A delivery truck driver typically drives a van or truck that holds less than 26,000 pounds of (GVW) Gross Vehicle Weight. They mostly pick up or deliver packages or merchandise and may be required to load or unload their light vehicle or truck. These workers could drive a UPS truck or FedEx truck or similar.
Watch a video to learn what a delivery driver does:
How to Become a Delivery Truck Driver
An employer usually looks for a driver to have a high school diploma or the equivalent and a clean driving record. O*NET OnLine reports that about 75% of the delivery drivers surveyed held a high school diploma and a little over 20% did not earn a high school diploma yet. Since you would be carrying light loads, a regular drivers license is enough to get you started. If you end up needing to carry heavier loads that exceed 26,000 Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW), you would become a heavy truck driver and would need to attain your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).
You can entire this career with no experience and training on-the-job generally takes one month or less. Being a good navigator on the road is also helpful. Some employers like to see work experience but that may not have to be driving-related. They may want to ensure you are dependable, timely, professional, and a good communicator. Employment experience that can illustrate these soft skills or references that can speak to them can help you gain a job.
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Job Description of a Delivery Truck Driver
A light truck driver inspects their vehicle and equipment to ensure it is in good operating condition. If the driver is delivering goods, they would also ensure they are safely transporting those goods by securing them with rope, material, straps, or pallets. On the road, these drivers must obey traffic laws and transportation procedures at all times. A light truck driver must be able to read a map and/or follow a GPS. A good sense of direction is also important. They may also have to follow written or verbal directions from time-to-time as well and communicate with supervisors or subordinates.
Delivery truck drivers may also verify the contents of their inventory loads against the shipping orders. During delivery, they must often load and unload the contents of their delivery. This may require them to use equipment that assists in the lifting of heavy packages. This equipment can be basic like using a dolly or might require training to use, such as using a hand forklift. Because of this, delivery truck drivers must often be able to physically lift packages that are fairly heavy. After a delivery has been made, the driver would be expected to turn in any monies or receipts received. These workers often work from in their vehicles for most of the day and also work under time pressured schedules.
Free Teacher and Student Resources
The National Education Association (NEA) has free lesson plans, student activities, and map-making resources on their Teaching with Maps webpage (link opens in a new tab).
Delivery Truck Driver Video Transcript
The day starts early for the delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers who ensure local businesses open with stocked shelves, and may continue late into the night as drivers ensure that customers receive their products and services throughout the day. These drivers’ vehicles are lighter than semis, weighing less than 26,000 pounds. Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers need a thorough knowledge of their local street grid to plan their routes, especially which roads allow trucks.
Light truck drivers drive small trucks or vans from distribution centers or stores… to homes and businesses, following an established schedule. Most work for retail and wholesale trade companies, or couriers. Drivers and sales workers usually have a regular delivery route, and also visit potential clients to expand their sales. They might deliver an order to a hardware store, then promote a new product to the store manager. They also deliver and receive payments for goods such as take-out food or pizza.
These drivers generally work full-time. It can be physically demanding work —driving for long periods, lifting, and carrying boxes. Injury rates are higher than for most jobs. Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers usually have a high school education, and must have a driver’s license and clean driving record. A few weeks of on-the-job training is typical.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers.
National Center for O*NET Development. 53-3033.00. O*NET OnLine. This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA. RethinkOldSchool, Inc. has modified all or some of this information. USDOL/ETA has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.
The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.