When it comes to career changes, few can be as significant as deciding to pursue your CDL Class A license for trucking jobs. Although many trucking jobs will require you to obtain your CDL before you will be considered for the role, some companies will actually allow you to obtain your CDL under their sponsorship and employment. Here's what you need to know about pursuing your first CDL A job.
The Test Is A Challenge
The CDL A license test is challenging. You'll have to pass this test before you will be able to work as a driver. Before you start exploring opportunities, decide if you're going to take the test first or if you're looking for a company that will put you through the training. If you work with a company that puts you through the training, be prepared to sign a retention agreement that commits you to the company's employ for a specific period of time to offset their investment in your driving education and testing. Either way, you need to prepare thoroughly before your test.
Stay Calm Behind The Wheel - Even if you make a mistake during your test, don't allow it to fluster you. If you have a habit of getting angry with yourself when you make mistakes or if you get impatient behind the wheel, you need to silence those thoughts when you start the exam. Maintain your composure and stay calm behind the wheel. Don't show any signs of being flustered, angry, frustrated, or impatient. Otherwise, the examiner may mark you down and you may not get your license.
Know What Is Truly Problematic - It's important that you understand exactly what the examiner will consider problematic and what they won't. Certain mistakes are no big deal during a CDL test, and others will cost you any chance of passing. For example, if you're turning wider than necessary, your examiner will likely dismiss that as novice handling. Grinding a gear isn't going to cause you to fail, either. However, if you don't signal your turns, if you rub the curb, or if you make any unsafe turns or maneuvers, those things are likely to cause you to fail automatically. Focus on safety, know the dimensions of the truck and trailer, and be safe on the road so that you have the best chance of passing your exam and securing your position as a CDL driver.
There Are All Sorts Of Job Options
As you start exploring the job listings for your new driving job, you will have some decisions to make. Truck driving jobs run the gamut from daily, local runs to over-the-road opportunities. Earning opportunities vary as well. Consider whether you want to be home on a regular basis or if you're happy to be out on the road for weeks at a time. You'll also want to consider the mileage rates, as pay per mile and pay per load will vary with each company and shipping contract. Weigh your options carefully to find the job that's right for you.