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What Is a CDL Truck Driver and How to Become One

CDL Truck Driver

What Is a CDL Truck Driver Job?

A CDL truck driver job is a position in the trucking industry that requires a commercial driver’s license (CDL). This means that you must already have their CDL, or be far along enough in the process of earning it that you will have it at the start of employment. CDL trucks require special licenses for operation because of their bulk. Drivers must be able to maneuver these trucks for miles at a time, often in heavy traffic. The driver must be alert and follow all roadway safety regulations. They are responsible for such duties as loading and unloading heavy cargo, tracking their mileage, fuel, toll expenses, ensuring delivery, and maintaining their trucks. CDL truck drivers must legally take breaks, as their most important duty is to practice safe driving habits.

How to Become a CDL Truck Driver

There are some important steps you need to take to start your career as a CDL Truck Driver. For starters, you can enroll in a community college program, private driving school, or reach out to a transportation company that offers training. Once you have completed training, go to your state’s motor vehicle agency to earn your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). You need to provide the standard licensing documents, pass a vision test, take a knowledge exam and perform a road skills test. You also need be 18 years old to drive within your state and 21 years old to drive interstate. Once you have received your CDL, you can start searching for companies that need your driving skills.

What Are Different Types of CDLs?

There are three categories of CDL licenses: Class A, Class B, and Class C. Different jobs require different licensures. For example, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles, a Class A license means that the driver can operate vehicles and tow materials over 10,000 pounds. The other two licenses are Class B and Class C, and all are differentiated by weight. Each state has its own requisites for earning these licenses.

Top 10 Skills Needed for CDL Truck Drivers

Do your skills line up with what hiring managers are looking for when they are reviewing resumes for a CDL Truck Driver position? ZipRecruiter scanned over 9,000,000 job postings and created a list of the most commonly required abilities for CDL Truck Drivers below.

Based on our assessment, mastering the skills below and listing them on your resume is critical in getting your CDL Truck Driver job application to the top of the stack.

  1. Truck Driver Experience
  2. CDL
  3. CDL A License
  4. Clean MVR
  5. Hooking
  6. Hauling
  7. Credit Check
  8. Reservation Management
  9. Tractor Trailer
  10. Loading Experience

Can you make a living as a Truck Driver?

Yes, you can make a living as a truck driver. On average, a truck driver in the United States can make anywhere from $40,000 to $80,000 per year. However, some truck drivers, particularly those who drive long distances or specialize in hauling hazardous materials, can earn over $100,000 per year.

CDL Truck Driver Job Description Sample

With this CDL Truck Driver job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for a CDL Truck Driver role.

Job Summary

Job Summary: We are seeking a skilled CDL Truck Driver to join our transportation team. As a CDL Truck Driver, you will be responsible for safely and efficiently transporting goods and materials to designated destinations. Your role will play a crucial part in ensuring the timely delivery of products and contributing to our company's reputation for reliability.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Operate commercial vehicles, including tractor-trailers, box trucks, or other specified vehicles, in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
  • Safely load and unload cargo, ensuring that it is properly secured to prevent damage during transit.
  • Plan routes and schedules to meet delivery deadlines while optimizing fuel efficiency and minimizing downtime.
  • Conduct pre-trip and post-trip inspections of the vehicle, reporting any maintenance or safety issues promptly.
  • Maintain accurate records of trips, including driver logs, mileage, and delivery receipts.
  • Adhere to all traffic laws and regulations, including hours-of-service requirements.
  • Communicate effectively with dispatchers and supervisors to provide updates on delivery status and address any issues or delays.
  • Assist with the loading and unloading of cargo, as needed, and ensure the accurate counting and inspection of freight.
  • Handle paperwork and documentation associated with shipments, including bills of lading and delivery confirmations.
  • Operate equipment, such as liftgates, pallet jacks, and hand trucks, to facilitate the loading and unloading process.
  • Maintain a clean and organized truck, inside and out, and perform routine vehicle maintenance tasks.
  • Ensure compliance with safety protocols, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and safe driving practices.
  • Provide exceptional customer service by interacting professionally with clients and handling inquiries or concerns.
  • Follow company policies and procedures related to driver safety, performance, and conduct.

Requirements and Qualifications

  • Valid Commercial Driver's License (CDL) with the appropriate class and endorsements (e.g., Class A, Class B, hazmat, tanker).
  • Minimum of [X] years of experience as a CDL truck driver.
  • Clean driving record with no history of major accidents or traffic violations.
  • Knowledge of and adherence to all federal and state transportation regulations.
  • Ability to operate and maintain commercial vehicles safely and effectively.
  • Strong attention to detail and organizational skills for managing paperwork and logs.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills for working with dispatchers, customers, and team members.
  • Physical fitness and the ability to lift and move heavy cargo as needed.
  • Familiarity with GPS navigation systems and route planning software.
  • Willingness to work flexible hours and adapt to changing schedules.
  • Commitment to safety, both for oneself and others on the road.
  • Professional and customer-oriented attitude.

CDL Truck Driver Job Description Sample

With this CDL Truck Driver job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for a CDL Truck Driver role.

Job Summary

Job Summary: We are seeking a skilled CDL Truck Driver to join our transportation team. As a CDL Truck Driver, you will be responsible for safely and efficiently transporting goods and materials to designated destinations. Your role will play a crucial part in ensuring the timely delivery of products and contributing to our company's reputation for reliability.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Operate commercial vehicles, including tractor-trailers, box trucks, or other specified vehicles, in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.
  • Safely load and unload cargo, ensuring that it is properly secured to prevent damage during transit.
  • Plan routes and schedules to meet delivery deadlines while optimizing fuel efficiency and minimizing downtime.
  • Conduct pre-trip and post-trip inspections of the vehicle, reporting any maintenance or safety issues promptly.
  • Maintain accurate records of trips, including driver logs, mileage, and delivery receipts.
  • Adhere to all traffic laws and regulations, including hours-of-service requirements.
  • Communicate effectively with dispatchers and supervisors to provide updates on delivery status and address any issues or delays.
  • Assist with the loading and unloading of cargo, as needed, and ensure the accurate counting and inspection of freight.
  • Handle paperwork and documentation associated with shipments, including bills of lading and delivery confirmations.
  • Operate equipment, such as liftgates, pallet jacks, and hand trucks, to facilitate the loading and unloading process.
  • Maintain a clean and organized truck, inside and out, and perform routine vehicle maintenance tasks.
  • Ensure compliance with safety protocols, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and safe driving practices.
  • Provide exceptional customer service by interacting professionally with clients and handling inquiries or concerns.
  • Follow company policies and procedures related to driver safety, performance, and conduct.

Requirements and Qualifications

  • Valid Commercial Driver's License (CDL) with the appropriate class and endorsements (e.g., Class A, Class B, hazmat, tanker).
  • Minimum of [X] years of experience as a CDL truck driver.
  • Clean driving record with no history of major accidents or traffic violations.
  • Knowledge of and adherence to all federal and state transportation regulations.
  • Ability to operate and maintain commercial vehicles safely and effectively.
  • Strong attention to detail and organizational skills for managing paperwork and logs.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills for working with dispatchers, customers, and team members.
  • Physical fitness and the ability to lift and move heavy cargo as needed.
  • Familiarity with GPS navigation systems and route planning software.
  • Willingness to work flexible hours and adapt to changing schedules.
  • Commitment to safety, both for oneself and others on the road.
  • Professional and customer-oriented attitude.