How to Become a Truck Driver
We’re often asked, “How does somebody become a truck driver?” which is usually followed by questions about a truck driver’s salary, lifestyle, job requirements, job availability, how to get licensed, etc. Below you’ll find the answers to the most commonly asked questions about being a truck driver.
What are the job requirements for becoming a truck driver?
To become a professional truck driver you’ll need to:
- Be 18 years old to drive within one state or 21 years old to drive in multiple states. Because the vast majority of Halvor Lines jobs take drivers across state lines, we recruit drivers 21 and older.
- Obtain a valid Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). This is done either through military service or going to school for a CDL. You can also get one through Halvor’s paid CDL Training Program.
- Complete an over-the-road training program, like Halvor’s paid 5-week Finishing Program, available to CDL graduates.
- Pass a DOT physical and obtain a medical card.
- Pass a federally-mandated drug screening.
Are trucking jobs in demand?
Yes! Professional truck drivers are currently in high demand across the United States. Because of this, truckers can earn good salaries, especially considering the job requirements for becoming a truck driver. It is one of the few professions where you have the potential to earn a middle-class salary without a college degree. In fact, drivers who are also willing to work as trainers or drive as part of a team can often earn more than $100,000 a year.
What are the best trucking jobs?
One of the best things about trucking is that you get to define what’s “best.” For example:
- Some truck drivers want to make the most money possible, which can sometimes be $100K or more annually. Some ways to do this include team driving or becoming a driver trainer. Both of these options are available at Halvor Lines.
- Other truck drivers focus on home time. They want to be home every week, every few days, or even daily. Halvor Lines offers dozens of regional routes with consistent, predictable home time.
- Some drivers value passenger and pet programs, and Halvor Lines has one of the best in the country. If you are an experienced driver, pets and passengers are welcome in your truck from day one, and requirements are easy to meet. Recent trainees can have pets from day one and passengers after 90 days.
- Many drivers want to be treated as people, not numbers – they want to work with the best trucking company out there. Halvor Lines has been named a Best Fleet to Drive For nine years in a row, thanks in large part to nominations and survey feedback from our drivers.
What trucking jobs make the most money?
There isn’t one straight answer to this question, because there are many ways to make great money in trucking – and a lot of the choices are up to you. Choices include:
- The freight you choose to haul. At Halvor Lines, pay varies based on your division – van, deck van, refrigerated or flatbed. This is common for most trucking companies.
- Miles you drive per month. Much of your pay will be based on your miles on the road. The more you drive, the more you earn.
- Team driving. Drivers who chose to drive in a two-person team at Halvor Lines can expect to earn more than they would drive solo.
- Becoming a trainer. At Halvor Lines, sharing your time and expertise with new drivers can boost your income, depending on the number of trainees you work with each year.
- Opting into company bonus programs. Many trucking companies, including Halvor Lines, offer bonus pay for criteria ranging from fuel efficiency and safety to holiday driving. If you’re interested, contact one of our Halvor Lines recruiters, they would be happy to tell you more.
- Becoming an owner-operator. Drivers who opt to become their own boss often make more money – but they have the added responsibility of running their own business as well.
Can truck drivers make six figures ($100k or more) a year?
Yes. You can earn $100,000 or more a year as a truck driver. It generally takes a few years, and usually means that you have become a trainer or work as a team driver. Drivers who transition from company drivers to owner-operators often earn more than six figures annually.
What is the average truck driver salary?
Truck driving salaries vary widely in the United States, from just over $32,000 for a new company driver to more than $130,000 for owner-operators.*
At Halvor Lines, salaries range based on experience and type of freight hauled. Drivers who work as trainers or drive in teams also earn more. The best way to estimate your earnings is to talk with a recruiter.
How much do drivers make if they own their own truck?
Annual income for owner-operators – drivers who own their own trucks – varies widely, based on a number of factors, including the type of freight hauled and the number of miles driven each year.
As a rule, owner-operators often earn more than $100,000 a year. But they are also functioning like a small business, which means being responsible for everything from workers compensation insurance to truck repairs and other operating costs.
Is being a truck driver hard? Is being a truck driver worth it?
Just about any truck driver will tell you they work hard. And career truck drivers will tell you it’s worth it because they aren’t the type of people who want a 9-to-5 office job.
Truckers are generally independent people who enjoy their own company. They want to earn a good income, even without a high school diploma or college degree (though many truck drivers have both).
Turnover is high in this industry because trucking isn’t for everyone. But for the people who really enjoy it, and who like the company they work for, it becomes a lucrative, life-long career.
What hours does a truck driver work?
At Halvor Lines, you can expect to be driving seven (7) to nine (9) hours a day and be on the road five to five-and-a-half days each week. These are averages, since we can’t always control for factors like weather, road construction and traffic which can add time to a driver’s day.
There are also federal laws that regulate the number of hours truck drivers work in a day and over the course of a week. By law drivers must:
- Work no more than 14 hours in one 24-hour period.
- Drive no more than 11 hours in one 24-hour period.
- Work no more than 70 hours in one 168-hour period (one week).
These are the maximum hours a driver can work. Exact hours per day and per week can be less than this, varying based on routes driven, part-time vs. full-time work, and other factors.
Can truck drivers have passengers and/or pets?
Yes – it’s just a matter of finding a trucking company that allows one or both on the road. At Halvor Lines, pets and passengers are welcome in experienced drivers’ trucks from day one, and requirements are easy to meet. Recent trainees can have pets from day one and passengers after 90 days.
Who is the best trucking company to work for?
Many of our drivers say that Halvor Lines is the best trucking company to work for – and it shows in our driver turnover, which falls well below industry averages. We’re also proud that driver survey feedback has made Halvor Lines a Best Fleet to Drive For year after year.
Each year, the annual Truckload Carrier’s Association (TCA) awards its Best Fleet To Drive For designation to 20 carriers who go the extra mile to provide drivers with living wages, solid benefits, safe equipment, and more. The TCA takes a close look at all aspects of operations, and they survey company drivers to get their thoughts on how well the company meets driver needs.
Halvor Lines is proud to be a Best Fleet to Drive For recipient nine years in a row. If you are interested in a job with us, fill out our Truck Driver Jobs Inquiry form to talk to our recruiter.
Where can I get truck driver training?
Truck driver training is a two-step process:
First, you need to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), either through the military or with the help of a school or trucking affiliated training program, like Halvor’s paid CDL Training Program.
How To Become A Driver
OTR Finishing Program
“As a new driver, I loved having one specific dispatcher that I worked with…so you have the consistency of working with the same person to help you with all your questions.”