Commercial truck drivers are a key cog in the national economy, facilitating the delivery and distribution of goods, supplies and equipment to population centers across the country. One of the most attractive features of a career as an over-the-road (OTR) truck driver is stability — there is always a need for their services, regardless of prevailing economic conditions.
Freight companies have become increasingly competitive in their bids to attract new recruits. Many are now offering signing bonuses, and truck drivers who have recently graduated from a training program may also qualify for tuition reimbursements. These trends indicate a strong demand for commercial truck drivers, something that’s confirmed by labor statistics and industry-specific demographic trends.
Pay & Job Growth for Commercial Truck Drivers
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics highlights positive trends for commercial truck drivers, as well as strong prospects for the future. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, heavy truck and tractor-trailer drivers earned a median annual income of just under $38,200 per year, though actual earnings depend on the rates offered by employers and the length and duration of freight trips. This works out to an average of about $18 to $19 per hour, which is above-average for work that doesn’t require advanced postsecondary education.
The BLS also predicts 11% growth in the nationwide demand for commercial truck drivers between 2012 and 2022. This translates into about 130,000 new jobs during that time period, and when you consider these statistics alongside current demographic trends, you’ll see that a career as a commercial truck driver could be an excellent choice if you’re looking for stability and job security.
Demographic Trends in the OTR Freight Industry Indicate Opportunity for New Drivers
According to a 2013 article published by Bloomberg, the average age of an OTR commercial truck driver in the United States is 55. With the current ranks drawing closer to retirement age, long-haul freight companies across the country are doing everything they can to fill current job vacancies and attract more new drivers to the profession. That’s a major part of the reason they have begun to offer the aforementioned perks like signing bonuses and tuition reimbursement.
The Bloomberg article also notes that just a slight uptick in nationwide freight volumes can be enough to create major demand for new truck drivers. With the American economy showing strong signs of recovered health, new commercial truck drivers will be needed in large numbers. Given that the current workforce is aging and there aren’t enough new drivers coming into the industry to replace those leaving it, current career prospects are excellent.
Commercial Truck Drivers: Duties and Responsibilities
If you’re interested in a career as a commercial truck driver, you’ll want to take the time to develop a thorough understanding of the full duties and responsibilities that come with the job. Commercial truck drivers do a lot more than drive; they also play an active role in the safety and proper maintenance of their vehicles and cargo, and participate in route planning. This requires advanced problem-solving skills, as truck drivers may need to circumvent construction zones, areas with very high traffic volumes, and roads and streets where large vehicles are not permitted.
In order to legally operate a large freight truck, you must first earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL). During this process, you will learn how to safely handle a large vehicle in a full range of driving conditions and situations, all while honing your road safety skills and your ability to anticipate and avoid challenges and hazards.
It is essential to choose a school with a strong reputation within the freight industry, as your educational background can have a major impact on your job prospects. The best schools also support graduates by linking them to job opportunities. As you do your background research, be sure to ask about the percentage of graduates who go on to find gainful employment within one year of completing the program. The higher this percentage is, the better your chances of earning a positive return on your educational investment.
Earn Your Credentials at ATI & Become a Truck Driver!
The Advanced Technology offers accredited training programs for commercial truck drivers in a complete range of fields, including local, regional and long-distance OTR. We offer small class sizes led by world-class instructors, with links to thousands of potential employers. At ATI, you can train quickly for your new career, with tuition reimbursement and financing plans available.
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