Looking for a new career? Consider becoming a truck driver

In recent years, between career fields that saw net position elimination and other industries that are stocked with an overabundance of job seekers and older employees staying in place longer, many people in the workforce have been looking at new and alternate career paths.

One industry with ample opportunities is truck driving, which offers a large number of open positions, on the job training and plenty of growth. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook, the tractor-trailer and heavy truck driving industry is forecast to see an 11 percent growth rate from 2012 through 2022. With median salaries of more than $38,000 annually, truck driving ranks fifth in terms of median pay among the top 20 careers expected to see the most growth during the decade.

The industry not only has room for growth and expansion, but also faces a current shortage of qualified and trained applicants. According to a recent report by Pennsylvania’s WJAC, there is a growing demand for new drivers to join the ranks behind the wheel. As the current field of experienced road warriors retires from the workforce, the pool of applicants available behind them to step up and take the open and expanding positions is rapidly diminishing, leaving a great opportunity for those new to the highway to step up into a big rig and new career.

Driving truck also offers a fairly short time period of required training to get started, making it a more accessible opportunity than some other new careers. To get a CDL, would-be truckers must complete a training class at a community or technical college or private driving school, which typically ranges from three to six months in length, according to the BLS report. Combined with on-the-job training, specific to a driver’s route, equipment, product to be hauled and other pertinent aspects of the role, new drivers can be on the road and hauling in as few as four to six months.

Truck drivers are needed across the country, from coast to coast and everywhere in between. Numerous routes and hauling demands are out there, giving those looking to get into driving ample opportunities to choose a job that allows them to explore the country from their seats on the open road for days or weeks at a time, or look for a local route that keeps them closer to home, family and friends.

America relies on truck drivers to keep store shelves stocked, warehouse inventories filled and businesses supplied. Consider joining the ranks of the millions of men and women whose work keeps the country working.