Becoming an Over-the-Road Truck Driver

Over-the-road (OTR) truckers transport freight across the country, often traveling coast-to-coast. These jobs are among the highest-paid in the trucking industry and you can earn more than $66,000 a year.* If you are interested in becoming an over-the-road truck driver, HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school) can help.

Here are the steps to becoming an OTR truck driver:

1. Determine Whether OTR Trucking is Right for You

As with any career decision, you should take some time to consider whether or not over-the-road truck driving is the right choice for you. If you enjoy the freedom of the open road and like working independently, trucking might be a great option. You will get to see more of the country while earning competitive pay. However, you should also be aware that over-the-road truck drivers typically spend three to four weeks at a time on hauls. It’s a good idea to talk to OTR drivers and discuss this career move with your family to determine whether it will be an ideal match for you. Keep in mind that there are other driving jobs that you can consider such as local deliveries or even highway maintenance.

2. Earn Your CDL

To drive a semi-truck, you need to earn a commercial driver’s license (CDL). This will require you to pass a written exam and a skills test. The written exam covers material from the CDL manual and is in a multiple-choice format. The skills test includes a pre-trip inspection, off-road control exercises, and actual driving. Attending a truck driving school is typically the best way to earn your license and most trucking companies prefer to hire CDL school graduates.

3. Choose a Trucking Company

After you earn your CDL, you can choose a company to work for. There are many factors to consider when deciding on a motor carrier such as pay, benefits, home time, and company culture. Additionally, this is when you will decide what type of freight you would like to haul. Many new over-the-road truck drivers operate dry vans or refrigerated trucks, but you may also be interested in flatbed trucking or another more specialized type of vehicle. Your long-term goals can help you narrow down your options. For example, if you want to become an owner-operator, you may want to consider companies that offer pathways to truck ownership. HDS truck driving school offers job placement assistance and can help you find a company that matches your goals and desires.

High-Quality Truck Driver Training in Tucson, AZ

At HDS truck driving school, you can learn from experienced instructors and start your career with the knowledge and skills you need to succeed. We are accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) and are also a member of the Commercial Vehicle Training Association (CVTA).

Start on the Road to a Trucking Career

To learn more about becoming an over-the-road truck driver, contact us today.

*Professional truck drivers earn a mean annual wage of $46,370. The top 10% of truck drivers make more than $66,840 per year according to the 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What is the Tanker Endorsement?

Earning your class A commercial driver’s license (CDL) allows you to drive most types of semi-trucks. However, there are some specialized vehicles that require additional certification. Tank trucks are one example of this and require the tanker endorsement, also called the “N” endorsement, to operate.

More information about the tank vehicle endorsement:

Vehicles that Require an “N” Endorsement

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets requirements for drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).  Under their regulations, a CDL holder needs an “N” endorsement to drive a tank vehicle. As outlined in §383.119 of the Code of Federal Regulations, a tank vehicle:  

  • Hauls gaseous material or liquid of any kind
  • Carries these fluids in one or multiple tanks with individual capacities greater than 119 gallons
  • Has a total gas or liquid volume of 1,000 gallons or more

This includes more traditional tanker vehicles (semi-trucks with an attached tank, such as fuel trucks) as well as dry vans that haul fluids and meet the other requirements. However, it does not include intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) or empty tanks.

Do You Need a Hazmat Endorsement?

In many cases, tanker trucks transport hazardous materials (hazmat). If this is the case, you will also need to obtain your hazmat endorsement. This combination is known as an “X” endorsement.

The Tanker Endorsement Knowledge Test

To earn your tanker endorsement, you will need to pass an additional portion of the CDL test. This covers material from section 8 of the CDL manual. You will take this exam at the same time as the standard written test.

The subsections included on the exam are:

Inspecting Tank Vehicles

All commercial vehicles need to be inspected before each haul to help ensure the safety of the driver, freight, and others on the road. There are special requirements to check for tank trucks. These include examining the tank and surroundings for leaks. Transporting liquid or gaseous material in a leaking tank is a crime and a serious safety issue. You will also need to check any special equipment before beginning your haul.

Driving Tankers

Driving a tank truck is different from driving a standard dry van tractor-trailer. To earn your tanker endorsement, you will need to understand how the high center of gravity of these vehicles and fluid movement can affect driving. You should also understand what baffles and bulkheads are and how they work.

