Do you enjoy being out on the road? If so, perhaps a career in ground transportation could be for you. Keep reading to learn about careers in this field and to learn about the distribution of this industry.
Ground transportation and distribution industries move people and products all over the nation. Bus drivers follow designated routes to transport passengers around a city or across states. Truck drivers move commodities all over the nation. Some drivers might transport the same goods on each trip, and others might transport different hazardous or unusual goods on each trip. Delivery drivers work in a specific region to move goods from distribution centers to homes and businesses.
Delivery drivers are able to go home each day after their routes are finished, but long-distance drivers are sometimes away from home for weeks at a time. Local bus drivers typically work five days each week, but they may work early in the morning or late at night. Public transit bus drivers may encounter dangerous passengers, increasing their risk of injury. Long distance drivers may suffer from fatigue and often work on weekends and holidays.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that overall employment of transportation workers was expected to be about the same as the average of all occupations between 2008 and 2018, with a seven percent increase in bus driving occupations and an 11% increase in truck transportation jobs (www.bls.gov). In 2010, delivery drivers earned a median annual salary of $28,630, bus drivers made $35,520 and truck drivers made $37,770.
Bus and truck drivers all need to have a commercial driver's license (CDL). Delivery drivers usually just need a standard driver's license. Schools offer CDL preparation programs, but you might be able to receive the necessary training from your employer when you are hired. Some programs may give you a course in truck driving and a course in job seeking, and others offer courses in operations and control skills. Companies and states may require you to take a driving course before you obtain your CDL, so it might be a good idea to check out the requirements before you jump into a CDL program. Bus drivers receive up to eight weeks of behind-the-wheel and classroom instruction.
Your opportunities for advancement depend on your career goals. As a truck driver, you can choose your desired routes or earn more money with experience. You may even be able to operate your own transportation business with some education to go along with your experience. At larger companies, you can become a supervisor or manager. Many employers prefer to hire managers or promote workers who have degrees in business.
A bachelor's degree in business might be a good option if you want to become a manager or operate your own transportation business. Some schools give you an option to choose a specific area of study within a business program, such as management, marketing or entrepreneurship. A concentration in management gives you course options in organizational behavior, supply chain management and operations planning.