It’s Military Appreciation Month, a time to remember the impactful influence the military has on our country’s safety, security, and overall well-being. This month, we want to not only reflect and thank those who serve for their outstanding bravery and pride but also consider next steps to support their civilian lives once their time in the military has ended.
Veterans are often faced with a “what’s next” question when returning home to their daily lives. And selecting the right career to remain engaged while transitioning into the civilian workforce can be challenging. Becoming a commercial truck driver offers veterans an opportunity to balance their work and home lives while continuing to strive for safety and security.
Let’s take a look at a few reasons why veterans choose a career in the trucking industry:
Fast process to start driving and combat the driver shortage
According to The Street, an estimated 60,000 drivers are needed to meet the trucking industry’s demand as of 2018 — this number is predicted to triple by 2026. Truck driving provides qualified veterans with stable pay in a field that is constantly growing and seeking more workers.
Additionally, veterans returning home with the following criteria have the opportunity to receive their commercial driver’s license (CDL) with minimal schooling due to an exemption filed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA):
- At least 2 years’ experience driving a military truck similar to a commercial motor vehicle
- Application for a CDL within 1 year of exiting the military
- Passing a written knowledge test
- Possession of an active driver’s license
- No disqualifying offenses or serious traffic violations
CDL training for veterans that do not have these criteria is readily available and often shorter than it is for civilians due to their service.
Veterans, whether they have experience driving trucks or not, have performed their given roles under some of the most difficult conditions possible. Traits that are often acquired in the military that can be applied and set veterans up for success in other careers including trucking are:
- Teamwork — A background of working and communicating with others will ease the transition into working with back-office staff such as dispatchers and managers
- Discipline — Being punctual is a vital trait of a truck driver, and the drive to get things done on time and in the right way will be an asset to any veteran’s career
- Organization — Taking care of tasks in proper order and making actionable decisions
- Leadership — Understanding what it takes to step up to the plate and help others accomplish their job in the best, most efficient way possible
An emphasis on safety
The transportation industry is focused on safety. While there are steps we can take to reduce risk and optimize the safety of drivers and trucks on the road, accidents are not completely preventable and will happen at some point.
As many veterans often acquire a certain degree of medical training or certification while completing their service, they are a valuable asset to any trucking company. Having the knowledge that your drivers can help save lives and take care of injuries in the event of an accident is an invaluable benefit for fleet managers.
The specialized training, skills, and experience that veterans have developed throughout their service can directly apply to the trucking industry. A career as a truck driver is an ideal match for any veteran looking to be productive and successful in a growing field.
Visit the FMCSA’s Military Driver Programs website for more information on how veterans can start transitioning into a career in the transportation industry today.