Truck driving is a career that encompasses many types of driving jobs and industries, but the most common job type is over the road tractor trailer driver, for which a Class-A CDL license is necessary. The Class-A CDL is needed for “any driver operating a vehicle and trailer with a combined weight of more than 26,001 pounds is required to have a Class A CDL, provided that the trailer’s Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) exceeds 10,000 pounds.”
Class-A CDL Driver Responsibilities
A Class-A tractor trailer driver is responsible for their truck and the load on the attached trailer. The job description of a Class-A driver will vary by position but here is a list of common duties that can be expected.
- Drive and operate trucks either owned by the driver or a trucking company
- Read location and road maps
- Pick up goods and materials, verify loads for accuracy, and deliver them as instructed
- Load and unload cargo
- Basic truck maintenance
- Participate in educational opportunities and professional networking opportunities
- Plan and manage distribution to manufacturing plants or retail and distribution centers
- Inspect truck for mechanical and safety issues before each trip
- Perform preventative maintenance
- Plan best route options
- Plan and meet delivery schedules
- Document and log your work expenses
- Report defects, accidents or violations
- Follow all DOT regulations
Class-A CDL Driver Requirements
The requirements for working as a trucker vary to a certain degree, but the requirements to earn your CDL are the same everywhere.
- Provide a picture ID
- Provide proof of citizenship
- Pass a physical exam
- Read and speak English fluently
- Pass a written exam
- Pass a hands-on skills and road test
- Meet the minimum age (the minimum age is 18 or 21, depending on the state)
What You’ll Earn and Where You’ll Work
Truck driving has long been a career that pays higher-than-average wages. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2022, truck drivers earned an average of $53,090, with the top 10 percent making $75,220. Demand for truck drivers is expected to steadily increase 4 percent by 2031.
The highest levels of employment for truck drivers were in the transportation industry, merchant wholesalers, and the warehousing and storage industry. In 2022, the industries paying truck drivers the most were electric power generation, telecommunications, and support activities for water transportation.
The top-paying states for truck drivers in 2022 were: Nebraska ($63,560), Washington ($60,210), and Alaska ($59,510).
Training and Education
A truck driver training program has one of the shortest time frames between your first day in the classroom and graduation day. Accelerated programs can be completed in a few as three weeks with part-time options running as few as twelve weeks. So basically it takes from 1 to 3 months to complete your CDL program.
For Class-A CDL training opportunities in your area, as well as tips, tricks and more about your training, visit CDL Training Today. If you’re looking for a job or looking to move to a different job, DriveWave is your top resource for hiring events, local job listings, and insider information on making the most of your trucking career.
Reference and more reading: