Truck Driver Career Profile

Truck driver jobs are real career jobs, and the job skills are perhaps the most portable in the world. Truck driving is hard work with a lot of responsibility and it can also be an excellent career.

Education, training and licenses

In the US and elsewhere, commercial vehicle licenses are required to be a truck driver. The Bureau of Labor Statistics advises that some driver programs require minimal driving experience, and may not be sufficient qualification for employers. They advise checking with employers to ensure a driving program qualification is acceptable. The Professional Truck Driver Institute (PTDI) provides certification for drivers that meets industry standards.

The work environment

Drivers are on the move almost constantly, each job has to be well organized. Driving jobs can include a range of tasks which really have to be done well, and on time, they include:

  • Long haul freight: A truly demanding job, the iconic image of the trucking industry and the big rigs. This is the epitome of the public image of the truck driver's job, and it's an appropriate description of the realities of the professional truck driver's work. Truck drivers doing long hauls may transport materials and goods across the country. The job may require special load handling, including hazardous goods, flammable materials, explosives, very high value goods, and fragile or sensitive cargo facilities on board.
  •  Regional freight: This is a round the clock, deadline based, series of shifts, often interstate. The deadlines are often contract based, meaning pressure on drivers to meet those deadlines is a normal part of the job. This work may involve big rigs, but can include the more common hauler and large scale commercial distribution freight jobs, which use smaller vehicles. Major clients are retailers and industries.
  •  Local trucking jobs: These are mainly distribution jobs, but can include heavy transport like construction, industrial transportation and other major work. Local distribution can include commercial services like grocery deliveries, business deliveries, lower level agricultural freight, and business deliveries.

Regional and local trucking jobs often relate directly to materials from the original source distribution points. A long haul freight load from the source will be broken up and dispatched through regional and local distribution networks to the commercial outlets. This distribution methodology is cost based, using the most cost effective freight options. That distribution method is also the basis of commercial trucking contracts. Freight is an extremely competitive industry, and the demand for reliable services is always high.

The career environment

The distribution methods and the demand are also the basis of excellent business for truck drivers, either operating their own freight business, or as contractors. This is a really tough commercial environment, and contractors have to balance overheads with earning a living and paying their own bills. A successful trucking contractor is above all a good business person.

Working as a truck driver for an employer can also be the basis of a good career option. Experience and additional business qualifications can lead to excellent corporate management jobs in big national and international freight companies.