So, you just turned 18 and you’re ready to find a job as a truck driver, but why is it so difficult? According to the United States Federal law, a person must be 21 years old to drive a commercial vehicle in interstate commerce. Although you can obtain a CDL by the age of 18, you will be limited to driving intrastate and most trucking companies only hire drivers who are 21 years old or older. Also, insurance rates are much higher for trucking companies that employ drivers under the age of 21.
But that does not mean that there aren’t truck driving jobs available before you turn 21. There are many jobs you can qualify for at just 18 years old. Although the majority of the truck driving jobs will be within your state lines it is still a good idea to get your foot in the door and get a few years of experience before you turn 21.
Under 21 Pilot Program
The FMCSA launched an Under 21 Pilot program that helps Reserve and National Guard members ages 18, 19, and 20 explore civilian trucking careers. Commercial truck drivers are in high demand and this program helps trucking companies hire disciplined and experienced drivers.
For more information on the Under 21 Pilot program click here.
Towing and Recovery
Driving a tow truck is typically an intrastate job. While there’s no age restriction besides being 18 years old, some companies may still require you to be 21. Check with some of your local towing companies and ask what the age requirements are.
Local Delivery Driver
Working as a local delivery driver is a great way to gain experience in your trucking career. You can start working for a local store or warehouse and delivery goods right to a customer’s door.
Here are a few places you can look for local delivery jobs.
- Furniture stores
- Office supply stores
Dump Truck Driver
Driving a dump truck may not be your dream job, but it gets your foot in the door and you can work close to home. Most local businesses will need dump truck drivers to move building materials, dirt, garbage, or other freight.
Most truck driving jobs won’t become available until you are 21, but you don’t have to wait until then to start gaining experience. Getting a few years of experience on your resume before applying for big trucking companies will help during the hiring process.