Short answer: If you aren’t sure, don’t do it!
Trucking has tough hours, is physically demanding, and puts you away from your home in family for extended periods of time. There are obviously exceptions, such as Fedex and UPS drivers who drive locally, or flat-bedders that run statewide. For the most part, you will be at the mercy of dispatchers and load boards, traveling to wherever the work takes you .
The larger answer is trucking can be a rewarding path and can create financial stability for anyone with career woes. There is a relatively small barrier for entry in getting your CDL. There are schools that will finance your training and exam but they tend to have very high interest rates on those unable to pay cash. They can cost anywhere from $3000 to $6500 dollars. We wouldn’t recommend paying any more than that unless you are 100% certain it is a reputable program. The alternative to a driving school is to get your license through a community college. Most offer a course in commercial truck driving. This will still be an investment but you can utilize things like local scholarships, Pell Grants or a GI Bill. The linked website provides additional information for returning soldiers who have not yet utilized the education options of their contract. Interestingly enough, you can use your GI bill to fund your training through some of the CDL training companies. Werner is one company that comes to mind as a big supporting of returning soldiers.
According to this article, there are tons of trucking jobs out there that nobody wants! In a tough job market, trucking is a sure-fire way to get back into the workforce. The pay is very respectable; Truckers earn a median annual wage of $37,930, which is $4,000 more than the median wage for all jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10% of truck drivers make more than $58,000 per year and specialized drivers can earn six figures. This doesn’t include truckers who have moved into leasing and managing small fleets. Experienced owner/operators and fleet owners can make much more in the long run than individual drivers. Trucking is a very large industry and there is plenty of opportunity to grow for anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit.
There is no denying that trucking is a tough job. The turnover rate is very high, health is always an issue and inclement weather and road conditions can be hazardous. But, it can be one of the most rewarding careers out there with plenty of opportunity and chances to see these great United States of America. You’ll see new towns and meet new people; with plenty of diners, drive-ins and dives thrown into the mix.