10 Possibilities for a Career Change for a Truck Driver

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 24 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Working as a truck driver requires a distinct set of skills, many of which can be transferable to other professions. Regardless of your job history and background, knowing your professional options can help you define your career path. Learning about the various possibilities for a career change for truck drivers can be a valuable career move and you can do it by researching the subject. In this article, we list common new career opportunities for truck driving professionals and discuss some tips on making a career change.

10 jobs that can enable a career change for a truck driver

There are different options for a career change for a truck driver. If you're planning to transition into a new career, you might consider some of the following jobs:

1. Delivery driver

National average salary: $25.34 per hour

Primary duties: Delivery drivers transport various types of cargo from one location to another, typically within the same geographical area. Some common delivery driver's tasks are to pick up goods from a delivery centre and transport them directly to customers and carry food from local restaurants to customers. This role is usually a smaller-scale version of a truck driving job, as both involve carrying and delivering goods. The main difference is that truck drivers typically carry their cargo over much longer distances.

Related: How to Become a Delivery Driver (With Development Skills)

2. Dispatcher

National average salary: $27.21 per hour

Primary duties: Dispatchers work in dispatch centres for public and private institutions and their role is to coordinate the activity of fleets and individual vehicles. Depending on their exact role, they may create special transportation routes and assign vehicles to them based on their availability. Dispatchers can usually choose between part-time and full-time work and typically spend their entire workday inside an office. As a truck driver, you're likely to have experience interacting with dispatchers already, which can help you understand this role.

3. Warehouse worker

National average salary: $28.33 per hour

Primary duties: Warehouse workers perform a wide variety of tasks to keep warehouses operational. They usually pick up materials from trucks and deposit them in an orderly manner on specifically designated shelves and pack orders for shipping purposes. Most warehouse workers can choose between full-time and part-time work and the role usually doesn't require any specific education or experience. Truck drivers usually spend a significant amount of time in and around warehouses, loading or unloading their cargo. This can help them understand the warehouse worker's role and make the transition to this new career more achievable.

4. Forklift operator

National average salary: $30.02 per hour

Primary duties: Forklift operators typically work in plants and warehouses and their role is to move heavy materials around with the help of forklifts. They usually carry the materials between warehouse shelves and delivery trucks and across the production floor. They also perform basic maintenance operations on their machinery and make sure to document every transport. Working as a forklift operator requires a special certification called a national high-risk work licence (HRWL). As a truck driver, your knowledge of mechanics and experience in operating heavy machinery may help you transition into the new role.

5. Cashier

National average salary: $30.50 per hour

Primary duties: Cashiers work in retail stores and manage customer transactions. Besides accepting payments and giving receipts to customers, they may also help customers wrap their products or place them in bags and answer questions regarding the products or the store. The role doesn't usually require any prior experience, making it appropriate for someone who wants to transition from a truck driving job. Having communication and customer service skills is usually essential for success in this career.

Related: What Is the Role of a Cashier? (With Salary and Steps Guide)

6. Automotive mechanic

National average salary: $31.78 per hour

Primary duties: Mechanics use their automotive experience and specialised tools to repair vehicles. They usually diagnose the exact issue, determine a course of action and execute the repair procedure. Some mechanics choose to specialise in either passenger cars or in work vehicles, like tractors and trucks. Since truck drivers typically require mechanical skills and knowledge to repair minor truck issues, transitioning to a career as a mechanic might be a good choice.

Related:

  • How to Become a Tyre Fitter: A Step-By-Step Guide

  • How to Become a Mechanic (Plus Specialisations to Pick From)

7. Driver

National average salary: $31.99 per hour

Primary duties: Drivers are experienced professionals who drive various types of light vehicles and transport passengers or light materials, such as food or office supplies. The role involves spending most of your time inside your vehicle and leaving it occasionally to deliver your cargo, greet a passenger or help them put their bags in the vehicle's boot. There's usually no need for special certifications to work as a driver, aside from a regular driver's licence. Since the role requires many similar skills, this may be an accessible new direction for your career.

8. Bus driver

National average salary: $33.06 per hour

Primary duties: Bus drivers are professionals who drive various types of buses, such as city and school buses. They stop at specific locations, pick up passengers and drive them to set destinations on a predetermined route. Bus drivers can work part-time or full-time and at various hours of the day, depending on their route. Working in this role generally requires the same skill set as that of a truck driver, as both jobs involve driving large vehicles and sitting for long periods of time.

9. Crane operator

National average salary: $37.93 per hour

Primary duties: Crane operators work with heavy construction equipment, such as cranes and lifts, using them to carry heavy materials across a construction site. They usually work full time and spend most of their time on the construction site and inside the crane operating booth. Working in this role requires the ability to operate heavy machinery correctly, which is common in truck driving. For this reason, former truck drivers can realistically transition to crane operator roles after completing some training and earning a certification.

Related: How to Become a Crane Operator (With FAQs)

10. Driving instructor

National average salary: $45.02 per hour

Primary duties: Driving instructors are usually experienced drivers with expertise in vehicle mechanics and road legislation. They use their knowledge to teach others how to drive various types of motorised vehicles. They're usually responsible for teaching both the practical and theoretical aspects of driving. As a truck driver, you can easily transition to this role and share your knowledge and experience with others. The job is usually flexible, and you can choose whether to work full-time or part-time.

Related: Car Salesperson Resume Guide (With a Resume Template)

Tips for making a career change

Consider following these tips if you work as a truck driver and you're considering a change of careers:

  • Try to understand the reason why you want to change careers. Before transitioning to another field, it's helpful to pinpoint the reasons behind your decision. This might help you personally accept the change and allow you to choose a future career that doesn't include the aspects that were challenging in the former one.

  • Determine what your interests and skills are. It's usually easier to transition towards a career that interests you and which requires skills that you already possess. You can try to review all your former roles, determine what parts you enjoyed and what skills you improved while working in them and use the information to choose a new career.

  • Learn new skills before resigning from your current job. It's likely that a job you want to transition into requires a distinct set of new skills to acquire. Instead of quitting your current job immediately, you might consider a transitional period in which you use your spare time to work on the skills you might need in your next career.

  • Prepare for challenges. Working in a new field can lead to various setbacks and challenges. Knowing about and accepting this possibility can help you prepare for them and overcome them.

  • Seek advice from others who have changed careers. Speaking with friends or former colleagues who have also transitioned to a new career can help you learn how to handle this change. Former truck drivers who have moved on to other professions can give you tips on adapting your skill set.

  • Use your professional network to seek new jobs. Working as a truck driver, you're likely to interact with people in other professions, such as warehouse workers and dispatchers. When you begin looking for a new career, it may be a good idea to contact them to see if there are any available opportunities in their line of work.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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