Why Now is The Best Time To Become a Truck Driver
Every time you hit the road, chances are you’ll see plenty of long-haul trucks — many of them from out of state. You’ll see trailers branded with logos from well-known trucking companies, such as Schneider, Swift, Old Dominion, J.B. Hunt, Marten and CR England. These industry heavyweights employ thousands of truck drivers who deliver loads to large companies and big-box stores, such as Walmart and Target, across the country.
Trucking is the backbone of the US economy. Without truck drivers, store shelves would be empty and online orders would go unfulfilled. In fact, most grocery stores would run out of food in just three days if long-haul truck deliveries were stopped.
Our Commitment and Responsibility
At American Truck Driving School, we recognize the value of training and equipping drivers to support the US economy and to ensure consumers have access to the goods and groceries they need. Though COVID-19 has impacted and slowed many industries, trucking is still going strong. And so are we. We’ve taken the necessary steps to protect employees and our students as we continue to train and instruct students.
Why Trucking and Why Now
We believe there is no better time than the present to make a career switch and become a truck driver. Because trucking is integral to the US economy, truck drivers will always have many job opportunities. In addition, truck drivers get to travel across the country and take in the stunning scenery, from the Sierra Nevadas to the hills of eastern Oregon and the California Coast.
Truck drivers have the freedom and flexibility in choosing which loads to take and what time to hit the road. In addition to these perks, truck drivers are part of a community of drivers passionate about living on the road.
The Trucking Industry is HUGE
Trucking is a serious business and the following facts will show just how critical trucking really is.
The US trucking industry is worth about $700 billion.
- That’s how much it would cost to buy every American gas for the next 515 days.
In 2017, the American trucking industry had revenues higher than the GDP of more than 150 nations.
- If trucking were a country, it would have ranked 33rd in GDP that year.
Nearly 6% of all full-time jobs in America are related to trucking.
- In 2018, an estimated 7.4 million people were employed by the trucking industry.
Walmart employs more than 8,600 truck drivers, who earn an average annual salary of nearly $88,000.
- Amazon is another retailer expanding their logistics business and hiring truck drivers.
In 2017, 10.8 billion tons of freight was moved by trucks.
- That’s the equivalent of 30 pounds worth of goods for every man, woman and child in the US.
Trucks move more than 70% of all goods transported in the US.
- This is more than what is carried by trains, boats and planes.
More than 40% of all US trucking jobs are held by minorities.
- This is compared to minorities holding just 22% of jobs in the US.
The average professional long-haul trucker drives more than 100,000 miles per year.
- This is compared to the 13,500 miles driven by the average US driver in one year.
The Fascinating History of Truck Driving in the US
Trucking has gone a long way since its humble beginnings in the early 20th century. In the early 1900s, truck drivers basically drove motorized wagons — no, not anywhere near as glamorous as today’s semis. Roads were horrible (as in, much worse than they are today), and trucks had solid rubber tires that made driving very rough and slow. Pneumatic, or air-filled tires were only introduced in 1920, which allowed faster speeds and a smoother ride.
There were about 10,000 trucks across the US in 1912, compared to the roughly 3.5 million on the road today. The first cross-country truck delivery, in 1916, went from Seattle to New York City and took 31 days.
Trucks were also used extensively by the military during WWI. The construction of the Interstate Highway System during the late 1950s and 1960s helped link major cities across the country and accelerate the expansion of trucking. And diesel fuel was only 14.9 cents per gallon.
Check out this article to learn more about the history of trucking in the US.
Perks of Being a Truck Driver
If you’re tired of being micromanaged and criticized for everything you do in your hourly job, then you need a job with more independence and flexibility. Unlike traditional hourly jobs, truck drivers can choose to drive during the day or at night. Depending on the employer, some truck drivers have the freedom to decide when to start their shift. If you don’t feel like working Saturdays, then feel free to take that day off, just as long as you deliver your load on time.
Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
Movies tend to glamorize just about everything. But there is one thing the movies will never be able to truly capture on camera, and that is the beauty of nature.
Truck drivers in the US get to take in the stunning scenery across 48 (or 49) states. A few places that are guaranteed to make your jaw drop include Highway 101 in California, Highway 1 up the Pacific Coast and Seward Highway in Alaska. On the drive you’ll see snow-covered mountains, a beautiful blue ocean and countryside full of wildlife.
Then there’s Colorado’s San Juan Byway, I-70 through Utah and Colorado in the summertime, the Gulf of Mexico, West Virginia’s landscapes, and the mountain peaks, meadows and national forests of Montana and Idaho. You’d have to drive those routes to see how beautiful the scenery really is — pictures won’t do any justice.
Only the Coolest Rigs
Top trucking brands consult with experienced truckers to design trucks that are well-built, stylish and reliable. We’re talking about brands like Kenworth, Peterbilt, Freightliner and Mack — the main brands of trucks out on the road.
With a Kenworth truck, you’ll get style, class, quality and reliability. A Freightliner truck offers innovative and fuel efficient design at a reasonable price.
Check out this guide to Semi Trucks.
Making the Switch
It’s not too late to make a career switch and become a truck driver. In fact, many truck drivers begin their career in their 40s and 50s. Anyone can become a truck driver, from retired airline captains, to business owners tired of being cooped up in an office.
The first step to making the switch is going to truck driving school to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL), which is required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and state transportation departments. At American Truck Driving School, aspiring truck drivers can receive training to obtain a variety of licenses, including, but not limited to:
- Class A
- Class A w/ Passenger Endorsement
- Class B
- Class B w/ Passenger Endorsement
- All Endorsements
Students are supported every step of the way, from the Department of Transportation (DOT) physical and written test, to the DMV driving test.
Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or hard-nosed driving veteran looking to get back in the industry, we can accommodate any need! Contact one of our locations for more information on a program that is right for you!