It’s officially Women’s History Month! And while women in the trucking industry is nothing new, there has definitely been an increase in the number of females entering the field that has traditionally been male-dominated.
So, in honor of this month, and International Women’s Day on March 8, we have developed the ultimate trucking guide for women to encourage and aid the industry’s future drivers. This guide will go over how to get started, why more women should enter the field, and why “hiring women drivers is a viable and responsible option for reducing the driver shortage and boosting profitability.”
How to get started as a truck driver
Before starting your career as a truck driver, you will need to obtain proper training and necessary certifications, including a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) or Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) license and certificate. To acquire these licenses, you’ll need to complete driving school. However, each state is different, so it’s essential to research your state’s requirements for certification.
Trucking education and coaching/mentor programs are designed to prepare you for the road ahead and assist you in finding the right job within the industry. Some resources that will help you begin your journey to becoming a driver include:
- LeadHERtrucking from Women in Trucking (WIT);
- Engage Mentor Match through WIT;
- The Women in Trucking Foundation (WITF) Scholarship
- WIT Professional Development Certification Training
Once you’ve completed your education and training, it’s time to look for opportunities at companies that are reputable and a good fit for you.
When it comes to finding a job in the trucking industry, your mentor or trainer may be able to place you in a position that is right for you. However, if you find yourself searching on your own, you can try browsing job boards, bulletins, or company career sites. When vetting these potential workplaces, it’s vital to look for female-specific training options, positive reviews on sites like Glassdoor, a clean track record, and pictures of female drivers on their website.
What makes truck driving a great career for women?
Being a truck driver comes with its fair share of perks that make it a great career choice for women looking to be financially secure and independent, including:
- Accessible opportunities
- Competitive salaries
- Flexible scheduling
- Full employer benefits
- Professional training opportunities
- Thriving freelance market
- Variety of available jobs and career paths to choose from
Unlike most jobs, truck driving offers reliable income. Plus, it gives drivers the chance to work in an environment free of micromanagement with plenty of opportunities to use unique problem-solving skills. Being a truck driver also allows you to avoid the highly repetitive workforce that most women are corralled into.
Why do women make great truck drivers?
Not only are more and more women becoming interested in truck driving jobs, but recruiters are noticing studies and statistics that prove just how essential women truck drivers are to the industry.
Here are just 3 of the reasons why women make excellent drivers:
1. Lower driver turnover
Driver turnover for large fleets typically runs in the 90th percentile, according to the American Trucking Associations (ATA). However, the driver retention rate for women is much higher, meaning women are more likely to remain with one trucking company for a longer period of time than men. The ability to retain truck drivers allows carriers to avoid turnover and retraining costs, which can be quite expensive and time-consuming.
2. Fewer accidents
Despite the stereotypes, women truck drivers, statistically, are involved in fewer accidents, including rollovers and rear-end collisions. Carriers looking to “boost their profits by curtailing insurance and litigation costs should take note of the reliability and safety records being compiled by women in the truck driving workforce.”
3. Higher mileage
On average, women in trucking tend to log more miles than men. When drivers are able to keep their wheels turning for longer periods of time, they are able to earn more money for themselves and their employer.
4 tips for women truck drivers
1. Network, Network, Network.
One of the many beauties of being a truck driver is gaining access to the large and strong community of fellow drivers. This network of people is always willing to guide and support new drivers, so take full advantage of the wealth of knowledge and experience they offer. Who knows, networking could even help advance your career.
2. Plan your routes.
Planning your routes is a vital component of being a successful truck driver. Not only does it make your job easier by eliminating unnecessary stress, but it also keeps you safer and on time. Need help creating a schedule? Try using scheduling apps and online templates.
3. Find and maintain your support system.
Having a network of fellow professionals is as crucial to your success as having a personal support system when you come home. As a truck driver, you will spend a lot of time on the road, so it is helpful to have people who can handle things at home. This will offer you peace of mind while you are away.
4. Install a CB radio
CB radios have been an essential communication tool for truck drivers and show no signs of disappearing any time soon. Why? Compared to cell phones, CBs are more reliable in areas with poor reception, which can be vital when trying to contact someone for help. Drivers also use them to warn other drivers of upcoming road hazards, traffic, and more.