Inside Truck Driver Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Professional Driver: "The best thing about my career is that I can see the continental United States. In 4 years I've been everywhere but the Northeast portion. I also set my own hours based on the load I'm hauling and when it has to be there. There are two bad things about my job. Firstly, I'm away from home at least 2 weeks at a time, and sometimes as long as 6 weeks. Secondly, I live in a very small space (think smaller than a walk in closet) with another person. There's not a lot of room for personal items." (2011)

Tractor Trailer Driver: "The best parts of my job are the fact that I have seen the entire country many times and still have pieces of it to explore. The scenery never gets old or boring. I also act as my own boss while on the road despite that fact that I am employed for a company. I enjoy the freedom of choosing where I go and when I want to drive. I also get to decide when I'd like to a deliver a load close to home so that I can visit family. The downfall of the job would be not being able to see family and friends every day." (2011)

Truck Driver: "The best part of the job is driving down the road and watching the day break, the sun rise. The worst is being at the site of an accident or seeing one. I wish I could explain to drivers what they are doing wrong, before they get into trouble, because it's not pretty. I may go into driver training in the future so that I can share my knowledge with driver trainees of both automobiles and Class A vehicles. Getting there safely each and every day is the goal." (2010)

Truck Driver: "The best part of my job was not having someone looking over my shoulder all the time. I was not confined to an office or factory and got to spend lots of time outdoors. I got to meet a great many interesting people and see interesting places. There is a great deal of personal satisfaction operating the vehicle and delivering the load. The worst part of my job was having to deal with crazy drivers, especially on weekend or holiday nights." (2009)

Truck Driver: "The best parts of my job are that I'm not stuck in a building for the whole shift, my boss is not looking over my shoulder, I'm in the truck by myself, I don't drive in heavy traffic and the whole company shuts down for Easter and Christmas. The health benefits are excellent too. The worst part of my job is that the pay could be better. Clean-up is messy. In the winter the roads aren't always free from snow because we deliver during the night. Another chronic dilemma I face is getting sent out on a delivery to a place I don't know when the rest of the world is asleep, so there's nowhere I can stop and ask for directions. Losing control of the vehicle in poor road conditions is a potential danger also. The trucks don't move like your car and can tip over much more easily." (2009)

Commercial Driver: "I consider one of the best parts of my job being able to travel around to many new places where I new people all the time. Many times people are pleased to see me because I am bringing them things that they have been looking forward to receiving. Most freight is moved on pallets or "skids," but some has to be lifted and carried and that can be tiring and even dangerous if not done correctly." (2009)

Career Background

Truck Driver

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Tips

"Driving School Better Than On-The-Job Training...
1. Try and find an independent, accredited truck driving school, instead of signing on with a trucking company that will train you. You might get your schooling paid for by signing with a company, but if you quit or you're fired, you'll be responsible for the tuition and you might not be able to get a job elsewhere. 2. If you're going into trucking, devote a full year to driving. A lot of drivers give up in the first year, and that's how long it takes to really become comfortable with the job and to understand the responsibility you have. 3. Don't lease to own a truck until you have at least a year's experience driving, and you've been at your company for at least a year. Lots of companies push lease programs on people who won't stay in the industry more than a year." (Professional Driver; 2011)

"Talk To Drivers About Breaking Into The Business...
The first rule of advice would be to keep your license in good standing. Avoiding tickets and traffic violations will give you a better chance of becoming a professional driver. Also, as in most careers, avoid any legal troubles in order to enhance your chances of landing a secure and rewarding job. Research professional truck driving schools that prepare you to earn your class A CDL license. Many of these are even accredited and offer financial aid and job placement. Talk to truck drivers you may know or run into and ask them questions you have about getting into the industry and how they feel about their jobs." (Tractor Trailer Driver; 2011)

"Truck Driving School...
You must know that you like to drive, no matter how short or long the trip. If you like to sight see and observe as you drive, and you have no accidents, speeding tickets or moving infractions but have respect for the road and other drivers, that's a good start. Next, find a good class A tractor trailer school -- yes, school. once you're in class listen and ask as many questions as you can think of about driving. Ask for every day life experiences." (Truck Driver; 2010)

"Keep A Clean Driving Record...
1. A clean driving record is extremely important in obtaining a good paying position. It is something you must be constantly aware of. Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) citations can affect your ability to have a decent job. 2. Always make sure to do a vehicle check before take out a load. It is your responsibility to make sure your truck is in reasonable operating condition. 3. It is also important that you be able to pass a Department of Transportation physical and random drug tests." (Truck Driver; 2009)

"Long Hours...
There really isn't much required except to have a valid driver's license, a willingness to work the hours and an ability to drive in all types of weather." (Truck Driver; 2009)

"Truck Driving Basics...
1. Always drive safely and wear a seat belt. 2. Keep a clean driving record. 3. Always be on time and always be courteous and helpful to all your customers and associates. Waiting time is a part of the job so be patient in traffic and when you're delivering or picking up." (Commercial Driver; 2009)