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Truck driver (general)

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Summary of occupation

A truck driver drives trucks for commercial freight and transport purposes. Truck drivers assemble, load, secure, and unload vehicles, transport goods and materials, and perform routine vehicle inspections and maintenance. They may be an owner driver or drive company-owned vehicles. Truck drivers transport and handle a wide variety of loads. Some truck drivers transport food, while others may transport hazardous or pressurised materials. There are truck drivers that use small vehicles and others that drive very large road trains. All truck drivers, regardless of truck size or load type, are responsible for the stability of their load and require one or more special licences.

ANZSCO description: Drives a heavy truck, requiring a specially  endorsed class of licence, to transport bulky goods. Registration or  licensing is required.
Alternative names:
Specialisations: Cement Mixer Driver, Compactor Driver (Rubbish Collection), Haulpak Driver, Heavy Haulage Driver, Livestock Haulier, Logging Truck Driver, Road Train Driver, Tilt Tray Driver, Tow Truck Driver
Job prospects: Good
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A truck driver needs:

  • an aptitude for mechanics
  • to enjoy practical work
  • to be physically fit
  • good driving skills

You also need a minimum of one year holding a 'C' Class Driver Licence prior to obtaining a Light Rigid Driver Licence, which will then allow you to apply for higher licence classes.

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Working conditions

A truck driver can be expected to work irregular hours, make early starts and spend days away from home making deliveries all over WA and interstate.

Before beginning a trip, paper work is required to be filled out correctly. The truck driver is also required to maintain a log book detailing hours of driving, fatigue breaks, fuel consumption and reports of accidents or any problems with the vehicle. In addition to this administrative work, a truck driver needs to check brakes, oil, tyres, electrical systems, water, hydraulics and air, prior to each trip.

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Salary details

On average, truck drivers can expect to earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for and their level of experience. As a truck driver develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

A core piece of technology used in the trucking industry is the Global Positioning System (GPS). Not only can drivers use a GPS to get to their destination, trucks can be tracked so that customers can be told when to expect their delivery, and management can keep an eye on progress.

Another important piece of technology for truck drivers is the road relay system that keeps drivers informed of the correct matching of the engine and road speeds to preferred power output and fuel economy. This technology assists truck drivers to improve their driving practices, which can save companies thousands of dollars in fuel costs annually.

Truck drivers are responsible for the stability of the load they carry and are often required to assist with loading and unloading cargo. Therefore, they need to know how to use tarpaulins, ropes, tie down straps and moving equipment to secure or move cargo.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

It is possible to work as a truck driver without any formal qualifications and get training on the job.

In Western Australia there are five licence classes relevant for truck drivers. You must obtain the appropriate licence for the truck you wish to drive, as well as any additional licences for carrying special loads such as dangerous substances.

You can also become qualified to work as a truck driver by completing a traineeship in road transport yard operations (freight handler). This traineeship can take between 12 and 36 months to complete.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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