The fact that the American trucking industry is desperately short of licensed drivers is nothing new. We have been talking about the problem for years. But how do we fix it? How do we find and recruit enough new drivers to make up for future retirements and fill open jobs created by economic expansion? We do so by educating the public about the benefits of the truck driving career and what is necessary to get one of the many CDL jobs out there.
Right now, the trucking industry is focusing on recruiting younger drivers of both sexes, with a particular focus on women. With the largest percentage of current drivers rapidly approaching retirement age, we need young people willing to get started on their careers now and stick with them until they retire.
With that in mind, here are some prerequisites for commercial driver’s license (CDL) jobs. We have listed each one below along with a short explanation that includes pertinent information to anyone considering a professional driving career.
A Valid CDL License
Obviously, the primary prerequisite for applying for CDL jobs is a valid CDL license. The states govern driver's licenses, but each of the states recognizes licenses earned in any of the others. So a valid California CDL license would be recognized in all 50 states.
New drivers without CDL licenses have two options. First, they can go to an independent CDL school, earn their licenses, and then start applying for local and regional jobs. The second option is to sign on with a company like C.R. England, a company that guarantees employment to new drivers who complete their CDL training program. We believe the second option is the better of the two.
A Good Driving Record
New CDL drivers do not have to have a stellar driving record with absolutely no blemishes, but a good driving record is necessary. Carriers will not usually take the risk on a driver with a history of tickets, accidents, and serious violations. That's just the nature of the beast.
Reasonably Good Health
Reasonably good health is another prerequisite for CDL jobs. Like the driving history, new drivers do not have to be specimens of perfect health in order to get a job, but they do need to be healthy enough to pass a fairly rigorous federally mandated health exam. The health exam takes into account things such as:
- vision and hearing
- past medical history
- medical conditions that could inhibit safe driving
- drug and alcohol use, both past and present.
A Willingness to Work
The last prerequisite for CDL jobs is a willingness to work. The trucking industry is no different than any other in that most workers must get in on the ground floor and work their way up. Nothing is handed to the new driver on a silver platter; future success within the industry is not guaranteed regardless of the effort put forth.
Professional driving is a very rewarding career that offers plenty of opportunity for advancement and increased earnings. But in order to move up, drivers should be willing to put in the time and effort as entry-level drivers. They have to be willing to take those less than desirable loads and spend weeks at a time on the road.
C.R. England is looking for new and experienced drivers as well as teams and independent contractors. For more information about our open jobs, please contact us directly. We are proud to be one of the most sought after trucking companies with a reputation for taking care of our drivers.