How to Become a Truck Driver: Requirements and Steps to Take

Are you someone who thrives on the open road, enjoying the freedom of long hours of driving and exploring new destinations? If so, a career as a truck driver might be the perfect fit for you. Being a truck driver is not just a job; it’s a lifestyle that comes with its own unique sense of community and adventure.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know about becoming a truck driver, from the requirements and training to the earning potential and benefits.

What is a Truck Driver?

Truck drivers are professional drivers who transport goods using semi-trucks and eighteen-wheelers. Their responsibilities can vary, from moving raw materials and finished products to even transporting live animals. Depending on the type of cargo they handle, truck drivers may be required to obtain different licenses and certifications.

While some truck drivers work for large companies like Schneider or UPS, many others opt to become owner-operators, running their own trucks and determining their own work hours.

Salary Ranges for Truck Drivers

The pay for truck drivers can vary significantly depending on their experience and job type. Here are some common truck driver jobs with salary ranges to give you insight into the earning potential:

  1. Solo Truck Driver: This represents the largest segment of the truck driver workforce, with salaries ranging from $45,000 to $50,000 per year.
  2. Driver Trainer: Experienced drivers who prefer to stay closer to home may choose this career path, with an average salary of around $70,000 per year.
  3. Team Driver: By driving in pairs and alternating shifts, team drivers ensure the truck keeps moving. The salary range for this line of work is $125,000 to $150,000 per year.
  4. Owner-Operator: These drivers own their own equipment and work directly with clients, enjoying higher earning potential. On average, owner-operators earn over $100,000 per year.

It’s worth noting that truck drivers employed by large companies may also be eligible for bonuses or holiday pay, which are not included in the salaries mentioned above.

How to Become a Truck Driver

Before being hired as a truck driver, there are some preliminary steps you’ll need to take:

  1. Obtain a valid state driver’s license: A current and active driver’s license is a basic requirement for all truck drivers.
  2. Education: Many employers require at least a GED or high school diploma.
  3. Pass a physical exam: You’ll need to undergo a physical exam conducted by a medical examiner listed in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) National Registry.
  4. Earn a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL): Enroll in CDL classes at a reputable truck driving school to learn the skills necessary for the job.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you’ll be ready to hit the road and embark on your career as a truck driver.

Advanced Training and Certifications

If you’re looking to maximize your earning potential as a truck driver, you may want to consider pursuing additional training and certifications. Here are some of the most common certifications that can help you boost your career:

  • Double/Triple Trailer Driver
  • Tanker Trucking

By obtaining these certifications, you can demonstrate your expertise and increase your opportunities for higher-paying jobs within the industry.


For those who are drawn to a life on the road, becoming a truck driver can prove to be a logical and rewarding career choice. While it may involve challenging work, it also offers a flexible schedule and a comfortable salary.

Whether you choose to work for a large company or become an owner-operator, the trucking industry provides ample opportunities for those with a passion for driving and a desire to explore the open road. So, if you’re ready for a career that embodies both a job and a lifestyle, consider becoming a truck driver.

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