Careers Related to Your CDL License
You may be surprised to hear that you can do much more with your CDL than drive a truck. In fact, there are many different types of jobs out there related to your CDL that will allow you to be home daily.
Jobs Related to Your CDL
Some of these jobs won’t even require you to have a CDL license, but the understanding you have of trucks and logistics should be a strong selling point. Plus, it’s always a good idea, whether you’re using your CDL license or not, to keep it updated. You never know when you may decide to hit the road again.
Truck driver training instructor: If you enjoy teaching, becoming a truck driver instructor may be a great fit for you! In most states, you will be required to have at least 2 years of experience, so this career is pefect for people with prior experience. If you've driven for a while but want a change of pace, then you might enjoy teaching the trade.
Terminal manager: Terminal managers run warehouses. Their jobs often include many aspects of sales, pick up, handling any complaints, and managing the entire properity. Terminal managers also manage drivers, so having a deep understanding of their job is highly beneficial. You will also typically need to have terminal experience before you can start this position. If you can combine that with CDL experience, you may be perfect for the job.
Transportation manager: As a transportation manager, you are responsible for the company's entire transporation department. You may have to work on budgeting shipping costs by calculating cost per mile pay for drivers, or overseeing the shipping and receiving of supplies. This career may also require a bachelor’s degree. Being a transportation manager can complement a CDL nicely since you already have an inside perspective of the transportation industry.
Fleet manager: To become a fleet manager, you may need experience beyond your CDL, but it depends on your employer. Most likely, you'll be hired by a freight transportation company and need a high school diploma or a GED equivalent. Some companies may require an associate's degree. You'll be tasked with managing and troubleshooting any and all service issues that arise, and developing a plan to address these issues. You will work very closely with drivers, so your CDL experience will serve you well in this role.
Dispatcher: As a dispatcher, you work behind the scenes to ensure drivers have the right cargo and are headed toward their correct destination at the appointed time. Even with the ELDs, drivers will check in with you when they arrive at a destination. You may touch base with a driver if they are carrying a hot load (something that needs to be delivered quickly). Since dispatchers work in shifts, you might find yourself working some evenings as well.
Bus driver: You can use your CDL to work as a bus driver. There may be a one to three month training process, but with your CDL, it could take less time. It's important to note that you will need endorsements on your CDL to work as a bus driver. You'll want a Passenger endorsement (P) to drive a regular bus, and a separate School Bus endorsement (S) if you want to drive a school bus. Bus drivers typically are home daily!
Delivery driver: If you have a high school diploma or GED equivalent, then you may be able to be trained by a company as a delivery driver. The training period should take about a month, and it will prepare you to drive safely on crowded streets, familiarize you with general company policies, and more. Most delivery driving jobs do not require a CDL, just a clean driving record. However, if you are a driver who is skilled enough to earn a CDL, you may stand out during the hiring process. At some companies, you might be required to start as a warehouse package loader to get your foot in the door. Find warehouse jobs hiring near you here.
Recruiter: Recruiters find people who they think would be good future drivers and get them to work for a company. You may visit schools and talk to students, run a booth at a job fair, or work online to select already experienced candidates. You will be responsible for ensuring the drivers you recruit meet the Department of Transportation's guidelines, as well as being familiar with a company's policies and procedures. You may need an associate degree or higher to work as a recruiter, but a CDL can help you stand out.
Diesel mechanic (tractor-trailer tech): Maybe you love the idea of working under the hood of a truck instead of being behind the wheel. If that’s the case, you may want to consider becoming a diesel mechanic. You don’t necessarily need your CDL for this career, but it can be an added bonus. A high school diploma or GED is necessary if you want to go into a diesel mechanic program.
Taxi driver/chauffeur: To drive a taxi or work as a chauffeur, you don’t need your CDL, but you will be required to have a taxi or limo license. Training generally doesn't extend longer than two weeks, but is required before you set off on your own. If you drive a limo and plan to transport more than 16 people (including yourself), you will then need a CDL license with a Passenger (P) endorsement. As a taxi driver, you can choose to purchase your own cab, or lease one through the dispatch company you’re working for.
Uber/Lyft: Both Uber and Lyft have driver requirements you’ll need to meet before you can start your gig. You won't need your CDL to drive for Uber or Lyft. Driving for Uber or Lyft can be great supplemental income for an already experienced driver. You'll have the opportunity to drive your own car, select which clients you'd like to transport, and make money doing something you enjoy — driving.
Yard switch operator: Yard switch operators are also known as trailer jockeys, yard drivers, or yard hostlers. To begin this career, you must have your CDL. This position requires some on-the-job training. You need to be comfortable driving a tractor trailer, as well as a yard mule, because you’ll be moving trailers in and out of the docks.
Owner/Operator: Though this is still considered truck driving, it offers much more flexibliy than being a company driver. Owner operators own their trucks and create their own schedules. However, with this comes some significant out-of-pocket expenses like truck maintenance, insurance, taxes, and the cost of the truck payment itself. You can select which loads you'd like to haul and the carriers you would like to service. Owner-operators typically earn siginificantly more than OTR truck drivers.
Having a CDL will almost always be a significant industry feature that will make you stand out among other applicants in these related fields. Even if you do not want to be an OTR driver, a CDL will work to your advantage in the careers mentioned above — and many others. Find jobs realated to your CDL here.