Steps to Becoming an Over-the-Road Truck Driver

Steps to Becoming an Over-the-Road Truck Driver
  • Opening Intro -

    For many, the idea of making money while traveling across the country is very exciting.

    As an over-the-road truck driver, this lifestyle is a daily reality.


Driving over-the-road (OTR) differs from being a regional driver because regional drivers only cover a few cities, counties, or states. Regional drivers will usually be out for one to two days maximum, whereas an OTR driver can be out for weeks at a time driving coast to coast.

If you would like to travel longer distances, here are the steps to becoming an OTR truck driver.

Get Educated

Before you can get the job, you first need to be educated on what the job entails. This means taking a course at your local driving school to prepare for receiving your CDL (Commercial Driver’s License).

A CDL is different from a traditional driver’s license in that it only applies to those who wish to drive professionally. There are three different types of commercial driver’s licenses: A, B, and C.

  • Class A licenses are also called “universal” licenses because they allow you to drive a big rig 18-wheeler if you have one.
  • Class B and C licenses are for smaller vehicles.

If you want to drive OTR, you will want to pursue the Class A license because it’s the most versatile type.

In order to drive across state lines, you must be at least 21 years of age. Some driving schools may require a high school diploma or GED before enrollment. Knowing what equipment you need is also important for being an OTR driver, so familiarize yourself with that before receiving your CDL.

Get Certified

Once you have completed your required coursework and training, it’s time to become certified. You must complete both a written and a road test in order to earn your CDL license.

Every state has different requirements for their CDL exams, but the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) always administers them. If you want to make sure you will be completely ready for the tests, do not hesitate to reach out to your local DMV office.

As part of the certification process, you must pass a sight, hearing, and physical examination by a licensed physician. Making sure you are healthy enough to be on the road is not only important for job proficiency but also for your own safety. If you cannot pass any one of the health exams, you may want to reconsider your career as an OTR truck driver.

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After completing the necessary steps to becoming an over-the-road truck driver, you are now ready to hit the road! Many companies partner with driving schools for recruitment, so check with the school you attended to see if there are any open positions.

If you still need help finding a job, check job listing websites such as Indeed and Monster to see what positions are available.

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