Shipping is one industry that doesn’t look to dry up any time soon. Even with the high cost of fuel, cross-country drivers are still one of the most economic means of moving goods, and with some fleets making the switch to eco-friendly fuels like biodiesel, it may even be the greenest option for companies looking to move inventory from coast to coast and everywhere in between. So if you’re interested in finding employment with an industry that looks to continue offering jobs in the future, trucking may be just what you’re looking for. However, like any type of job, you need to take some time to consider the pros and cons. Here are a few associated with trucking jobs that can help you to decide if this career path is right for you.
On the plus side, as noted, there is no shortage of jobs available for those interested in driving for a living. And although the pay is not as good as, say, a lawyer might earn, you also don’t have to go to school to become a truck driver; you can get hired with nothing more than a high-school diploma (or GED) and a commercial driver’s license (specifically a CDL, or cross country driver’s license that covers the operation of 18-wheeled vehicles). Drivers are paid by the mile and there are several factors that may enhance or limit their take-home. But generally speaking, you could reasonably expect to earn between $500 and $1,000 per week on average when working full time, which is not too shabby for a job that requires no college education.
In addition to regular pay, fleet truckers are often granted very decent benefits packages. Although we have yet to see how this may be affected by the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), it is likely that these companies will continue to offer excellent benefits packages. And the other major draw for many drivers is the ability to visit new places all the time. In essence, you’re being paid to travel and you don’t have to wear a neckerchief, stow baggage, and push a drink cart to do it.
On the downside, truck drivers spend the majority of their time away from home, so it’s not the ideal profession for anyone with a family waiting for them. Although some drivers find ways to bring their family with them (via caravan, for example), and others create husband-wife teams as a way to increase earnings by having two drivers on board, the truth is that driving a truck can be a solitary means of making a living, and it can definitely put strain on a marriage or other relationships. And of course, there are safety issues to contend with, as well, from falling asleep at the wheel on a long haul, to skidding on ice in an 18-wheeler full of cargo, to jack-knifing with hazardous materials like flammable fuels. Luckily, drivers are trained to deal with such situations and operate in as safe a manner as possible.
Jobs in trucking aren’t right for everyone. It takes a certain type of person to enjoy getting goods from point A to point B via national roadways. But there are definitely benefits to be had thanks to readily available work, decent wages, and better-than-average benefits in some cases. And with a network of other truckers out there to chat with, not to mention tools like gotoTrucks.com to help you find rest stops, repair shops, and anything else you might need on the road, this could be a great job for the no-strings-attached, solo type who is keen to see the country and get paid in the process.