amount and duration of the deductions, on the contract before you sign.
Myth 7: I can’t take time off to attend school.
More options! As driver capacity continues to be tight in the U.S., many carriers offer a paid weekly stipend as well as cover travel, meals, and housing during your training. Be sure to ask ahead of time what is covered as well as if you’ll get your own room (we were surprised to hear other carriers were not offering private housing as well as a car rental for candidates).
Myth 8: Team Driving is the same as training.
No. You cannot be properly coached while the other driver is asleep in the sleeper berth. Look for 1:1 training that will help coach, assess, correct, and mentor you through this very important stage in your truck driving career.
Finding the Right Path for You
Paper Transport offers various programs to successfully prepare new Class A CDL drivers. For more information about Paper Transport’s careers and how we can help you get the most out of your trucking career, contact us today at 855-784-5627 or click here to learn more.