While in the military, your main objective was to keep our country safe. Now that you’re a veteran, you may be seeking a second career that’s equally fulfilling. Commercial drivers have the responsibility of moving the country’s commerce, and the industry is facing a driver shortage.
Military vets are some of the most disciplined, highly trained employees available, which is why many companies are seeking out veterans to fill this void in the workforce. If you are looking for your next career opportunity, Commercial Truck Trader has five reasons for military vets to make commercial driving a second career.
1. Utilize Your Military Skills
During active duty, you utilized a range of skills. A career as a commercial driver can give you a chance to put those skills to work again. Your technological skills, ability to handle high-stress situations, and self-direction make you an ideal candidate for commercial driving.
Along with your skills, training, and experience, you bring an unmatched discipline and goal-oriented focus to this civilian career. Whether you’re driving a tactical vehicle or delivery van, you should be organized, have clear communication, and be able to adjust to changing environments.
2. Use the GI Bill to Help Pay for Training
The GI Bill is one of the biggest benefits of being a member of the U.S. military. GI Bill programs can help cover the costs of college tuition and job training. For veterans pursuing a career in commercial driving, the GI Bill covers vocational and technical training, including truck driving.
In addition to the GI Bill, former members of the U.S. Armed Forces can also receive assistance paying for training through the Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Safety Training (CMVOST) Grant Program. Established by Congress, this program helps veterans transition into the commercial vehicle operation industry.
3. Ability to Skip Training
If you drove trucks in the military, you could skip the necessary driving school requirements based on your previous experience. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) offers a program that allows participants to substitute two years of experience operating a commercial motor vehicle, as part of their military job, for the skills portion of the CDL test.
According to the FMCSA, more than 40,000 service members and veterans have already taken advantage of the Military Skills Test Waiver Program, making them immediately eligible for commercial driving employment. This program is available in all 50 states.
In addition to the Military Skills Test Waiver, the FMCSA also offers the Even Exchange Program. This allows qualified military drivers, along with fuelers and equipment operators, to be exempt from the CDL knowledge test and exchange a military license for a CDL. The Even Exchange Program is currently available in 17 states, with more working on implementation.
4. Career Stability and Flexibility
Commercial driving offers career stability, with job opportunities to choose from nationwide. Companies are looking to hire long-term drivers, especially as the industry continues to grow.
There are several different types of commercial driving jobs available. With a CDL, you can work as a local driver and come home at the end of each day or spend more time on the road as an over-the-road driver. Depending on your preference, you can find a commercial fleet with a schedule that works best for your lifestyle.
Many commercial transportation companies are offering new drivers better incentives and higher pay to fill the ongoing driver shortage. And, as your experience grows, so will your earnings.
5. Travel While You Work
Similar to the military, commercial driving grants you the ability to travel and see new places while working. You could spend your work hours traveling scenic routes in a sleeper truck, something most cross-country travelers can only dream of. When you aren’t completing a run, you can spend your downtime exploring different sights that you wouldn’t be able to do with a regular desk job.
Whether you’re transitioning out of the military or you’re a veteran ready for something new, commercial driving can be a great opportunity to put your skills to work in a second career. Take advantage of the industry’s high demand for drivers to jump right in and hit the road. If you’re ready to get started, read our previous article for tips on writing the perfect truck driver resume.
And, if you’re looking to purchase a work truck or van, browse the nationwide selection of new and used vehicles on CommercialTruckTrader.com.