One of the biggest things that someone wants to know when getting into a new career is, “What advancement opportunities exist in this field?”. In short, people want to know where their careers can go and how they can there as quickly as possible.
The good news in the trucking industry is that there are a variety of different opportunities for advancement once you “get your feet wet.” This means that you get to work in more desirable positions and do something that you feel is more “up your alley” once you gain some experience.
Starting: Beginning As An OTR Trucker
Most drivers will begin their careers as an Over-the-Road trucker (OTR) which means long-distance driving. Over-the-Road driving means that you are driving across the country and are often on the road and away from home for up to several weeks at a time.
Pros and Cons of OTR Trucking
On the flip side, when you do get time off it means you have several days or more at home and that can all be uninterrupted time with your family. Many people may not like the idea of being on the road and away from their families for long periods of time.
However, once drivers get a few years to experience you can usually choose whether you wish to continue in the OTR field or see if you want to something more local or regional instead.
Moving Closer to Home: Regional Trucking
Once a driver has a couple of years of experience in the industry, many companies will be willing to look at hiring that driver for more local work. This means that for many drivers they can consider regional work that allows them to work in a specific area of the country such as the Southwest, Northeast, etc.
Pros and Cons of Regional Trucking
Many of these drivers don’t have to go more than a few hundred miles from home while they are driving. This also typically means working a Monday-Friday and being home with your family on the weekends, which is a perk many drivers come to love about working more regional jobs.
Even Closer to Home: Local Trucking
If a driver has a decent amount of experience under their belt and is looking to take the term “day job” literally, many companies will consider hiring more experienced drivers to drive in just their local town or city.
Local Trucking Pros and Cons
Local trucking means that these jobs usually run a daylight shift (6:00 am to 3:00 pm or 7:00 – 4:00 am are common hours) that allow the driver to be home in the evenings and on the weekends. Some of these jobs might even offer holidays off depending on the line of work in which you are hired. This is ideal for many drivers who have more experience and have small children or a family obligation that keeps them close to home.
The advantages of working throughout the day and returning home can be a huge plus for many drivers, however, local positions are considered to be quite labor-intensive due to a lot of loading and unloading of materials. In addition, a lot of local jobs are said to pay less as fewer miles are put in each day.
Final Step: Consider Management
Many companies also consider hiring veteran drivers who have experience in a variety of different types of trucking jobs to move into management positions within the company. Whether this is work as a dispatcher, on-site supervisor, or a desk job, you can get up into the management levels of trucking and get paid even more than you did to drive trucks.
Pros and Cons of Management
Some of these top-level jobs can pay well into the 6 figures ($100,000+ range), however, this is not usually a position you can get right out of CDL training. It’s important to put in the work and get a true understanding of the transportation industry before applying to a management position in it.
But First…Take the Step
If you want a career full of opportunity, then the trucking industry is for you! There are many opportunities for job advancements and promotions throughout your trucking career. Trucking is an in-demand field with thousands of openings available throughout the U.S. right now.