Trucking requires no specialized skills and no lengthy education. You can start a trucking career with less than two months of training, and your wages can go up to six figures in less than five years. So why exactly are people afraid of starting a career in trucking — and should you opt for one?
One of the most significant factors driving potential truckers away from the industry is fear. The media has painted a future where trucking jobs will be obsolete, the position taken over by automated trucks that run the routes on their own. However, even the developers of the technology have stated that automated vehicles will still need human drivers.
Like a plane’s autopilot, the onboard AI of an automated truck will only take over in long stretches of clear highway and will still require its human driver to make crucial decisions. Motorized vehicles are just on a glorified cruise control system that keeps them in the lane and maximizes their fuel consumption.
Truck drivers can get a bit of respite like airplane pilots, but they still need to grab the wheel during unforeseen circumstances or when the truck encounters other vehicles. Another focus of automated trucks is self-diagnosis, enabling easier maintenance and cutting the downtime for trucks. Industry insiders believe that automation will only increase the demand for truck drivers, but new drivers are becoming rare.
A Looming Cataclysmic Shortage
You will rarely see a young truck driver. The average age of truck drivers is 55, and a lot of them are close to reaching retirement age. The number of new drivers entering the industry is small, and most — if not all — trucking companies are short of a few drivers to fill their roster.
In just 5-10 years, most drivers will be retiring, leaving the industry with its biggest driver shortage. The trucking industry is taking serious measures to prevent this. Trucking wages are going up as companies vie for drivers, and even new drivers can expect salaries of over $50,000.
A little bit of experience and a clean (or more or less clean) driving record can earn you wages of over $80,000. Compounded with bonuses and other benefits, you could be making a six-figure salary in less than five years.
Getting on the Road
Getting a trucking job requires very little skill and training. A few weeks of driving school should get you your commercial driver’s license, and you might need another week or so in the company you want to join. Trucking companies are even sponsoring potential drivers, paying for their training, and even providing a weekly allowance.
Of course, if you don’t want to get tied to one company, you can pay for your training yourself (costing around $3,000-$7,000) and get a hefty signing bonus. You’ll need to be 21 to drive long-haul, but you can start at a lower wage if you’re a bit younger.
Trucking is one of the easiest ways to get that six-figure salary. All you need is a bit of driving skill, a little training, a feel for the road, a strong work ethic, and the ability to work long hours by yourself.