Are you tired of your current job and want to make a change? If you become a log truck driver, you’ll travel frequently and work outdoors.
Starting a new career sounds scary, but it’s more common than you may think. On average, people change careers three to seven times in their lifetimes.
Log trucking is accessible to most people because you don’t need an advanced degree. Additionally, the salaries are lucrative, especially if you work for quality companies that pay employees handsomely.
This article will show you how to become a log truck driver in greater detail. Let’s explore.
Do Log Truck Drivers Need a College Degree?
You don’t need a college degree to begin a log truck driver career. You only need a high school diploma or GED. That said, some log truck drivers have a bachelor’s or associate’s degree. College degrees will look good on your resume.
College degrees are worthwhile pursuits, but driving experience is more important. For example, many commercial truck drivers can transition into the log truck driving sector with ease. This is because they have a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
Drivers with a CDL can drive within many commercial sectors, including logging.
Steps to Get Licensed
To get your CDL, you must be 18 years old or older, but most trucking companies will only hire drivers 21 or over. Drivers over 21 can drive across state lines. Additionally, you must obtain a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) before you can take a CDL course.
A CLP permits you to practice driving within the commercial sector. Some truck driving schools require this permit before enrolling, but other schools allow you to obtain the permit while getting your CDL.
Overall, you must pass three tests to get your CLP:
- General Knowledge
- Air Brakes
- Combination Vehicle
You must pass your CLP to your commercial class A license. The class A CDL allows you to drive for companies.
Getting Your CDL
Overall, log truck drivers must complete the following steps to get licensure:
- Find a CDL program: You can enroll in a community college or driving school. A program at a community college lasts six weeks and three weeks at a trucking school. Regardless, the programs will consist of classroom learning and field training.
- Pass a Test: At the end of the course, students take a three-part exam. The exam will cover road testing, basic controls, and vehicle inspections.
- Show Documentation: After passing the exam, show documentation in the form of a Social Security card, non-commercial driver’s license, birth certificate (or U.S. passport), and a green card (if you’re a non-citizen).
- Pass a Background Check and Physical: All students must undergo a background check before getting their license. Additionally, the institution will conduct a physical examination to ensure you’re healthy enough to operate a commercial truck.
When it comes to passing a physical, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and exercise routinely. You don’t have to go overboard, as you only need 30 minutes of moderate physical activity to remain healthy.
Further, avoid unhealthy foods in the form of sugary snacks and beverages, including high-fat foods. Plus, don’t smoke or indulge in illegal substances. The screeners require a urine sample during the testing process.
After passing your background check and physical, you’ll obtain your CDL. Depending on your state guidelines, however, you may need to go through additional steps before getting your CDL.
How Much Do Log Drivers Make?
A log truck driver’s salary hovers around $30K a year in most cases. This salary breaks down to $15 an hour. However, this is a starting rate for many drivers entering the field.
The national average is around $47,000. Top earners usually make around $60,000 a year while those at the bottom make around $22,000 a year.
You can also work as a self-employed log truck driver. Many logging companies hire truck drivers as independent contractors. Some companies may pay you per load instead of paying a regular salary.
Roles and Duties
Log truck salaries are usually high due to the intense labor involved. Your job will entail driving logs from forests to mills or storage yards. Besides driving a heavy-duty truck, you must learn how to use fasteners and chains to secure the logs properly.
Moreover, log truck drivers will use power hoists to dump the logs accordingly. Also, you may have to help unloaders load and unload the truck. Loading and unloading duties may require the use of a crane.
You must also meet tight deadlines, which requires logistics planning, and you must know the best routes that will help you save time.
Also, you must keep a thorough log of your activities. For instance, you may have to record information about the number of logs being hauled.
Further, many drivers may have to note how much fuel they consumed and how many miles they traveled. Your employer may mandate other records, such as the number of stops or breaks taken.
Is Becoming a Log Truck Driver Worth It?
Becoming a log truck driver is worthwhile if you want to enter the commercial driving sector. You can also make good money, as a driver’s salary is usually around $45,000 a year. A log truck driving career requires a high school diploma, and you don’t need a college degree.
However, you need a CDL to drive for a company. Additionally, you must be in top physical condition and pass a background check.
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