Safe Driving Rules

To safely drive a tanker, you need to be aware of general safety rules as well as those that are specific to transporting fluids. You should know how to control surge and be aware that posted speed limits for curves and ramps may be too fast for a tank.

Earn Your Tanker Endorsement

At HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school), you can earn endorsements for tanker, hazmat, and doubles/triples.

Contact us today to learn more about our truck driver training programs.

Questions to Ask a CDL Training School Representative

Attending a commercial driver’s license (CDL) training school can help you start your trucking career with the knowledge you need to succeed. Drivers can earn more than $66,000 a year* and becoming a trucker can be a rewarding and exciting decision. However, it’s important to have all of the necessary information before you start your journey. This can help you determine whether trucking is a good fit for you. Asking a CDL school representative questions can help you determine which training program will be most beneficial.

Questions About the Trucking Industry

Once you start getting in touch with CDL training schools, you probably already feel that trucking is the right job for you. However, you may not know what type of driving you would like to do or what to expect during the different phases of your career. Before you ask more specific questions about the school you are thinking of attending, it can be helpful to learn more about the trucking industry.

Some questions you could ask include:

  • What are the different types of truck driving jobs available and what does the typical day look like for an over-the-road trucker, local driver, hazardous materials (hazmat) hauler, et cetera?
  • Are there different qualifications depending on the type of driving?
  • Is there a truck driver shortage and how could this affect me?
  • How much can I expect to make as a driver? Will this change over time or depending on the type of job I take?
  • What is the lifestyle of a truck driver like?
  • Are there opportunities besides truck driving for CDL holders?

Questions About the CDL Training School

Talking with a representative can also help you learn more about the trucking school you are thinking about attending.

You should consider asking:

  • How much does it cost to attend your school?
  • Are there any funding options available and if so, what are these?
  • Are GI Bill® benefits available?
  • What does your truck driver training program cover?
  • Are any endorsements included?
  • How long does training take?
  • What is the completion rate for truck driving schools in general and for your program specifically?

Questions About Support After Training

Your CDL school should help you transition from training into your new career. Asking questions about how this works can help you make sure your preferred training program will support you.

Some questions to ask:

  • How long does it typically take to find a trucking job after graduation?
  • Do you offer job placement assistance and if so, how does this work?
  • What are some of the trucking companies that your graduates work for?

High-Quality CDL Training in Tucson, AZ

If you are ready to start on the road to a rewarding career, you should consider attending HDS Truck Driving Institute.

Contact one of our CDL training school representatives to learn more.

*Professional truck drivers earn a mean annual wage of $46,370. The top 10% of truck drivers make more than $66,840 per year according to the 2019 Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Your Guide to CDL Restrictions

Earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL) allows you to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). To earn this license, you will need to pass a written exam and a skills test. In addition to understanding what is necessary to earn a standard license, you should also understand CDL restrictions. These are codes that can be placed on your license that prevent you from driving certain types of CMVs or driving under specific conditions. (An exception to this is the V restriction. This indicates that there is a medical variance on your CDL. However, it does not directly affect what vehicles you can drive.)

Some of the most common CDL restrictions include:

K Restriction

Per federal CDL requirements, you need to be 21 years of age or older to operate a CMV across state lines. However, you can drive within the state if you are 18 or older. In this case, a K restriction will be placed on your license to indicate that your CDL is valid for intrastate travel only.

E Restriction

If your CDL has an E restriction, you will not be able to drive a CMV with a manual transmission. This can make finding a trucking job more difficult, as many semi-trucks use manual transmissions. You will have an E restriction on your license if you take the skills test using a vehicle that has an automatic or semi-automatic transmission.

O Restriction

An O restriction means you cannot operate a tractor-trailer. You will have this restriction on your license if you take your skills test with a vehicle that has a non-fifth wheel connection or pintle hook.

Air Brake CDL Restrictions

Air brakes use compressed air to stop a vehicle, as opposed to traditional hydraulic braking systems that use brake fluid. Because air brakes are often more effective at stopping larger vehicles, they are common for CMVs. There are two different types of air brake restrictions that can be placed on your CDL and either one can limit the truck driving jobs that are available to you.

