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Is Trucking Considered a Trade? (7 Tips For Newbies)

If we had to take a wild guess, we’d say you stumbled upon this page because you’ve been contemplating joining the trucking workforce.

Well, it’s either that or you’re just here browsing the interwebs, trying to seek more information for your college essay.

Regardless of your reason, we’re glad you’re here. But before we get into the nitty-gritty detail of it all, this is what you need to know…

A summary on whether Trucking is Considered a Trade:

Trucking is considered a trade as it involves the movement of goods and services from producers all the way down to consumers. Trading basically refers to the exchange of commodities in any economy, and that wouldn’t be possible without trucking, which facilitates movements in a supply chain.

What is a Trade?

A trade refers to any activity that involves the buying and selling of different products and services, with the intention of making a profit, or with the goal of achieving optimal customer satisfaction.

But some experts prefer the simpler definition, which describes it as the process of transferring goods and services from a producer, to a wholesaler, and then to a retailer who’ll ensure the buy gets to that consumer looking to satisfy a particular want.

Irrespective of what your preferred definition is, one thing is crystal clear — for any activity to be considered a trade, there have to be two things: an exchange of goods and services, and the need to satisfy a want.

Is Trucking a Skilled Trade?

To understand whether trucking is a skilled trade or not, you first have to understand what exactly trucking is, and what’s considered a skilled trade. So let’s start by answering the question of…

What’s trucking?

According to the Oxford dictionary, trucking is the process, or rather action, of transporting goods and services from point A to B, with the help of a truck. The goods can be transported in containers or boxes, while the services are in the form of professionals.

What’s a Skilled Trade?

In layman’s language, a skilled trade can be any occupation that demands specialized knowledge and training.

It’s the knowledge that can only be gotten from an educational institution like a college or technical school, and training that can only be acquired from professionals with eons of experience in a particular field.

Because trucking is a profession that one can only get into after obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License, and then going through the test programs designed by licensed trucking companies, it’s safe to assume it’s a skilled trade.

Is a Truck Driver a Skilled Worker?

Now, this is where things start getting a tad bit confusing, especially if you’ve not been paying close attention.

The thing is, even though trucking is considered a skilled trade, as far as the law is concerned, a truck driver can never be pigeonholed as a skilled worker. And here’s why:

We don’t really know what goes on in other countries, but here in the US, you have to have at least two years of training experience under your belt, before being considered a skilled worker.

In addition, that training program should not be of a seasonal nature, and it has to be relevant to the job opportunity that you’re eyeing up.

What is a Truck Criver classified as?

In our job market, we have three types of labor. There’s the unskilled, the semi-skilled, and finally, the skilled labor.

Workers that fall under the unskilled labor bracket don’t have any formal education or possess any skill whatsoever. A good example is a janitor.

On the tail end of that spectrum, you’ll find skilled labor. And those working under this umbrella have been equipped with problem-solving skills only acquired after being trained for years, in a particular field.

We’re talking about physicians, law enforcement agents, nurses, educators, etcetera.

Truck drivers fall somewhere in the middle, which is semi-skilled labor. They don’t have the advanced training which is a prerequisite for a skilled worker, but they do have some degree of training that puts them way above the unskilled labor category.

Is it Worth being a Truck Driver?

Well, that depends on how you look at it. If you’re thinking of getting into something that offers job security and doesn’t demand too much training, then it’s probably worth it.

But if you’re only thinking about becoming a truck driver so that you could be the next Jeff Bezos in the near future, it’s the wrong business for you, buddy.

For the record, we’re not saying that all truck drivers earn a meager salary. A few of them have actually been fortunate enough to be employed by trucking companies that have heavily invested in employee welfare.

Problem is, we all can’t work for the same company. The vacant positions are always limited, and competition is cutthroat.

How Much do Truckers Make a week?

You’ll be surprised to learn that truck drivers normally earn a median annual wage, despite the fact that they spend so many hours on the road.

The industry pays the drivers an average of 25 to 40 cents per mile, so whatever one truck driver earns per week could be more or less than what the next one earns.

But if, let’s say, they all cover 2500 miles a week, they would earn something between $700 to $1000.

A 1000 bucks per week is good money for someone who’s just starting to build a family or someone who’s retired and doesn’t have inundating financial responsibilities. It’s not something you look forward to if you have kids going to college.

Check out this cool video on what it’s really like to be a truck driver…

Is Truck Driving Stressful?

Very stressful. And this is something that a lot of people fail to understand. You see for some reason, they think that truck driving is the same as driving to the grocery store to grab a few household items, and then heading back home. But it’s nothing like that.

The demands of the job are ridiculously high, and that’s why we often say those drivers are the most vulnerable lot when it comes to various mental illnesses like depression.

To be successful as a driver in this industry, you have to find a way to manage your hours properly, ensure all the deadlines are met, service the vehicle every so often, and learn how to navigate legal and regulatory hurdles.

Are Truck Drivers in Demand?

If you take a quick look at the demand and supply curve, the first thing that you’ll notice is that the demand for truck drivers is always on an upward trajectory.

And this is primarily because it’s being influenced by the demand for goods and services, which is exponentially increasing year after year.

Trucking companies understand that the only way they can keep that supply chain moving at a consistent pace is by hiring more drivers.

Now that we’ve mentioned it, we’ve just recalled a time when the American Trucking Associations (ATA) went out of their way to collect information on the different challenges faced by the industry.

If memory serves us right, we think that was about two to three years ago. What were their findings, you ask? Shocking, to say the least.

They learned that the industry was 60,800 drivers short, and a significant fraction of those on the job were already in their sunset years. Meaning, in the next 5 or so years, the situation will even worsen.

How do I start a Career as a Truck Driver?

Like with any other career, you first have to do your due diligence. Research about the company you’re hoping to be recruited in, and everything there is to know about trucking.

Also, never forget the fact that different companies have different requirements.

Some will only ask you to produce a Commercial Driver’s License during the screening process, while others will request specific endorsements to accompany the license.

All in all, the steps are this simple:

  • Research the industry
  • Check the requirements
  • Go to a driving school
  • Get a Commercial Driver’s License
  • Apply for the position
  • Get the job
  • Be part of the company’s extensive training program

The one thing that you’ll love about truck driving, is the camaraderie among truck drivers. It’s like spending time with family, away from your actual family.