Once you earn your commercial driver’s license (CDL), there are many different types of trucking jobs you can pursue. However, most drivers start their career with an over-the-road (OTR) position, even if they switch later on. Experienced drivers typically advise rookies to take this path, and you’ll also notice that the majority of entry-level CDL jobs are OTR.
Here are some of the reasons for this:
1. Exposure to New Situations
OTR truckers are exposed to a variety of different situations and driving conditions as they drive across the country. For example, long-haul drivers often get experience with icy roads, traffic jams, mountain driving, sudden changes in weather, and more, just during the course of their first year. Whether you plan to transition into a different type of trucking job or continue with OTR, this first year is a great opportunity to build your driving skills as you overcome these types of challenges.
2. Space Out Challenges
Although OTR does expose you to a variety of challenging driving conditions, these times are spaced out over various hauls, and much of your time will be spent on the highway. You’ll be able to focus on learning new skills and although this isn’t without its challenges, it’s less stressful than constantly doing the most difficult tasks every day.
By contrast, local jobs (and many regional jobs) often involve backing into loading docks several times a day and driving on crowded city streets. OTR still exposes you to these challenges, but you don’t have to do them all day every working day.
3. Better Pay
It’s worth noting that your specific rate of pay will vary depending on the company you work for, and will change as you gain experience. That being said, OTR typically offers the highest-paying job options for new trucking school graduates due to the high demand for these types of drivers. In addition, many motor carriers offer tuition reimbursement to help you pay off the cost of trucking school.
4. Insurance Purposes
The above reasons are related to why OTR is typically the best job to start with from the point of view of drivers. In addition to this, it’s helpful to also realize why there are fewer entry-level local or regional jobs from the point of view of trucking companies. Insurance is one of the major reasons for this.
Insurance is a significant expense for motor carriers, and new CDL holders cost more to insure than those with experience. Additionally, since local and regional jobs have more challenging conditions on a daily basis, there are additional risks associated with insuring new drivers in those positions. This is why most local or regional routes require six months to a year of previous trucking experience. Conversely, since OTR drivers are more in-demand, entry-level positions driving long haul are more accessible for new graduates.
Earn Your CDL and Start Driving
At Yuma Truck Driving School, you can earn your CDL in as little as four weeks and our job placement assistance team will help you find entry-level positions that match your needs, goals, and desires.