Once you’re done serving your country, a common question veterans wonder is “what’s next?” Choosing a career that keeps you engaged in post-military life is a challenge you may not have considered or are working through right now.
If you’re ready to make a career jump and looking for a career that continues to support you during your transition into the civilian workforce, you may want to consider the exciting path of an over-the-road truck driver. Need convincing? We’ve listed the top four reasons why veterans and truck driving make a perfect match.
1. The industry needs you.
If you’re looking for a career with steady pay and job security, you’ve come to the right place. In the United States alone, there’s a shortage of around 50,000 drivers. If you’re willing to put in the hard work, you’re sure to find a spot in the field of trucking. Truck driving provides stability and a profitable career.
Even better, this industry isn’t one that requires years of schooling. After your military service you may not be ready to jump back into four or more years of continued education. By choosing a career as a truck driver, you can begin training and working immediately in your field.
2. You have the experience
You may have already had some experience in the field of truck driving during your service in the military. If this is the case, not only have you driven a truck, you’ve done it under some of the hardest possible conditions. You know how important it is to get somewhere safely because you’ve done it before, and you have the experience to prove it.
Having this experience may mean that you can receive your CDL without having to take a road skills test due to an exemption from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These criteria include:
- Military truck driving experience of at least 2 years in a vehicle similar to a commercial motor vehicle
- Application to the program within 1 year of discharge
- Passing a written knowledge test
- A license that hasn’t been suspended, revoked, or cancelled
- No disqualifying incidents like drugs, alcohol, leaving scene of accident, or fatalities caused by negligence
- No serious traffic violations like reckless driving or driving without a proper license
If you haven’t gained this experience or don’t meet the criteria listed, there are still plenty of options available to you. CDL training for veterans is readily available and is often shorter than it is for civilians due to your service.
It’s suggested that even after receiving a CDL waiver you undergo some behind-the-wheel training. Most military drivers are used to driving automatics, whereas many semi trucks are standards, and passing a CDL test does not give you a comprehensive understanding of industry laws and regulations the way training does.
3. Enjoy time at home and time away
Being in the military most likely allowed you to travel and see the world. With trucking, you can experience a similar career. Truck driving for veterans means getting to see the beauty of the country from the convenience of your rig and continuing to serve Americans by delivering goods they need.
Choosing trucking as a career after the military can be an easy transition for several reasons:
- More communication opportunities. Being in the military can mean a lack of communication from your friends and family, but with trucking, you can still contact your loved ones often.
- More time at home. Instead of being gone for months, or even a year or more, truck drivers see far more time at home. You can enjoy spending some time away while knowing you won’t be far from home for long.
- Don’t be stuck behind a desk. Choosing trucking means you aren’t going to be trapped in a regular 9-5 job. Enjoy more flexibility in your job and experience the fun of traveling while you do it.
4. Your career prepared you for this
Being successful in the military requires a certain set of traits that will set you up to excel in other careers. Some of the traits that carry well into trucking are:
- Teamwork. You’ve had to work with others frequently for your career, so you’re no stranger to the importance of teamwork. Being able to work well with a wide variety of people will translate well to working with dispatchers, managers, and more.
- Discipline. You know the meaning of being on time and doing things right. Being punctual is a vital trait of a truck driver, and your drive to get things done will be an asset to your career.
- Organization. Being disorganized isn’t an option for you. Taking care of tasks in a proper order and being deliberate in your actions will make you a great trucker.
- Leadership. Not only have you worked in a team, you’ve been a leader before. You understand what it means to step up to the plate and help out others to accomplish your job in the best, most efficient way.
When you’re ready to transition into a fulfilling career as a truck driver, sign up for Prime’s Truck Driver Training Program. Prime offers many benefits for military veterans, including a shortened contract for the training program. Contact the Prime Recruiting Department for more details.
You will be contacted by a recruiter shortly to discuss your future in the trucking industry and the benefits you receive by having served in the military.
To our United States military veterans and active members, Prime would like to thank you for your service to our country.