For those considering a new career in truck driving, the world of Over-The-Road (OTR) trucking holds immense promise. While it involves long hours on the road, the opportunity to discover new places is a significant draw. Before you make the leap, however, understanding the requirements and demands of this profession is crucial to ensuring a successful journey.
What is an OTR Truck Driver?
An OTR truck driver is responsible for transporting goods over long distances, typically traveling between different cities or even across state lines. These commercial truck drivers transport a wide range of products and materials and play a vital role in the supply chain, ensuring that goods are delivered safely and on time to their intended destinations. OTR truck drivers often spend extended periods of time away from home, living on the road and making deliveries according to a predetermined schedule. They must possess a strong sense of responsibility to maintain the integrity of the cargo and ensure timely deliveries.
Basic Requirements To Become a Professional Truck Driver
To embark on this new career, the Department of Transportation (DOT) requires all professional truck drivers who drive across state lines to be at least 21 years old. You can obtain a CDL at the age of 18, but you will be limited to driving intrastate, and most trucking companies only hire CDL holders who are 21 years old and older.
Background checks are common during the hiring process, with a clean driving record and solid work history being essential factors. It’s worth familiarizing yourself with your state’s DMV regulations governing commercial driving.
Acquiring a CDL is the next pivotal step. You can receive this license by enrolling in Skinner Driven’s CDL Training Program where you will get the necessary training and experience to be a successful commercial truck driver. It’s important to understand that getting a CDL is not just about being able to operate a truck; being a truck driver is a serious commitment that requires technical, practical, mechanical, and interpersonal skills.
Having the support of family and close friends is crucial, given the dedication and commitment required for the OTR role. Extended periods away from home can be challenging, but the chance to explore new places is a unique perk of this career.
The job’s tight deadlines and long hours can be physically and mentally taxing. Before embarking on this career path, you need to assess your stamina and resilience to handle these demands.
Effective communication skills are a must. As you’ll often be alone on the road, the ability to keep yourself engaged and focused is vital. Interactions with people at truck stops, shippers, and receivers necessitate good communication while loading and unloading cargo require excellent customer service skills.
A Fulfilling Career Path
Being an OTR truck driver is not an easy job, but it is a fulfilling career choice for many people. To succeed, you’ll need the necessary skills, commitment, and personality traits. If the idea of exploring the country while on the road resonates with you, consider a career as an OTR truck driver. With the industry’s increasing demand, numerous opportunities await to launch a rewarding career in trucking. If joining the Skinner team as an OTR driver interests you, explore our career openings here to get started!