What Does It Take To Become A Lorry Driver?

Lorry driving can be a lucrative career with a lot of freedom. That said, stepping out from behind the wheel of a car and getting behind the wheel of a lorry is no easy task. Whilst the job is in high demand, various experience and extra qualifications are often needed to get into the trade. Here’s some of the criteria you may need to meet before considering a career path as a trucker.

Meeting the minimum requirements

Some driving schools may want to see some educational grades, but most aren’t too strict when it comes to this. Generally, you need to be over 21 and not have any driving convictions. Minor traffic violations such as parking tickets generally won’t be a problem, but if you’ve got multiple points on your license or a DUI charge, this could be a major obstacle.  

Finding a driving school

A driving school will give you the relevant qualifications and ability to get behind the wheel of a truck. It helps to study the commercial driver’s manual first, to get to grips with the rules, classes and restrictions. Once you’ve met the entry requirements of a trucking school, you can start paying for lessons. These work much like regular driving lessons, and you can choose an intensive course or weekly lessons.

You’ll then have to take a theory and practical test. If you’re currently thinking about taking your tests, you can click here for a driving test sample. Taking a few mock tests with your instructor is recommended as well as swotting up on the theory.

Finding a job

Once you’ve passed you can start chasing a career as a lorry driver. Many driving schools will have placement schemes, finding you an entry level position. Whilst major companies are likely to pay the best wages, most of these require two years of lorry driving experience or more.

Getting hired by a trucking company to take any number of weeks. You’ll usually be asked to attend an orientation lasting a few days in which you’ll then have to take another exam and get trained up for the specific job.

Expect the company to put you through another practical test. This will be to ensure that you are good enough for the role and could involve some tasks specific to the job. Pass this final hurdle and you’ll be given your own truck and routes!

Climbing the career ladder

You may start out doing a long-haul job. The hours won’t be sociable and you may have to spend some nights in motels or parked by the side of the road, however the pay is unlikely to be less than 30k a year. Doing this job for a year or two could open you up to more well-paid positions upwards of 50k a year. Here you may be able to pick and choose you hours although you may be dealing with more stressful time constraints, dangerous loads or dangerous routes. Whilst some companies may require extra tests, you’re pretty much guaranteed a job anywhere once you have trucking experience.

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Emily Muelford

Emily is a British writer whose love of car culture is augmented by a fascination with both the European and American automotive markets. Her perspective is uniquely fish and chips.

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Emily Muelford
Emily is a British writer whose love of car culture is augmented by a fascination with both the European and American automotive markets. Her perspective is uniquely fish and chips.