All Posts

How to go from a Military Veteran to a Civilian Driver

Did you know more than 2,000 veterans are registered on uShip as service providers? While many use our shipping marketplace to earn income, there are a number of programs in place to assist veterans as they return from service.

Last year the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration funded a $2.3 million grant to help train veterans transitioning to civilian commercial truck drivers. This year they announced they will be awarding almost $1 million in grant money to various technical and community colleges to help continue to train veterans in the trucking industry.

“These types of programs are just one small way in which we can show our appreciation and commitment to our nation’s veterans, and thank them for their brave service…These men and women represent the absolute finest of our country, and with the help of programs like this, they will be prepared to be some of the safest commercial drivers on the road,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a recent interview.

This news comes during a great time for truckers in the industry. Last Tuesday, CNN Money reported that one of the fastest growing pay rates in the country is that of the American truck driver, jumping 7.8% compared to a year ago versus 2.8% in wage growth for all jobs.

And there’s even more resources out there that aim at helping veterans transition into the civilian world of commercial transportation.

The Military Skills Test Waiver Program went into effect in May of 2011, after push from state transportation departments. This program allows veterans who have military driving experience to bypass the traditional driving skills test when applying for a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Instead, veterans can substitute two years of experience operating trucks or buses that are equivalent to commercial vehicles for the skills test portion of the CDL exam. However, veteran drivers are required to apply for their CDL within one year of leaving their military driving position.

The idea is to help put veterans on the fast track to a civilian career once they are ready to transition.

Another program, known as the FAST Act, was proposed last August by the FMCSA. The Fast Act is a program that would allow select military personnel who are 18-21 years of age to operate a commercial vehicle in interstate commerce. Currently, the FMCSA has reached out asking the public for feedback and comments regarding the Under 21 Military Pilot Program. To read the Federal Register notice and submit comments, click here.

With government grants from the FMCSA helping veterans with training, now is a better time than ever to break into the transportation industry. Interested in becoming a carrier? Learn more about uShip and join the more than 2,000 veterans who trust and work through our shipping marketplace.