Photo Credit: Scania Group
Military service can be a powerful advantage in the job market, and it’s easy to see why. The ability to maintain professionalism and perform under demanding circumstances has applications across a number of different jobs. Commercial truck drivers are asked to perform under pressure and have a number of organizational, technical and skill-related areas that make the job ideally suited to military veterans.
Here are six reasons why:
The transportation industry works because everyone does their part to get cargo to its destination on time. Hiring managers need drivers they can rely on, and veterans are a great source for dependable employees. They understand that military service has taught the veteran that not being early enough is the same thing as being late. They realize that those service members who could not figure out punctuality likely became a grease spot on the bottom of a sergeant or chief petty officer’s shoe long before ever receiving a DD-214.
You don’t need to be an 88M to have skills that fit well with a career as a truck driver. While a civilian might marvel at the sheer size of an 18-wheeler, an M109 or LCAC driver is probably not going to be phased at the prospect of getting behind the wheel. Operating heavy machinery is relatively commonplace in many quarters of military service, and while the specifics of operating a semi-truck require training and practice, the familiarity that many veterans bring toward handling large, expensive pieces of equipment can help ease the transition.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median pay for commercial tractor-trailer drivers as $40,605, but the American Trucking Associations (ATA) reports that a long-haul driver for a private fleet like Walmart earns an average of $73,000 per year. In 2015, there was a shortage of 48,000 drivers. How’s that for job security? If the shortage persists as the economy grows, it will only push up drivers’ wages.
If the desire to keep themselves and their comrades safe isn’t incentive enough to follow safety protocols, service members know that safety mishaps are guaranteed to unleash a wave of soul-crushing safety briefings upon the command. The result is that veterans know exactly how to memorize and enact a safety plan. This is an ideal skill for drivers of hazardous materials. While civilian truck drivers generally don’t need to worry about hostile fire on the road, hauling of dangerous materials can certainly put a damper in the day of anyone who is unable to comply with the proper handling instructions of hazardous materials.
Attention to Detail
Much like being on time, the veteran who fails to grasp the importance of attention to detail is likely to have that lesson vigorously and repeatedly imparted upon them by a supervisor until the problem resolves itself. The frequently dangerous nature of military environments means that attention to detail is an absolutely crucial skill to learn. Employees who are able to attend to the little things, whether they be latching the trailer door, ensuring that cargo is properly signed for, or not leaving the keys in the ignition at a rest stop, have a strong value for trucking companies.
While most truck driving jobs don’t require significant educational requirements, some companies require prospective employees to have completed a truck driving school to be considered for employment. The cost of such a school pales in comparison to spending four years in a university, but can still be prohibitively expensive for workers looking for a career change. Luckily, veterans have access to a number of VA programs that can help cover those costs. The Post-9/11 GI Bill can be used to pay for non-degree programs such as trucking school, and is potentially an avenue to help veterans break into the field or compete for better paying jobs. Other programs, such as Vocational Rehab, may be available for some veterans, so always make sure to check with the VA to see what you qualify for!
If truck driving sounds like a good fit, CSX a military friendly trucking company is currently looking to recruit veterans for truck driving positions. Click the banner below and search “truck driving”.