How to Become a Truck Driver in Ontario
If you live in Ontario, and have decided that you are really interested in becoming a truck driver, do you know what it is going to take to be able to achieve this particular goal?
You need to do a lot more than simply get a trucking license. There are so many things you need to know, from driving skills to Ontario and other provincial regulations (after all, you will probably end up doing some long-haul trucking after a while in and outside of Canada). Trucking can be a really rewarding career, and it is one of the best ways to see the country while getting paid to do it.
If you are really serious about becoming a truck driver, here are 10 things you need that will get you on your way to your dream trucker career:
How to Proceed
To drive a truck in Ontario, you must possess a G class driver’s license or higher. This is a requirement from the Ministry of Transportation. If you already have a G1 or G2 class license, you may apply for an upgrade to become a fully licensed commercial driver. If you have a B, C or D class license, you can apply for the G class at any time.
A clean driving record
If you have certain violations on your driving record, especially a DUI within the last seven years, you are not eligible to receive a commercial truck driver’s license. This can change if you have had your conviction pardoned, and you can apply for an A-Z license. If you have a DUI, you may be able to get your license, but getting a job will be a totally different story because many companies will be apprehensive about hiring you.
You must be at least 18 years old
In order to be a licensed commercial truck driver, it is mandatory that you be at least 18 years of age, and actually, it is preferred if you are over 25 years old, due to insurance premiums. If you are under 25, your age may be a factor in getting a trucking job, as companies do not want to pay the higher insurance rates, and the older you are, the more experience you are assumed to have.
You must pass a MTO medical test
It is important that if you are going to be a truck driver that you be healthy. It may seem like an easy job, but there is actually a lot of stress involved. And, because you are sitting so much, it can wreak havoc on your body if you are not healthy. This is not something that is covered by O.H.I.P., so you must pay for this test yourself, which usually costs around $60. If you do have any medical problems, you may have to see a specialist to be able to get permission to get your license.
No criminal record
Because you could end up dealing with thousands, even millions, of dollars worth of merchandise, your future employers will want to know that you can be trusted. If you have a criminal record, it may make it quite difficult to get the job of your dreams. You may be able to get a job, but it will probably be one that does not pay what you really want to earn. As long as you have a clean criminal record, you can shoot for the stars, and go anywhere your career can take you.
You need training
Before you can get your trucking license, you will need to go through a training program. You would be wise to find a school that offers training in a big open area, so you don’t have to deal with other traffic until you are completely confident in your truck driving skills. Once you have mastered driving here, you can start to go out on the road and really test your driving skills with real traffic.
You must pass a written test
You have to be able to prove that you have really learned everything you need to know as a trucker, and your written test will be comprised of everything you learned in the classroom. There are 60 questions on the test, on such topics as A class, Z class, road signs and general traffic rules and regulations. You can take this test at any DriveTest location in Ontario.
You must pass a road test
Before you can really get out there on the open road, you need to pass an actual truck driving test. There are four components to this test: a pre-trip inspection, coupling and decoupling the truck, ninety degree backing manoeuvres and actual on-road driving. Once you pass this test, you will receive your trucking license, and you can begin your career. If you do not pass the test, it may mean that you need further training before you can take it again.
You will start on the bottom rung
Don’t think that you are going to be doing any long-haul trucking in your first few months of driving. Anyone you work for is going to want you to prove your skills before they will let you take their expensive vehicles too far from the main office. Once you have proven yourself, you will find yourself visiting all kinds of wonderful new places.
You don’t necessarily need your own truck
Unless you plan on becoming a private contractor, you will probably be driving company trucks. If you do want to eventually branch out on your own, you will have to go through the same process every other trucking company does, including buying, registering and insuring your truck(s).
There is a lot of work involved in becoming a truck driver, but once you have your license, the rewards can be so great.
You get to see all kinds of places you wouldn’t normally get to see. You get to have the freedom of being on the road. You also have the potential to make lots of money, which obviously is the most important factor of all.
Andrei Zakhareuski is the founder of Find-a-driving-school.ca. He has been writing for beginner Canadian drivers for several years.
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