L Restriction

If your license has an L restriction, you will not be able to operate a motor vehicle that has air brakes. This restriction will be placed on your CDL if you fail the air brakes portion of the written test and/or the air brake inspection during your skills test. Your license will also have an L restriction if you do not use a vehicle with air brakes for your skills test.

Z Restriction

A Z CDL restriction prevents you from operating a CMV with a full air brake system. This restriction applies if you took your skills test with a vehicle that only had a partial air brake system.

CDL School in Tucson, AZ

If you are interested in earning your CDL, HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school) can help. Our programs cover material from the CDL test and we will work with you to help you avoid restrictions on your license. Our students are also able to earn endorsements for hazardous materials (hazmat), tanker vehicles, and doubles/triples.

Contact us today to learn more about our CDL training programs.

Trucking Industry Statistics

A career in the trucking industry is rewarding in more ways than one. Truckers are essential to our nation’s economy and a growing shortage of drivers means motor carriers often compete to offer the best pay and benefits. Data from various organizations demonstrates the growth potential in this industry as well as just how important it is to our country.

Here are some interesting facts and statistics about the trucking industry:

Bureau of Labor Statistics

The information below comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This government department collects information about employment and the labor market in the United States.

  • There were 1,958,800 individuals employed as heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers in 2018.
  • A 5% growth is expected between 2018 and 2028 (97,940 additional jobs).
  • Based on 2018 data, 45% of heavy and tractor-trailer drivers are employed in the truck transportation industry. Other industries include wholesale trade (11%), manufacturing (7%), and construction (6%). 6% of these drivers are self-employed.
  • The top 10% of drivers earned more than $66,840 in 2019. The median annual wage was $45,260.

American Community Survey

Each year, the United States Census Bureau conducts the American Community Survey. This is a source of comprehensive data about population and housing in the country. The statistics below come from the 2017 survey, which has the most recent data for the trucking industry.

  • Truckers are less likely to be unemployed compared to other industries.
  • Approximately 10% of drivers are veterans, which is double the rate for all workers.
  • The median age of a truck driver is 46.

American Trucking Associations

The American Trucking Associations (ATA) is the largest trade association for the trucking industry. Each year, they collect data about the impact commercial drivers have on the economy. The facts below come from their 2019 report.

  • Trucking generated $796.7 billion in gross freight revenues in 2018, 80.3% of the total in the country.
  • Semi-trucks hauled 11.49 billion tons of freight, 71.8% of the domestic total.
  • 13.4% of all registered vehicles are commercial trucks.
  • There are 36 million trucks in the United States that are used for business purposes.
  • Registered trucks traveled 297.6 billion miles in 2017. Combination trucks, including tractor-trailers, drove 181.5 billion miles.

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) provides information for the government, industry, and the public about transportation and freight. Their most recent report, Freight Facts & Figures, includes data collected in 2018.

  • Trucking contributed the largest amount to the gross domestic product (GDP) of all modes of freight transportation.
  • 16.8% of goods (measured by value) moved 1,000 miles or more to get to their destination.
  • Semi-trucks were involved in the transport of all of the top 10 types of commodities and moved more high-value, time-sensitive goods than any other methods.

Becoming a Truck Driver

If you want to become a trucker, the first step is earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL). At HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school), we offer high-quality training to help you get on the road and start earning.

Get Started at HDS Truck Driving School

To learn more about how we can help you start a career in the trucking industry, contact us today.

What the CDL Hazmat Test Includes

Earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL) is the first step to becoming a truck driver. If you want to haul certain types of freight, you may also need one or more endorsements. These are additional certifications that you earn by passing written tests beyond the general knowledge exam. One example is the hazardous materials (hazmat) endorsement. The CDL hazmat test covers material from section 9 of the manual and is one of three endorsements you can earn at HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school).

More information about what the hazmat endorsement test includes:

Hazmat in the CDL Manual

In general, the CDL manual is an excellent guide to what will appear on the written exam. Section 9 covers hazmat and is split into 7 subsections. Understanding each of these will be helpful for passing the CDL hazmat endorsement test. The descriptions below give a broad overview of the material included.

The subsections are:

Intent of Hazmat Regulations

There are three main goals for hazmat regulations: containing potentially dangerous substances, communicating the risks to everyone involved in transport, and assuring safe drivers and equipment. All of the rules hazmat drivers follow are in service of these objectives.

