Guide to Your 1st Year in Trucking

"The first year in trucking is the hardest."

"Once you make it through your first year, doors will open up."

"You've gotta get that first year of experience under your belt first."

If you're considering a truck driving job, odds are you've heard at least one of these.  They're all very true - the first year of trucking is perhaps the most important.  As many truckers say, "your first year will make or break you." 

But why is there so much emphasis on the 1st year?  Well, it's because when you become a truck driver it's not just about starting a new job.  It's about starting a new lifestyle.  It's about learning to be away from home for weeks at a time.  It's about managing your own schedule and functioning independently. 

In other words, there's a lot of change and adjustment that needs to take place if you're going to be successful.  And it's typically in that first year (if not sooner) that you find out if you can cut it or not. 

Now, let's break down the first-year - phase by phase - by highlighting what you should expect during the first 3 months, months 3-6; and so on.  Most importantly, let's take a closer look at what it takes to be successful even when things seem tough.  We call it Your First Year in Trucking - How to Survive...And THRIVE!

first year trucking

First Year in Trucking

Researching the Career
Find out why a Class A CDL is needed, how to know if the trucking company is reputable, what types of jobs are available, how the pay works and much more.  It's important to do your research so you know if trucking is a good fit prior to getting started. 

Finding Training Options & Selecting a School
Once you've decided that trucking is for you, it's time to find the best school to meet your needs.  In this section, we take a look at the different types of schools, ways to pay for training, cost, location and more. 

Preparing for School
After deciding on the best truck driving school, it's time to get prepared.  This means reviewing the CDL manual, getting your finances in order and making sure your family has realistic expectations and understands the lifestyle change you're about to make. 

Attending CDL Training
Make sure your truck driver training experience is a great one with an understanding of what you can expect - from the classroom to the CDL test.  It's all about getting the most from training to make sure you're prepared for success on the road and we can help you do just that!

Company Orientation
Beginning with a new company takes a bit of work.  There's paperwork to be done and time that needs to be spent getting familiar with the job.  Knowing what to expect can help make sure things go as smoothly as possible. 

OTR Training - 1st Seat Driver
OTR training is the next step in your career once company orientation has wrapped up.  During the over-the-road training phase, you'll get more familiar with life on the road and how to adjust to being away from home for a couple of weeks at a time.  

3-6 Month - Gaining Confidence
During months 3-6, you'll begin to gain more confidence in what it takes to be successful as a professional truck driver.  This is a very important time during the first year as it's when things can really start to come together or fall apart quickly.  

6-9 Months - Thinking Big Picture
The beginning of the 2nd half of your career is when you start thinking about the big picture and what you want your next steps to be during your career.  It's also the time where you can really feel how much progress is being made on 1st-year goals.  No matter what your next step looks like, months 6-9 will no doubt be critical.  

9-12 Months - The Home Stretch
The finish line is drawing near.  It's time to close out the first year strong and get a plan locked down for your future.  With a year of experience, doors are going to open up to new opportunities within the industry.  But for now, it's about finishing strong and accident-free.