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Career and Education Opportunities for Truck and Tractor Operators in Chicago, Illinois

Truck and tractor operator career and educational opportunities abound in Chicago, Illinois. There are currently 32,640 working truck and tractor operators in Illinois; this should grow by 1% to about 32,790 working truck and tractor operators in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for truck and tractor operators are expected to grow by about 2.7%. In general, truck and tractor operators operate industrial trucks or tractors equipped to move materials around a warehouse, storage yard, or similar location.

Income for truck and tractor operators is about $14 per hour or $30,150 per year on average in Illinois. Nationally, their income is about $13 per hour or $29,070 annually. Earnings for truck and tractor operators are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Freight in Illinois and not quite as good as general Freight category earnings nationally.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can study to be a truck and tractor operator, among 180 schools of higher education total in the Chicago area. Truck and tractor operators usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a truck and tractor operator if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Truck and Tractor Operator

Truck and Tractor Operator video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, truck and tractor operators operate industrial trucks or tractors equipped to move materials around a warehouse, storage yard, or similar location.

Truck and tractor operators move levers and controls that operate lifting devices, such as forklifts, lift beams and swivel-hooks and elevating platforms, to load and stack material. They also examine product load for accuracy, and safely move it around the warehouse or facility to insure timely and complete delivery. Equally important, truck and tractor operators have to position lifting devices under or around loaded pallets and boxes, and secure material or products for transport to designated areas. Finally, truck and tractor operators manually or mechanically load and unload materials from pallets or other transport vehicles.

Every day, truck and tractor operators are expected to be able to maintain precise control of objects and devices through a range of movements. They need to coordinate both hands in a single activity.

It is important for truck and tractor operators to signal staff to discharge or level materials. They are often called upon to move controls to drive gasoline- or electric-powered vehicles or tractors and transport materials between loading and storage areas. They also perform routine maintenance on vehicles and auxiliary equipment, such as cleaning or replacing liquefied-gas tank. They are sometimes expected to manually or mechanically load and unload materials from pallets or other transport vehicles. Somewhat less frequently, truck and tractor operators are also expected to weigh materials or products, and record weight and other production data on tags or labels.

Truck and tractor operators sometimes are asked to hook tow vehicles to trailer hitches and fasten attachments, such as graders and winch cables to tractors, using hitchpins. They also have to be able to make use of or tend automatic stacking or cutting machines And finally, they sometimes have to weigh materials or products, and record weight and other production data on tags or labels.

Like many other jobs, truck and tractor operators must be reliable and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Bus Driver. Drive bus or motor coach, including regular route operations, charters, and private carriage. May assist passengers with baggage. May collect fares or tickets.
  • Crane Operator. Operate mechanical crane or tower equipment to lift and move materials, machines, or products in many directions.
  • Delivery Driver. Drive a truck or van with a capacity of under 26,000 GVW, primarily to deliver or pick up merchandise or to deliver packages within a specified area. May require use of automatic routing or location software. May load and unload truck.
  • Route Delivery Driver. Drive truck or other vehicle over established routes or within an established territory and sell goods, such as food products, including restaurant take-out items, or pick up and deliver items, such as laundry. May also take orders and collect payments. Includes newspaper delivery drivers.
  • Truck Driver. Drive a tractor-trailer combination or a truck with a capacity of at least 26,000 GVW, to transport and deliver goods, livestock, or materials in liquid, loose, or packaged form. May be required to unload truck. May require use of automated routing equipment. Requires commercial drivers' license.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Truck and Tractor Operator Training

City Colleges of Chicago-Olive-Harvey College - Chicago, IL

City Colleges of Chicago-Olive-Harvey College, 10001 S Woodlawn Ave, Chicago, IL 60628-1696. City Colleges of Chicago-Olive-Harvey College is a small college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,063 students. City Colleges of Chicago-Olive-Harvey College has a less than one year program in Ground Transportation, Other Specialties which graduated thirty-one students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.