In 2023, drivers are still in high demand. Even with the economy slowing down, there are more truck driving jobs than there are truckers. So if you’re thinking about building a high-demand, lucrative career in a job where you can travel the country and learn a lot about how the infrastructure of our country works – read on!
Is a career in trucking right for you?
In America, trucks move roughly 72.5% of our nation’s freight by weight.
Truck drivers are essential to our people and economy.
The average person might not think about how trucks affect their daily lives. But without drivers to haul these goods, our grocery stores would have empty shelves, hospitals wouldn’t have medicine or basic supplies, businesses wouldn’t be able to survive, and the entire economy would suffer.
If you’ve ever wondered ‘should I become a truck driver,’ it can be an extremely rewarding and lucrative career — but like any other job, there are pros and cons to consider when making that decision. While the benefits can be excellent, like travel, freedom, high pay, and more, we’ll also outline some of the cons as well to help you make a more informed, well-rounded decision. Read on to discover the advantages and disadvantages of the trucking industry.
(Think that being a truck driver is for you? Check out our tips on how to get started)
Why Become a Truck Driver
Let’s start by looking at the current state of the industry.
According to the United States Census Bureau, driving large tractor-trailers or delivery trucks is one of the largest occupations in the United States, with more than 3.5 million truck drivers.
It’s also a field dominated by men, who hold more than 90% of truck driving jobs.
However, the new generation of truck drivers is starting to look different. More and more new drivers under the age of 35 are women, Hispanic, and more educated than their older counterparts. They’re also more likely to be high school graduates and have some college education. This positive change in the new generation of drivers is helping to fight negative truck driver stigmas.
Due to the ongoing shortage of long-haul drivers, it’s a great time to get into the industry. American Trucking Associations estimates that the industry needs 80,000 more drivers. That could be the same or worse next year, with those estimates expected to surpass 160,000 by 2030.
Check out our personality quiz, “Should I become a truck driver?”
Being a truck driver pros and cons
Pros of being a truck driver
Is truck driving a good career choice? There are many positive reasons to become a truck driver.
If you enjoy driving, have a safe driving record, and don’t mind being on the road for extended periods of time, truck driving could be an amazing career for you.
One thing that draws people to a truck driving career is the competitive salary. Trucking is one of the highest-paying careers that doesn’t require a college degree. Additionally, the longer you stay with a company, the more you’ll be rewarded with bonuses and pay increases for safe driving records and performance.
Another advantage of being a trucker is the opportunity to travel.
Long-haul drivers get to drive across the country. You’ll see new cities, landscapes, and famous American landmarks. Even though you won’t be able to share these moments with loved ones, it’s still a rare experience to be able to travel to so many places.
Truck drivers also love the freedom a trucking career comes with. Trucking is perfect for people who don’t want the traditional 9-5 life and sitting at a desk all day.
Truck drivers have a lot of freedom while on the road. You can listen to music, radio, books, and podcasts or be alone with your thoughts. You also have the opportunity to make real-time decisions on your own without anyone telling you what to do.
Your responsibility is to get your haul to its destination on time, but how you get there is totally up to you.
Cons of Being a Truck Driver
With all those pros, is being a truck driver worth it?
As with everything, there are some disadvantages. To be a truck driver, you’ll first need to get your CDL license. This could cost as much as $7,000. So even with high pay for an entry-level position, an upfront cost may take you some time to pay off.
However, if you’d like to avoid his out-of-pocket cost, some trucking companies will actually pay for your CDL license as part of your training. When applying for jobs, this is usually listed right on the website or job listing.
Another con many truckers struggle with is that time on the road can be lonely. Some people enjoy alone time, but if you’re going to be a truck driver, you must be prepared for days or even weeks. If you have a family, friends, or loved ones at home — you may miss some soccer games, birthdays, and holidays. Of course, technology and video chats can help keep you connected to your loved ones while you’re on the road, but there’s no substitute for seeing them in real life.
Pros and Cons of Being a Female Truck Driver
As mentioned above, the trucking industry is a male-dominated field. But that is changing.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women make up about 10% of truck drivers, and that number is growing every year. This is exciting news for the industry as the labor shortage continues to affect carriers across the country.
Not only do women bring new perspectives to the industry — but they also tend to be better at multi-tasking, more detail-oriented, and safer drivers.
The pros of being a female truck driver are similar to any other truck driver. You’ll find more freedom on the road, have the opportunity to see new places, and make a decent salary to support your family.
However, the cons are slightly different. Because of the lack of diversity in the industry, female drivers lack female mentors, which is an integral part of any budding career.
Women also face technical issues. You may be wondering ‘is it hard to drive a truck’? The answer is, sometimes yes. Trucks are traditionally designed for large men. Some women, notably shorter women, can have difficulty reaching the pedals.
However, many companies are working toward diversifying their truck design to accommodate this progressive shift in the workforce.
Is Truck Driving a Good Career Choice?
Why become a truck driver?
In general, truck driving has greater job security than other fields. America will always rely on trucks to haul goods, which means there will always be a need for truck drivers. As more people want to work behind a desk, that means higher pay for the people who want to drive.
As the demand increases, so does the demand for safe, reliable drivers. After some training, a few years on the road, and a proven safety record, you could have a secure job in the industry for the rest of your life.
Another great thing about the industry is that there are other pathways to success. Just like any other company, there are many roles within a company you could explore. If truck driving starts to become too burdensome, you could explore different roles like dispatch, recruiting, or management.
Becoming a truck driver certainly isn’t the right career for everyone, but there are a lot of positives to consider if you’re thinking about it. If job security, freedom, high pay, and travel appeal to you, it might be a great time to start looking into a local CDL licensing course or companies that provide CDL training. In as little as 6-8 weeks, you could be well on your way to the career of your dreams. If you were on the fence about a career in trucking, we hope this article helped you make an informed decision.