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How to Become a Garbage Truck Driver in Illinois

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Although a career in trash collection as a garbage truck driver may not sound like the most glamorous career path; in reality, garbage truck drivers enjoy steady pay and regular employment. Garbage truck drivers in Illinois can find the most opportunity for employment in large cities and towns like Chicago and Peoria. Most communities throughout Illinois contract with private trash companies to collect their refuse. To gain employment as a garbage truck driver in Illinois, you will have to contact each employer separately. The process, however, is similar for most companies.

Research cities and towns in the state of Illinois where you would like to work. The requirements to work as a garbage truck driver differ for each community. Note common requirements that you can plan for before actually submitting applications. Greater opportunity will exist in the larger cities like Chicago, Springfield, Peoria, Aurora, Naperville, Joliet and Rockford, but small communities may also provide significant opportunities.

Visit the website of the municipality for which you plan to work. Determine which sanitation service it uses for its trash collection services. Some cities use more than one company, so you may need to apply to more than one company. If you plan on working for a smaller community, you may have to inquire through its city hall or human resource department.

Obtain the necessary commercial driver's license certifications. For instance, garbage truck drivers applying for positions with PDC Services, Inc., in Peoria, must have a CDL Class B License. The CDL license is a commercial driver's license that authorizes you to haul hazardous materials or drive vehicles with a gross manufacturer’s weight of more than 26,000 lbs.

Ensure in advance that you can meet all the other necessary job requirements. Again, this will vary by employer. PDC Services requires a clean driving record, three years of truck driving experience and the ability to pass a physical and a drug test.

Submit your resume and cover letter to the appropriate office or to the sanitation company for which you hope to work. Do not assume these are unnecessary formalities because you are applying for a trash collection position. Companies and government offices will still prefer applicants with a professional demeanor. Aside from PDC Services, consider other private companies like in Chicago. Companies there include Allied Waste Services, Waste Management, Recycling Systems, Inc., Ravenswood Disposal Services and City Haul, Inc. Each city will have established contracts with one or more service companies. Research each city to find out which companies to approach.


Jared Lewis is a professor of history, philosophy and the humanities. He has taught various courses in these fields since 2001. A former licensed financial adviser, he now works as a writer and has published numerous articles on education and business. He holds a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in theology and has completed doctoral work in American history.