Commercial Driving for Class “A” graduates – understanding the opportunities available to you
If you ask the general public to describe a day in the life of a Class “A” commercial driver, you are likely to receive depictions of a truck driver – miles from home, away from their family for weeks on end, living out of a truck and small diners strewn across the United States.
While long-haul truck drivers are not immune to some of the aforementioned lifestyle dynamics, there are many local, regional, and dedicated commercial driver opportunities that make “home time” a priority. Transportation industry employers have become creative in their ways to meet the needs of their drivers.
If you are thinking about going to CDL school, you should meet with your schools job placement coordinator to discuss the opportunities available to you upon graduation. Capital Transportation Academy takes great pride in developing a personalized Career Roadmap for each graduate to assist them in selecting the right company and commercial driver opportunity that best fits their lifestyle and family needs.
To the surprise of many graduates, there are, in fact, local Class “A” driving opportunities right out of CDL school. Some of the more common driving opportunities that Capital Transportation Academy graduates have pursued include the Food Service, Beverage, Grocery, and Package Delivery segments of the transportation industry. But there are certainly other opportunities, as well. It should be noted that some of the more prominent local driving opportunities do require you to handle freight, which means you will be loading and unloading product from your truck. Some of these jobs provide you with a helper employee who rides along with you to assist in the unloading/loading of product. Another positive is you are on your feet and moving, with an opportunity to benefit from a healthy lifestyle with exercise being a part of your daily work life.
REGIONAL & DEDICATED DRIVING
Many transportation companies offer regional or dedicated driving opportunities. Regional driving typically refers to commercial driving where you typically drive inside a specific regional within the United States, for example your operation may be based in Ohio, and you routes require you to deliver product to and from surrounding states including: Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Some Regional driving opportunities are referred to as “Dedicated” routes, or accounts. Dedicated accounts typically refers to commercial driver where you are transporting product to the same customer on a daily basis, or the same product to a group of customers, as part of your normal driving schedule. Also, many of these opportunities have you home nightly or multiple days weekly, and on most weekends, depending on your state of residence. As a new dedicated driver, you may start with a route that is not as appealing. Over time, with seniority and/or experience, you will earn the opportunity to drive on the more preferred dedicated accounts.
NATIONAL / OTR DRIVING If home time is not a priority, and you like the open road, then National or Over-The-Road (OTR) driving is for you. You can typically make more money OTR due to the fact that you are driving many more miles than in a regional, dedicated, or local driving job. Some OTR opportunities offer team driving opportunities. Team drivers often get the best equipment the company has to offer, they rarely touch freight, and the truck is constantly moving. While you are sleeping, or on break, the other team driver is at the wheel. Team driving translates into racking up a bunch of miles (up to 1,400 miles daily), which translates into a nice paycheck. OTR driving allows you to gain valuable experience traveling the country which could be a huge benefit to your career later on. You may also be able to have a “Ride-Along” where you can take a spouse or an animal with you.