Becoming a Dump Truck Driver

Though it's not a career path considered by many, driving a dump truck can be an interesting and rewarding line of work. It can be difficult and dirty, but it can also be financially rewarding, and allows you to be an important part of some very interesting projects.

The first step you need to take in order to become a dump truck driver is to take the test for the Commercial Driver's License, or CDL. You can take this test at your local branch of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You will need to take both a written and driving test, and will need to schedule this in advance. Typically, DMV offers CDL tests one Saturday every month. If you have never driven any kind of truck before, it may be helpful to take a class that can help you prepare for both exams. These classes are typically one to two days long.

There are two types of CDL: Class A and Class B. Class A will qualify you to drive semi-trailer trucks, while a Class B CDL is usually the minimum required to drive a dump truck. Most employers find it more difficult to find Class A holders, so if you take the time to get one, you will probably be more sought-after.

Another thing you can do, especially if you lack experience in operating any type of heavy equipment, is to enroll in a heavy equipment operations course. These courses are frequently offered by your local community college. Or you can check with the National Heavy Equipment Operator's School to see if they offer programs in your local area. Even though you may not wish to spend any money in order to get into this line of work, it is frankly very difficult to break in if you have no experience.

A good school will give you the background you need for an employer to be willing to hire you. If it is a reputable program, companies will know that they will have taught you the basics and give you enough practical training that you will be able to start working right out of the gate. Another bonus is that these courses will often train you to operate other types of heavy equipment, which will make you even more valuable to the company that hires you.

Costs at these schools run from $2700 to $6000 for a Class A CDL and $750 to $2400 for a Class B CDL. Some companies offer tuition reimbursement if you sign on to work for them, so be sure to ask about that.

If you cannot afford a school, or if there is none available in your area, look for companies that are willing to provide on the job training. You may have to search a bit, but there are companies out there that prefer to hire new drivers and train them to drive "their way." This can be an excellent opportunity for someone with no experience.
Even though it requires some training, driving a buket truck is still a fairly well-compensated career in exchange for a small up-front investment. If you like to drive, but want to be home every night, it could be just the job for you!