Who Does What

This subsection discusses the responsibilities of the shipper, carrier, and driver in safely transporting potentially dangerous materials. These groups/individuals must all work together and understand their unique role.

Communicating Hazards

Any hazmat must be properly labeled, including a package label and a placard for the vehicle transporting the items. The shipper must also prepare shipping papers that describe the material and the driver needs to keep these papers in an easily-accessible location. There are specific placard and label requirements for each class and subclass of hazmat.

Loading and Unloading

As a driver, you need to be sure to load and unload hazmat carefully. There are general guidelines as well as more specific requirements depending on the class of material. The CDL hazmat test includes questions about how to load and unload the different types of hazmat.

Bulk Packaging Regulations

Bulk packaging refers to any sort of container where a dangerous substance has no intermediate form of containment. This applies if there is a maximum capacity over 450L for liquids, a maximum net mass over 400kg or a maximum capacity over 450L for solids, or a water capacity greater than 454kg for gases. Additional regulations apply for any bulk packaging.

Driving and Parking Rules for Hazmat

When you are transporting hazmat, you must follow additional guidelines for driving and parking that may not apply for non-hazardous freight. There are also specific requirements for certain classes. For example, those transporting Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 explosives must have and follow a written plan for their route.

Handling Emergencies

If there is a crash or other incident, then it is your responsibility as a professional driver to follow all necessary regulations to keep yourself and others safe. This includes keeping people away from the scene, limiting the spread of the material if you can safely do so, and communicating with emergency response personnel. You must follow general guidelines in addition to specific steps depending on the class of material. You should also be aware of when it is necessary to contact the National Response Center. This agency coordinates emergency responses to chemical hazards.

Prepare for the Hazmat Endorsement Exam

Understanding the precautions you must take if transporting hazmat is crucial. This is not only to pass the endorsement test but also to prepare you for your career if you choose to haul hazardous freight. At HDS truck driving school, our world-class instructors will give you the information you need to succeed as a truck driver.

To learn more about how we can help you prepare for the CDL hazmat test, contact us today.

Understanding Team Truck Driving

After you earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL), you have many different options for jobs that can fit your needs and goals. Team truck driving is one example. This is when two drivers work together to transport freight. Since it makes hauling more efficient, many trucking companies pay more per mile and may even offer a sign-on bonus. However, team driving is not for everyone, and you will want to consider the pros and cons before deciding if you would rather work with a partner or on your own.

The Basics of Team Truck Driving

The way team trucking works is that two different drivers take turns behind the wheel. One will be driving while the other will either be in the passenger seat (up to two of the ten required off-duty hours) or the sleeper berth. This allows the truck to keep moving while following hours-of-service regulations. The company you work for will pay you based on the miles you drive and this total is split between both drivers.

Who you drive with depends on your preference. Some truckers have a friend, family member, or spouse who also has their CDL. Having a driving partner you already know can be beneficial as you generally have an idea of how you will get along and work together. Husband and wife teams are common for this reason. Alternatively, many companies offer team matching. This will pair you with another driver based on your personality, location, and goals for weekly pay and miles.

Questions to Ask Yourself

If you are considering becoming a team truck driver, these are some questions you should ask yourself to determine if this is the right path for you:

Can you trust your driving partner?

Trust is absolutely essential in team truck driving. You will be asleep while someone else controls the vehicle and vice versa.  The two of you will have to rely on each other to drive safely. As a result, it is important to find a driving partner you can trust. If you simply don’t feel comfortable with this, then team driving may not be the best fit for you.

How do you feel sharing your space?

A tractor-trailer is a small space and as a team driver, you will be sharing it with someone else. This means you will need to be mindful of cleanliness, organization, and other factors to help you both stay comfortable.

Are you willing to compromise?

As a solo truck driver, you have a large amount of control over how you spend your day. While you have to follow orders from dispatchers, you can generally choose when to take your breaks, where to stop, what to listen to on the radio, et cetera. You should consider whether or not you are okay with compromising on some of these decisions if you choose to drive with a partner.

Would you benefit from company on the road?

Many people get lonely as a truck driver. One of the major benefits of team driving is that you can enjoy the company of another person while working. If you choose to drive with a spouse or someone else that you already have a close relationship with, this can be especially beneficial.

