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Career and Education Opportunities for Truck Drivers in Chicago, Illinois

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for truck drivers in the Chicago, Illinois area. Currently, 78,800 people work as truck drivers in Illinois. This is expected to grow 15% to about 90,580 people by 2016. This is better than the national trend for truck drivers, which sees this job pool growing by about 12.9% over the next eight years. In general, truck drivers 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.

The income of a truck driver is about $19 per hour or $39,650 per year on average in Illinois. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $17 per hour or $37,270 annually on average. Truck drivers earn more than people working in the category of Freight generally in Illinois and more than people in the Freight category nationally.

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

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Truck Driver

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

In general, truck drivers 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. They also may be required to unload truck.

Truck drivers check vehicles to insure that mechanical and emergency equipment is in good working order. They also report vehicle defects or damage to the vehicles. Equally important, truck drivers have to check all load-related documentation to insure that it is complete and accurate. They are often called upon to make use of equipment, such as truck cab computers and telephones, to provide needed data with bases or other drivers. They are expected to maintain logs of working hours and of vehicle service and repair status, following applicable state and federal regulations. Finally, truck drivers check conditions of trailers after contents have been unloaded to insure that there has been no damage.

Every day, truck drivers are expected to be able to maintain precise control of objects and devices through a range of movements. They need to respond quickly in general. It is also important that they coordinate both hands in a single activity.

It is important for truck drivers to secure cargo for transport, using ropes, blocks, chain, binders, or covers. They are often called upon to crank trailer landing gear up and down to safely secure vehicles. They also load and unload vehicles, or help others with loading and unloading, operating any special loading-related equipment on vehicles and using other equipment as needed. They are sometimes expected to remove refuse from loaded trailers. Somewhat less frequently, truck drivers are also expected to climb ladders to inspect loads, ensuring that cargo is secure.

Truck drivers sometimes are asked to place empty carts and pallets in trailers so they will be available to enable placement and movement of goods. They also have to be able to read and interpret maps to establish vehicle routes And finally, they sometimes have to make use of vehicles equipped with snowplows and sander attachments to maintain roads in winter weather.

Like many other jobs, truck drivers must be reliable and be able to deal with stress and deal with situations calmly.

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.
  • School Bus Driver. Transport students or special clients.
  • Truck and Tractor Operator. Operate industrial trucks or tractors equipped to move materials around a warehouse, storage yard, or similar location.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Truck Driver Training

City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College - Chicago, IL

City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College, 30 E Lake St, Chicago, IL 60601-2449. City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College is a medium sized college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,342 students. City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College has a less than one year program in Truck and Bus Driver/Commercial Vehicle Operation which graduated 3,183 students in 2008.

Star Truck Driving School - Hickory Hills, IL

Star Truck Driving School, 7701 West 95th St, Hickory Hills, IL 60457. Star Truck Driving School is a small school located in Hickory Hills, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs. It has 53 students and an admission rate of 74%. Star Truck Driving School has a less than one year program in Truck and Bus Driver/Commercial Vehicle Operation which graduated 204 students in 2008.

Star Truck Driving School - Bensenville, IL

Star Truck Driving School, 710 Larsen Ln, Bensenville, IL 60106. Star Truck Driving School is a small school located in Bensenville, Illinois. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs. It has 38 students and an admission rate of 82%. Star Truck Driving School has a less than one year program in Truck and Bus Driver/Commercial Vehicle Operation which graduated 332 students in 2008.

LICENSES

COMMERCIAL DRIVER (TRUCK AND BUS OPERATOR)

Licensing agency: Illinois Secretary of State Department of Driver Services
Address: Commercial Driver Training Section, Capitol Building, Room 213, Springfield, IL 62756

Phone: (708) 437-3953
Website: Illinois Secretary of State Department of Driver Services Commercial Driver Training Section

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.