Becoming licensed to drive and operate commercial trucks for a living can mean a big boost in your income. If you've just embarked on this career and are excited about what your life will entail once training has ended, you may still be somewhat unsure of what happens after training is completed. Knowing about the following actions now can prepare you.

Passing the Exam

Of course, you may expect to take both a written and physical driving test in order to earn the CDL, or commercial driver's license. However, many students take it for granted that they'll know what to do. Ensure that you have a clear list of the things you'll be asked to do during your driving test and perfect them before sitting for the exam. Some components of the test include: 

  • Air brake inspection
  • Sharp turn maneuvering
  • Avoiding excess pull-ups

In addition, know that a license might require a criminal background check. If you have a DUI charge, for instance, you must serve out your suspension period and might have some time restrictions regarding having passengers in the truck with you.

Get Your DOT Medical Card

Your CDL testing is not the only requirement for being a truck driver. The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that you submit to an approved physical exam to ensure you're physically able to perform your duties. You are not fully allowed to drive until you receive the DOT Medical Card that says that you've passed the physical.

This exam is likely to include information about your blood pressure, hearing, vision, and blood sugar readings. It's also likely you'll be asked to take drug tests as well. The test must be done by a medical examiner approved by your particular state; your driving school may have names available for you. You'll then need to have this physical every other year. 

Sign with Carriers

As someone driving independently, you may have a bit more flexibility, but when you're just beginning your career, it may be prudent to sign with one or a few carriers. They'll show you the ropes and provide you with steady work so you can get road experience as well as client interaction experience.

Prepare Yourself

You may expect long hours and life that isn't quite the same as in the past, but preparing your body for CDL trucking work is necessary if you want to remain healthy. Teach yourself how to use crockpots, and get used to liking celery, nuts, and healthy snack foods. Start exercising with free weights and have a plan for staying fit, even though you'll be sedentary for much of your work life.

CDL training can open many doors for your career. Knowing about the responsibilities and working ahead puts you in a position to handle them well. Discuss these actions with your instructors and others for advice and guidance.