The Road to Team Driving

If you are interested in becoming a team truck driver, the first step is to earn your CDL. At HDS Truck Driving Institute, we provide a high-quality education and can help you determine what type of trucking career is best for you.

To learn more about the path to becoming a team truck driver, contact us today.

Types of Freight

Truck drivers deliver a huge variety of goods and materials and are essential to our country’s economy. After you earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL), you can become a part of this important industry. One of the choices you will make after graduation is what type of truck driving job best fits your needs and desires. In addition to considering the route, you will also want to consider the different varieties of freight you can haul.

Here are some examples of different types of freight:

Food Items

Grocery stores and restaurants across the country rely on semi-trucks to deliver food items. This may include products that need to remain at a constant temperature, which you would transport using a refrigerated (reefer) truck. Certain bulk solids, such as grains, are moved using tanker trucks. Tankers also transport liquids and moving any liquid or gaseous material will require the “N” endorsement.

Construction Materials

Construction materials are often large and bulky which means they require unique methods of transport. Flatbed trucks, which have an open platform instead of an enclosed trailer, are often used to haul these items. Although you do not need any certifications beyond your CDL to drive a flatbed truck, skilled drivers are necessary to ensure safe transport. Flatbed truckers also usually handle loading and unloading. Because of the additional labor, flatbed freight may have a higher rate of pay.

Hazardous Materials

Hazardous materials (hazmat) include a variety of substances the Department of Transportation (DOT) classifies as potentially dangerous. Some examples include toxic chemicals, explosives, and flammable gases. Hauling hazardous freight requires an additional CDL endorsement and there are additional safety precautions you will need to take. Jobs involving hazmat frequently pay more per mile.

Other Consumer Goods

It is impossible to list everything that you can haul as a truck driver because tractor-trailers transport nearly any type of product you can think of. For items that do not require unique conditions to move safely, dry vans are common. These are traditional semi-trucks with an enclosed trailer. With such a huge variety of dry van jobs, you could haul many different types of freight during your career.

Choosing the Right CDL Job For You

After you earn your license, you can choose the type of freight you haul and the type of truck you drive. This can impact your typical day on the job. Some varieties of freight require more physical labor, such as any sort of flatbed trucking. Others, like dry van hauling, do not always require you to load and unload the truck yourself. Beyond deciding on which sorts of goods you will haul, you will also need to consider what type of route will work best for you.

We Can Help You Start Your Career

At HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school), we can help you make decisions about the type of CDL job you would like to pursue. Our job placement assistance team will consider your goals and help match you with trucking companies. We provide our students with a high-quality education that will continue to benefit them throughout their trucking career.

To learn more about how you can start hauling freight with a CDL, contact us today.

Why Truckers are More Essential Than Ever

Truckers are an essential part of our nation’s economy and supply chain. According to research by the American Trucking Associations, 70% of the freight in the United States is delivered by truck, which adds up to almost $800 billion in revenue each year. Without the trucking industry, our country would not be able to function. During the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, truck drivers are even more important than ever. 

Here are some of the many ways commercial drivers help keep our country and economy moving: 

Medical Supplies

One of the many types of goods that trucks deliver is medical supplies. This includes masks, gloves, and other items that are essential in fighting the current pandemic. Truckers also transport prescription medications. Many of these need to be kept in specific conditions and delivered in a timely manner. If trucks stopped delivering freight, hospitals would run out of supplies within the first 24 hours and would start to deplete their oxygen reserves by the end of the first week. 

Food and Water

Semi-trucks deliver most all of the items you buy in grocery stores. From produce to canned food, drivers make sure that these items are available when you need them. If truckers were not on the road making deliveries, it would only take about 2-3 days for food shortages to begin. 

Clean water can also be transported by tanker trucks, so the trucking industry helps ensure that this resource is available. It would take about two weeks for the public to notice the effects of a water shortage in the event that the trucking industry stopped operating. 

Other Essential Goods

Nearly anything you can think of is delivered by semi-truck. Since such a large amount of freight travels this way, the trucking industry is an integral part of delivering toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and other essentials that people need. With so many stores running out of these items, truckers help make sure the shelves are restocked. 

Raw Materials for Manufacturing

Tractor-trailers haul more than just consumer goods. They bring raw materials to factories who use these to make essential items for a variety of industries. This means that trucking has a direct and indirect impact on what products are available to the public and specialized fields, such as the medical profession. 

