Longtime drivers are retiring, and shipping demand is growing. Yet it’s not easy to find people willing to embrace the solitude and separation from family that comes with driving a semitrailer truck across the country for a living.
Long-haul truckers spend weeks on the road. They sleep in their cabs or strange beds, shower in truck stops, and miss graduations and birthdays.
“It is the least-desirable of all trucking jobs,” said Richard Hawkins, director of corporate transportation at Dakota County Technical College, which had to close its truck driving school because students don’t want to pay up to $5,000 for the training.
The American Trucking Association (ATA), which represents the big carriers, said in November that the need for drivers is “acute” and that “long-term trends could cause the shortage to explode in the next decade.” The association sees 100,000 jobs opening each year for the next decade due to retirement and turnover.
Learn to drive a truck on the back 40, and you can get a license and probably find work, though many companies require two years of experience or a certificate from an accredited driving school. The certificate generally takes 160 hours of training and costs up to $5,000.
“We’re able to get jobs to anybody who completes our program, obtains a commercial driving license and wants to work in the industry,” said Velvet Walker, who manages Century College’s transportation program in Afton.
Choosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor from