First year as a truck driver

What to expect as a truck driver in your first year

The first year is the hardest year — no matter what job you have. But it’s worth it if you stick it out. Ultimately, your mindset will determine your success. Use this first-year walk-through to set realistic expectations and anticipate what’s coming. Then, tackle it with confidence.   

  • Month 1 — Truck driving school

    Month 1 — Truck driving school

    Some schools’ courses are longer, some are shorter, but either way, you can get the training you need and get your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) in about a month.

    We go into this more elsewhere: How to become a truck driver

  • Month 2 — Starting with Schneider

    Month 2 — Starting with Schneider

    Weeks 5-7 — Paid Schneider orientation

    Once you’ve chosen Schneider as your company of choice (you can even do that before or during driving school!), graduated from driving school and received your CDL, you’ll lock in an orientation start date. Schneider has classes starting weekly. Gear up with a combination of classroom and in-truck training, plus over-the-road time with a training engineer.

    More on this elsewhere too: Inexperienced truck driver orientation

    Week 8 — Your first truck and your first independent load

    You’ll get the keys to your truck on the last day of orientation, head home for a couple days to unwind and then return for day one on your own or with your team partner. It’ll be a little nerve-racking, but you’ll be ready. Your training engineer won’t be in the seat next to you anymore, but you’ll have trained for this moment. Do your pre-trip, double check your trip plan, trust your preparation, stay focused and start earning!

    Handy resources/refreshers for peace of mind:

  • Months 3-5 — Hitting the road, the mountain worth climbing

    Months 3-5 — Hitting the road, the mountain worth climbing

    The first three months of any job are tough. They just are. You’re a newbie and there will be times when you’ll be frustrated. You’ll do something embarrassing at some point. You’ll struggle through cycles of doubt, reassurance and confidence.

    But trust us — it will be worth it. We have over 5,000 drivers in company history with more than 1 million consecutive safe miles, and every single one of them started out feeling this way. So stay the course, and let us help along the way.

    Your new driver survival guide:


How much money can you really expect to earn your first year?


We’re ready to help you start your journey.