5 tips for veterans returning to the job market as truck drivers

November 1, 2021 Christina DeBusk

A veteran who is considering truck driving and his family walking in the park

If there’s one thing that we want you to get from this article as a veteran who is re-entering the workforce in a driving position, it is that we thank you for your service.

Second, we also want you to know that we are committed to making your transition from active duty service member to civilian driver a success. That’s why we wanted to share a few tips for returning veterans looking for trucking jobs that can make this process as seamless and as enjoyable as it can be.

#1: Remember that you have quite a few skills that already make you a good truck driver

If you’ve never worked as a commercial truck driver, the idea of entering this field may bring about some anxiety. However, it’s important to remember that a lot of your skills acquired in the military make you perfect for this type of position.

In addition to operating heavy equipment and larger vehicles, you’re also good at remaining calm in difficult circumstances, like an unexpected traffic backup when you’re facing a deadline. Plus, you know how to respond in emergency situations, such as if you witness a car accident. These experiences already make you a good fit for the job.

#2: You can count your time driving military vehicles toward your CDL

Typically, to get a commercial driver’s license (CDL), you must pass a skills test. Under the Military Skills Test Waiver Program, as long as you’ve had two years’ experience safely operating military vehicles similar to those driven commercially, this portion of the test can be waived.

That is, as long as you apply within one year of having a military position that provided this driving experience. There are a few other requirements that have to be met as well, but the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that more than 19,000 current and former military personnel have already received this waiver so it may be worth checking into for you as well.

#3: The FAST Act provides veterans certain advantages

FAST stands for Fixing America’s Surface Transportation and this act was signed into legislation on December 4, 2015. In it, there are certain provisions for veteran drivers.

For instance, it offers time extensions if you’re applying for the skills waiver. It also enables you to get your Department of Transportation (DOT) medical certification exam—which is needed for the CDL license—from the Department of Veterans Affairs if you wish.

#4: Continuing your fitness regimen may help

The military is known for getting service members in top shape. While it may not seem like it, driving truck is a physical job. From securing your load to constantly getting up into and down from the truck, retaining your higher level of fitness can make all of these actions easier.

This might involve working out before you even start driving or exercising as a way to wind down after a long day behind the wheel. You can also fit in little bouts of movement throughout the workday, such as doing a few jumping jacks every time you stop for a restroom break or jogging around the restaurant parking lot before eating lunch.

#5: If you feel like you’re lost or struggling, ask for help

Transitioning back into the workforce is a major change. So, it’s not unreasonable to think that there may be a few challenges along the way. If you’re finding that this transition is difficult or that you’re struggling with some aspects of it, reach out for help.

Talk to your supervisors or colleagues about what you’re feeling. There are so many people who are ready and willing to help guide you through the process. They can answer your questions, help you overcome obstacles, and create a more seamless and enjoyable experience.

Centerline is committed to helping our veterans in any way we can. Search for avaliable jobs here or get in contact with a member of our team to learn more about our company here. We appreciate your service and are here for you in return!

About the Author

Christina M. DeBusk creates small business content for a variety of publications, some of which include Businessing Magazine, Compendent, Chiropractic Economics, and more. She is also the author behind the column, "The Successful Solopreneur.

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