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Career and Education Opportunities for Truck Drivers in Columbia, Maryland

For those living in the Columbia, Maryland area, there are many career and education opportunities for truck drivers. Currently, 26,900 people work as truck drivers in Maryland. This is expected to grow 10% to about 29,600 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as 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.

Truck drivers earn approximately $18 per hour or $38,310 per year on average in Maryland. Nationally they average about $17 per hour or $37,270 yearly. Compared with people working in the overall category of Freight, people working as truck drivers in Maryland earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Freight nationally.

The Columbia area is home to 109 schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree as a truck driver. The most common level of education for truck drivers is a high school diploma or GED. You can expect to spend only a short time training to become 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 Columbia 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.
  • 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Truck Driver Training

All-State Career School - Baltimore, MD

All-State Career School, 2200 Broening Hwy Ste 160, Baltimore, MD 21224. All-State Career School is a small school located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs. It has 622 students and an admission rate of 65%. All-State Career School has a less than one year program in Truck and Bus Driver/Commercial Vehicle Operation which graduated 537 students in 2008.

North American Trade Schools - Baltimore, MD

North American Trade Schools, 6901 Security Blvd, Suite 16, Baltimore, MD 21244. North American Trade Schools is a small school located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs. It has 550 students and an admission rate of 40%. North American Trade Schools has a less than one year program in Truck and Bus Driver/Commercial Vehicle Operation which graduated 144 students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.