How to become a Truck Driver

Truck drivers use heavy vehicles to transport goods and materials from one location to another.

Personal requirements for a Truck Driver

  • Enjoy practical work
  • Mechanical aptitude
  • Able to drive safely
  • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • Safety-conscious
  • Meet any age restrictions that may apply

Education & Training for a Truck Driver

You can work as a truck driver without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job. Applicants must also undertake practical and written tests and obtain one or more heavy vehicle licences before commencing work. You can also become a truck driver through a traineeship. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.


Additional information

You may be required to hold special licences when transporting certain cargoes, especially if you carry dangerous substances. In order to qualify for these licences, you must submit a medical certificate, an acceptable driving record and provide evidence of attending a competency training course administered by a Registered Training Organisation.

Duties & Tasks of a Truck Driver

Truck drivers:

  • Drive defensively and handle hazardous road conditions
  • Load goods onto the truck either by hand, or by using a forklift or other lifting equipment
  • Make sure loads are correctly placed and secured to avoid damage to the truck or goods
  • Couple and uncouple trailers
  • Perform pre- and mid-trip vehicle and security inspections
  • Carry out basic vehicle maintenance
  • Drive vehicles to their destination and unload
  • Carry out administrative duties, such as checking items against the inventory, recording damage, collecting payments and issuing receipts
  • Enter information into in-cab electronic equipment to record required trip information
  • Maintain a work diary with details of trips.

Tasks

  • Estimating weights to comply with load limitations and ensuring safe distribution of weight.
  • Observing safety requirements when loading and unloading vehicles.
  • Manoeuvring vehicles into position for loading and unloading.
  • Verifying loading documents, checking condition of goods and obtaining certification of deliveries.
  • Loading and unloading vehicles using lifting and tipping devices.
  • Making regular quality checks of vehicles to ensure they can be driven safely.
  • Ensuring goods are stowed and securely covered to prevent loss and damage.

Working conditions for a Truck Driver

Truck drivers may drive company-owned vehicles or be owner-drivers. Owner-drivers must obtain their own delivery work. Truck drivers carry a wide variety of goods, including flammable substances, raw materials, building materials, manufactured goods, livestock and refrigerated products. This profession often requires early starts, long shifts and days away from home, as well as travelling long distances to country, interstate or remote areas. Some trucks are equipped with bunks, televisions, refrigerators and ergonomically designed seats.


Employment Opportunities for a Truck Driver

Truck drivers may be employed by commercial firms, mining, manufacturing and transport companies, and government authorities, or they may be self-employed. Demand for truck drivers depends on the economy and on competition from other carriers such as rail and air freighters.


Specializations

Pilot Vehicle Operator

A pilot vehicle operator accompanies trucks carrying oversized loads above the length or width regulated by the transport department. Pilots warn other road users that an oversized load is ahead or oncoming and, when required, clear the way for the oversized load, or prevent other road users from overtaking or interfering with the cargo. Pilots in some states and territories may also have the power to direct traffic.

Refrigerated Goods Driver

A refrigerated goods driver transports refrigerated goods in specially designed vehicles or trailers which are heavily insulated or fitted with refrigeration equipment. Drivers will be required to service the refrigeration equipment and check the temperature of the refrigerated areas at regular intervals. Drivers must also adhere to health and food hygiene regulations.

Tow Truck Driver

A tow truck driver removes broken down or crashed vehicles from the roadway. Tow truck drivers may be called out at all hours of the night and in bad weather. Tow truck drivers require a police clearance.

Tip Truck Operator

A tip truck operator transports solid materials, such as gravel and sand, to and from building sites or mine sites. Tip truck operators are usually required to work off-road.

Bulk Liquid/Pressurised Gas Driver

A bulk liquid/pressurised gas driver carries liquids/pressurised gases in specially designed trailers (tankers), usually for chemical companies or mining organisations. Drivers need to be aware of safety issues regarding loading, unloading, handling, separation of dangerous goods and emergency response. Drivers must also follow safety guidelines for Road Tank Vehicles for Dangerous Goods, as specified by Standards Australia.

Car Carrier Driver

A car carrier driver transports vehicles between the ports, holding depots and car dealerships locally or over long distances.

Cash-in-Transit Operator

A cash-in-transit operator drives armoured vehicles carrying cash and other valuables. They provide surveillance, manually handle cash, operate automated teller machine (ATM) combinations and service ATMs. They operate vehicle security and emergency communication devices and handle firearms and other personal protection devices. Cash-in-transit operators usually require a police clearance, a security guard licence, a firearms licence and a Provide First Aid Certificate.

Concrete Agitator Operator

A concrete agitator operator transports concrete between cement plants and building sites, using specially designed vehicles which mix the concrete to prevent it from setting.

Dangerous Goods/Explosives Driver

A dangerous goods/explosives driver carries dangerous goods or explosives, usually for chemical companies or mining organisations. Drivers need to be aware of safety issues regarding loading, unloading, handling, separation of dangerous goods and emergency response.

Heavy Haulage Driver

A heavy haulage driver transports oversized loads such as transportable houses or machinery using specially designed trailers. Some oversized loads are required to be accompanied by a pilot vehicle operator.

Heavy Truck Driver

A heavy truck driver drives heavy trucks, requiring a special licence, to transport bulky goods or materials. They may specialise as livestock transporters, log haulers, multi-combination drivers and tanker drivers.

Livestock Transport Driver

A livestock transport driver transports livestock, usually sheep or cattle, between farms and abattoirs or ports for export. Their work often involves long hours and extended periods of physical activity outdoors while loading and unloading stock. They may be required to drive in remote rural areas and on unsealed roads.

Logging Truck Driver

A logging truck driver carries unprocessed timber between plantations and timber mills. Trucks/trailers are usually fitted with a log loading device, which requires a licence to operate. They may be required to drive in remote rural areas and on unsealed roads.

Truck Driver

Truck drivers use heavy vehicles to transport goods and materials from one location to another.

  • Average age
    Average age
    47 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Moderate
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    3% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    49 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $1,509
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Lower skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    85% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    209,300 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 0.7%
    NSW: 30.7%
    NT: 0.9%
    QLD: 22.9%
    SA: 7.0%
    TAS: 2.3%
    VIC: 23.1%
    WA: 12.4%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 0.4%
    20-24: 3.6%
    25-34: 16.6%
    35-44: 21.2%
    45-54: 29.8%
    55-59: 13.7%
    60-64: 9.7%
    65 and Over: 5%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 3.8%
    Bachelor degree: 2.1%
    Below Year 10: 12.1%
    Certificate III/IV: 26.8%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 0.5%
    Year 10 and below: 41.6%
    Year 11: 8.5%
    Year 12: 16.6%
    Years 11 & 10: 37.2%
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