If you’re wondering whether trucking is the right career for you, you’ll want to consider the pros and cons of the job.
The transportation industry is currently in dire need of qualified commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. Never has there been a more opportune time to become a truck driver. To overcome enormous freight demands, an abundance of stable and high-quality job opportunities for truck drivers are available throughout the country.
Before deciding to invest valuable time and money in a CMV training program and making a move to secure a commercial driver’s license (CDL), you must give careful consideration before embarking on a new career in trucking. This blog post will attempt to help you answer the question, “should I become a truck driver?”
When pursuing a career in truck driving, it is essential to decide which type of CMV operator you want to be. After obtaining your CDL, there will be several truck driver positions available to you and each of these jobs has its benefits and drawbacks. It will ultimately help you determine if being a truck driver is right for you.
Here are the most common truck driver jobs, and the pros and cons of each:
The Over the Road Trucker (OTR)
An OTR position requires the CMV driver to haul freight over long distances and requires that the trucker spend three to four weeks on the road at a time, driving all across North America. OTR drivers haul all different types of loads, from heavy freight and machinery to construction materials.
Pros: OTR drivers can log more miles and earn more money than other truck drivers. The average OTR trucker makes around $66,000 a year but can make as much as $88,000 or more. It is an excellent position for truckers who dream of being out on the open road and traveling the country.
Cons: OTR drivers spend a lot of time away from their homes and family. Plus, life on the road isn’t easy. Drivers almost always sleep in their truck and shower, use the bathroom, do their laundry, and essentially live at truck stops and rest areas. Some drivers enjoy this lifestyle, however—especially those who consider themselves to be loners.
The Regional Trucker
A regional trucker moves goods and materials across a specific part of the country, typically within a 1,000-mile radius. Being a regional CMV driver isn’t all that different from an OTR trucker in that the trucker drives for a set amount of time over long distances and then is home for a certain number of days. Though usually, the regional trucker’s schedule has smaller intervals than the OTR driver’s schedule.
Pros: Although a regional truck driver lives a similar lifestyle to the OTR driver, the job is not nearly as demanding. For those individuals who don’t want to be away from home for extended periods or are in committed relationships, a regional position is preferable because the schedules typically coincide with weekends, allowing them to work during the weekend and enjoy weekends off.
Cons: Regional drivers generally make less than OTR drivers, but not always. The pay scale often depends on the company, the years of experience that the driver has under their belt, and job benefits. A regional trucker also faces the same types of stress as an OTR trucker, being out on the road for an extended period.
The Local Trucker
Local truckers typically drive along routes within a 200-mile radius and work eight to ten-hour days.
Pros: Local CMV jobs are ideal for truckers with families because they can be home every night after work. The most obvious benefit is that, unlike OTR and regional drivers, local truckers don’t have to deal with the stress of living on the road.
Cons: Local trucking isn’t without its stressors, however. In some cases, local trucking can be more stressful than OTR or regional trucking. Local truckers must navigate smaller roads, back into tight loading areas more often, and deal with more driving distractions. Many companies require that local drivers have at least one year of CMV driving experience.
Is truck driving the right career for me?
A career in trucking does not mean you have to travel across the country and constantly be away from your family. Local and regional truckers make up the vast majority of the trucking industry. There are several major perks as well including flexible schedules, competitive pay, and opportunities for growth.
Now that you know the different types of truck driving career choices available, you can make an informed decision on which one, if any, may be right for you.