Recognizing the Contributions of Truck Drivers

At HDS Truck Driving Institute, we want to recognize the contributions that truckers make to our society, both during this pandemic and on a day-to-day basis. Truck drivers are more essential than ever, so even during these uncertain times, American citizens can trust that they will be able to find the items they need. 

A Stable Career in the Trucking Industry

If you want to become a part of this vital industry, you can start by earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL). Even during a global pandemic, truck driving offers a stable career that you can count on. 

To learn more about becoming a trucker, contact us today.

What is Flatbed Truck Driving?

Once you earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL), there are a variety of trucking jobs that you might consider. Not only can you choose long-haul driving or a local/regional route, but you can also choose the type of vehicle you would prefer. One option is a flatbed truck.

Here are some facts about driving a flatbed truck: 

What is Flatbed Trucking?

Commercial vehicles that have a flat platform rather than an enclosed trailer are called flatbed trucks. The benefit of this type of truck is that it allows trucking companies to transport large or unusually-shaped freight. Because this type of trailer has an open deck, the driver must tie down cargo with chains or straps in order to ensure it is secure. A tarp may also be necessary to protect the goods and materials from damage during transit.

Pros and Cons of Flatbed Truck Driving

Every trucking job has its pros and cons, and flatbed freight is no different. To decide if driving a flatbed truck is right for you, it is important to consider your individual preferences and goals for your career. 

Pro: Higher Rate of Pay

One of the biggest benefits of flatbed truck driving is the higher pay. Flatbed and specialized drivers can make almost $13,000 more each year on average compared to those hauling dry goods in a traditional tractor-trailer. This is according to CDL 101.

Pro: Increased Driver Activity

Unlike many other types of truck drivers, flatbed drivers are responsible for securing and unloading freight as well as driving. Because of this, they are likely to get more on-the-job activity, which can lead to better health. This increase in physical labor may help you stay more active and fit on the road and as long as you follow safety protocols, it can be a safe and rewarding career.

Pro: Greater Variety of Jobs

If you want to see more of the country and experience more variety, then flatbed routes may be for you. These routes may be more varied than local or regional dry van or refrigerated hauls.

Con: Increased Potential Risks

Flatbed trucking may be more dangerous when compared to other types of driving. Failure to properly secure freight can lead to injury if it were to break loose. Securing cargo may also bring the risk of falling or otherwise injuring yourself. If you carefully follow safety regulations, you can greatly reduce the dangers that come with driving a flatbed truck.

Con: More Physically Demanding

The physical nature of flatbed trucking can take its toll. While it keeps you more active, it is also a potential downside to the job. Securing and unloading freight isn’t for everyone.

Con: Increased Time

When you drive a refrigerated truck or dry van, you are not usually responsible for loading and unloading the vehicle. This is not the same for flatbed trucking. The driver of a flatbed truck is responsible for securing freight and unloading it once they reach their destination. This can increase the time that it takes to complete a run compared to other types of truck driving jobs. 

Let Us Prepare You for a Trucking Career

If you are considering flatbed trucking or any other type of CDL job, HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school) is here to help. Our training program can help you earn your CDL and is the first step to a rewarding career in the truck driving industry.

Contact us today for more information about training to drive a flatbed truck.

Why Trucking is One of the Best Jobs for Veterans

Transitioning from the military into civilian life can be challenging. You have a unique and valuable skill set, but many civilian companies don’t recognize this. One-third of veterans in the United States are currently underemployed, meaning that they are working jobs where they are overqualified and underpaid. If you are anxious about your transition out of active service, you may want to consider a career in trucking. Truck drivers are in high demand and this is a great job for veterans because it is a good match with your skill set.

Here are just a few of the many benefits of becoming a trucker after military service:

Job Security

Job security in the trucking industry is unparalleled and the demand for truckers continues to rise. In fact, statistics estimate a 5% growth in the next 10 years. There are 1.3 million trucking companies out there looking to hire you, so you know if you choose to become a truck driver there will always be a job available. In addition, you will be getting the pay you deserve: truck drivers can earn more than $65,000 a year.*

One of the benefits of this kind of job security is that once a company hires you, there is a possibility of staying with them  for a longer period of time. Applying for jobs as a veteran can be frustrating. You need to translate your military skills into terms civilians can understand. Oftentimes you get passed over for the job because of stereotypes or overqualification. When you become a trucker, you don’t have to worry about going through this challenging application process over and over again. 


