There are a couple of ways to go about.
The first thing you need to get is a learners permit. This does not require any driving experience but does require a written test. You need to go to your local DMV office and get the books to study. You will need one just for the CDL. Then if you want to have different endorsements, you will need to get the books for those. Example: HAZMAT (hazardous materials): Bulk tanker or commercial bus. You would do well to study. The HAZMAT portion is tough. Many companies like you to have a HAZMAT endorsement so you can transport common items like car batteries and such. Don't worry about the tanker endorsement. Then, you will either have to attend a truck driving school or work for a company that trains their own drivers. Many are getting away from that. Schnieder National is one of the few who still do but they are charging for the training right now. You will have to call them and get the details. Other companies like JB Hunt, Werner and Swift only require minimal experience from 0-30 days and will bring you up to speed. These companies require you to have your CDL before coming on board so you will have to go to a driving school. Check around on those. Find out up front what kind of job placement assistance they have, how much they charge, and how long the training is. Ask them who some of the companies are that they place with. Then call those companies and tell them what you are planning to do and if you would be eligible to apply for them. This way a school won't get your money, hand you a CDL and then place you Bad Bob's Household Goods and Log Hauling Company. If you get into a halfway decent job, try to stick it out for at least a year (unless they are total crooks.) Once you get about 3 years of safe operation under your belt (with as few different companies as possible) you can get a job with just about anybody out there.
With a clean CDL in your pocket, you will always find work. It may not be the dream driving job but it keep a roof over your head and food on the table.
Truck driving is a tough job. 70-90 hour weeks. Never really knowing where you are going next and little at home time. But a driver his first year should make around $30,000 and with 3-4 years experience and with a good compoany, 38-50k a year.
To a professional driver, his CDL is his livelyhood. Tickets in your personal auto can affect your hiring. Speeding tickets are a huge no-no. Accidents with bodily injury are a real black flag. NO DUIs! Many go back over 10 years on your MVR (motor vehicle record) check.
Hope this helps.
Safety, Training and Compliance Manager for a trucking company. Over 1.5 million miles driving.
· 1 decade ago