If the world of trucks and trucking has always fascinated you, a career as a dump truck driver may be a path to consider. The one constant, regardless of the type of truck you drive, is that you need a commercial driving license. And the type of commercial license dictates what you can drive. Dump truck drivers work as daily employees. They are salaried or paid by the hour and have the advantage of being home with friends or family every evening. The career track offers a sustainable wage and advancement possibilities.
Commercial Driving Licensing
There are three classes of commercial driving licenses: Class A, B and C. Long-haul truckers with loads of over 26,001 pounds drive with a Class A license. They are certified to be behind the wheel of tractor-trailer combinations. Class B licensees drive straight trucks with loads over 26,001 pounds, or they can tow up to 10,000 pounds. A dump truck operator holds a Class B license.
Education and Training
Graduating from high school or getting your GED is the first requirement toward getting your commercial license. Federal and state regulations set the standards for the Class B license needed to drive a dump truck, and private trucking schools, or even courses at community colleges or vocational schools, provide the education needed. Written and driving tests are also administered that prove your ability to handle heavy vehicles.
Most states do not require that a Class B license holder take a driving course. Dump truck driving schooling takes up to two months of training, and many opt to forego the classes and jump right into taking the written and practical tests. However, employers do look for drivers who not only have experience, but back that experience with education.
Maintaining a violation-free driving record is a prerequisite that employers look for. They are trusting you with machinery that costs thousands of dollars, not to mention paying for the liability insurance they must maintain.
Continuing Professional Education
Getting your Class B license is just the beginning of your continuing education. Many hauling companies require further education and special licensing endorsements, especially for drivers with less than one year of experience. Numerous trucking associations open to members of the industry advocate continued education and promote safe driving and job opportunities.
Getting additional endorsements to your Class B license, such as transporting HAZMAT materials and operating tank vehicles, enhances your earning abilities.
Dump Truck Driving Experience
With a Class B license in hand, you then need to get some real experience behind the wheel. Entry-level positions and apprenticeships serve to give you the confidence needed when hauling over 26,001 pounds of metal and load. Maneuvering in city traffic, dealing with inclement weather, honing your eye-hand coordination and judging the perspectives needed to propel your load forward safely can only be learned through experience.
Salaries for Dump Truck Drivers
Curiously, the salary for beginning drivers is not much different from that for experienced dump truck haulers. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies dump truck drivers into the category of Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers. The 2018 median pay for this class of drivers was $43,680 per year or $21.00 per hour. The job outlook was estimated to grow 6 percent through 2026. Dump truck drivers averaged less, and the best measure of local wages for this occupation is to study the classified ads for companies looking for drivers.
Finding a Job
An area with housing and commercial growth is a prime location for finding dump truck work. Look for trucks lining up to remove earth as land is prepared for building. This is an indication of where your skills are needed. Agricultural transportation and inner-city redevelopment are other venues where dump truck drivers are needed.