As a veteran, you understand the value of service. You took pride in serving your country as a member of the armed forces, so you may want a job that allows you to continue to contribute to your country. It can be a struggle to find a career focused on service where you also get great pay and benefits. If this appeals to you, truck driving could be a great choice. 

American truck drivers transport 70% of United States freight. Without truck drivers, the country’s economy would not be able to function. Drivers help keep grocery stores stocked, vital machinery running, and so much more. When you work as a trucker you know you are making a difference in the daily lives of your fellow Americans. 

Quick and Easy Transition

When you are transitioning out of active duty military service, you want the process to be as quick and simple as possible. Traditional corporate jobs require a lot of changes to adapt to this new environment. With truck driving, the transition process is simple.

The trucking industry values your military service and will work with the skills you have already developed. The training to become a trucker is also quick and easy. You can get a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in as little as four weeks with our accelerated program

Funding Your Training

Military veterans have access to a wide range of funding opportunities to make CDL school more affordable. If you choose to attend HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school), we can help you determine which options are available to you. 

Truck Driver Education for Veterans

HDS truck driving school was selected for the 2019-2020 GI Jobs Military Friendly School list and is approved by the Arizona State Approving Agency to provide training to veterans. We have helped many veterans transition into rewarding civilian careers as truck drivers. Our instructors and programs are nationally recognized and we strive to give each student valuable skills and knowledge they can use for the rest of their career. 

Contact us today to learn more about training to become a truck driver after serving in the military.

*Professional truck drivers earn a mean annual wage of $43,680. The top 10% of truck drivers make more than $65,260 per year according to the 2018 Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Requirements for an Arizona CDL

A commercial driver’s license (CDL) replaces your standard driver’s license and allows you to drive a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). In order to earn your license, you will need to meet certain criteria. These include some requirements that are standardized across states and others that are specific for getting an Arizona CDL.

If you want to earn your license and start a truck driving career, here is what you need to know: 

When You Need a CDL (Federal Regulations)

The federal government, specifically the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), determines when individuals need to possess a CDL. This applies in Arizona and across the country. There are different types of CDLs. At HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school) our programs can help you earn a Class A or a Class B license. 

A Class A CDL is necessary to drive a CMV with a gross combination weight rating (GCWR) or gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 pounds or more with a towing capacity of over 10,000 pounds. A Class B CDL is required to drive a CMV with a GCWR or GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more which has a towing capacity of less than 10,000 pounds. 

Earning an Arizona CDL

In order to earn your CDL in Arizona, you must meet federal and state requirements. 

Federal CDL Requirements

To get a commercial license, you must be at least 21 years old to drive across state lines. For intrastate travel, the age requirement is 18 years old. You will need to pass a background check and can be temporarily or permanently disqualified if you have certain offenses on your record. The FMCSA lists these offenses and the length of time you will be unable to hold a CDL for each offense on their website

Arizona CDL Requirements

Arizona follows national standards and the requirements to obtain your license in Arizona are similar to the requirements in other states. You must first obtain your commercial learner’s permit (CLP) by passing a knowledge test. This exam covers important safety information related to driving a CMV. To get your CDL after earning your CLP, you must pass a skills test driving a vehicle of the class that you intend to operate. 

All commercial drivers in the State of Arizona must keep a Medical Examiner Certificate on file with the Motor Vehicle Department (MVD). You will need to complete a DOT physical every 24 months to keep your license. In some cases, the doctor will require you to be examined more frequently. This ensures you meet health requirements set by the DOT for commercial drivers. 

Obtaining your Arizona CDL also requires proof of residency. You will need to provide two documents showing a valid Arizona address. The MVD has a full list of acceptable documents in their CDL manual. You must also prove that you are a United States citizen or a legal permanent resident. Documents that establish your citizen status are also listed in the CDL manual. 

Earn Your CDL With HDS

When you earn your CDL by attending HDS truck driving school, we do more than ensure you meet the minimum requirements. We give you valuable tools and knowledge to help you start your trucking career. 

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you obtain your Arizona CDL.