A PhD Student Want To Join The World Of Trucking --any Advice, Suggestions, Recommendations, Etc.

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Abdel's Comment
member avatar

Thanks so much for your valuable input! Yes, I totally agree with you on all that you have said; I just wanted to get some feedback from people in the field who have some experience with the World of Trucking! As you know, there is always that hidden part in every job field. But I know for sure that I can make more money in Trucking than in teaching...

You're the only one who can answer if it is the right move for you. However, you won't be the first overeducated person to end up in this line of work, and your career earnings as a truck driver will almost certainly be better than you'll do as a humanities professor, given how long the odds are of getting tenure these days.

One good think about trucking is that, although there's a steep learning curve, it's very short. Within a few months you'll probably learn enough about yourself, the work, and the industry to have a sense of whether it's going to be a good fit for you. It's not like devoting many years and dollars to an advanced degree only to realize it doesn't lead where you hoped it would.

Abdel's Comment
member avatar

Howdy, Anne!

Thanks so much for your warm welcome and the info! Where are you based in Ohio? I went to BGSU and lived in Xenia (near Dayton) for a while.

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My case might sound a little strange. I am from Morocco where people drive --European Trucks. I have been in Ohio for more than 6 years now, and I am currently doing my Ph.D. in language studies; however, I have always wanted to be a truck driver, as my father is a truck driver (back in Morocco) and I enjoy driving for long distances.

Do you think joining the World of trucking is a good idea, or not, and why? I know that the pay rate is increasing now!!

Thank you!

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Howdy, Abdelali!

We're in Ohio as well. We've got Chief Brody who drives for Prime/flatbed, an attorney; Mountain Matt, Wilson driver and a librarian with a degree, and many others with LEO careers, decorated veterans, et al ....driving trucks .. just to mention a few.

It's a personal decision; PhD or any other degree!

Read this, especially Brett's book:

Welcome to Trucking Truth!

~ Anne ~

ps: If you'd edit your bio and put 'Ohio' in location, it'd help 'us' help you, in the future.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.
G-Town's Comment
member avatar
But I know for sure that I can make more money in Trucking than in teaching...

Potentially, “yes”. Once you gain a couple years of experience, you can also teach others “truck driving”. With both skills, you can make a significant impact.

Good luck.

George B.'s Comment
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Xenia? Im sorry.

Abdel's Comment
member avatar

Thanks so much for your insightful info and for sharing your experience with me, I greatly appreciate it! I think you've made the best decision as to combine both fields. I agree with you that getting into a Ph.D. is hard, but completing it is harder lol. I think I will now go for the CDL training and licensing while I am doing my Ph.D. and wait a year or two --then decide if I want to go into trucking or not; even though I am certain that I will go for it one day! I also have the same thinking as you (having my own truck and business)

I also have a masters in International Ed and Cross-Cultural Studies, which allows me to work with study abroad programs and international Ed programs, scholarships, funding, grants, etc. This could be my side hustle.

As a former PhD student who is now in CDL school, I would give the following advice: there's no reason you can't have the best of both worlds. Having a PhD presents a lot of unique opportunities, but more importantly, getting into a PhD program is more difficult than getting into a trucking school, and it's also difficult to get back into a PhD program once you've left.

I finished my PhD two years ago, and I do consulting work (which pays the bills), but I love trucks and driving, so I just bought my first class 8 truck; I'll be doing some specialty hauling as a side job. I actually know a few other guys who are doing the exact same thing.

Only you can say what's the right career path for you, but I just wanted to share my experience, in the hopes that it may help with your decision.

AJ

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Anne A. (G13Momcat)'s Comment
member avatar

Howdy, Anne!

Thanks so much for your warm welcome and the info! Where are you based in Ohio? I went to BGSU and lived in Xenia (near Dayton) for a while.

double-quotes-start.png

double-quotes-start.png

double-quotes-start.png

My case might sound a little strange. I am from Morocco where people drive --European Trucks. I have been in Ohio for more than 6 years now, and I am currently doing my Ph.D. in language studies; however, I have always wanted to be a truck driver, as my father is a truck driver (back in Morocco) and I enjoy driving for long distances.

Do you think joining the World of trucking is a good idea, or not, and why? I know that the pay rate is increasing now!!

Thank you!

double-quotes-end.png

double-quotes-end.png

Howdy, Abdel!

We're in Ohio as well. We've got Chief Brody who drives for Prime/flatbed, an attorney; Mountain Matt, Wilson driver and a librarian with a degree, and many others with LEO careers, decorated veterans, et al ....driving trucks .. just to mention a few.

It's a personal decision; PhD or any other degree!

Read this, especially Brett's book:

Welcome to Trucking Truth!

~ Anne ~

ps: If you'd edit your bio and put 'Ohio' in location, it'd help 'us' help you, in the future.

double-quotes-end.png

You're welcome, good sir! Do you ever listen to 88.1 on the FM dial ?!?!? ;)

Xenia, aughhhh.....'tornado alley.' We're actually quite near (south of ) Mansfield, ourselves. Remember hearing from your folks about the "Great Blizzard of '78? " That was HERE! I was in Florida (still) with my family; kinda glad...actually! Pix of said event are in my photos, in my profile.

I can't help you with your decisions about switching (laterally, of course!) professions, from a 'laureate' to a 'logistician,' but we'll all be here to help you along, if you so decide!

Garner Trucking in Findlay, Ohio is quite near you; they've been on the 'Top 10 Fleets' for years. If you ever get your CDL and don't really care for the 'driving' aspect of it all, I'd give them a shout!!!

Hope to see you around these parts often; congratulations on your successes!

~ Anne & Tom ~

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Matthew P.'s Comment
member avatar

Welcome. I think you're going to meet a fair amount of refugees from the professional world. Apparently there are quite a few here. More than I realized. I have an AS, BS and MS. Finally got burned out on the professional world and decided it was time to make some changes. Thus far, I am very happy with it. I wasn't in good physical condition and that was probably my biggest challenge at first. I knew that would come along. Just like PT in the US Army. You get more fit as you work at it. Driving a van is a little easier physically. It does come with its own challenges.

Someone mentioned a steep learning curve. That is true. There are a lot of task oriented things during a work day. Easy enough to learn over time and with guidance from a good mentor. Actual driving can be challenging. People on the roads do dangerous things. What more can you say about that. They're just not aware of the hazards they're creating. You have to be. DOT issues can be difficult. The regulations are onerous however you just have to do what they require or pay a price.

Company where I work now. Good benefits. Vacation time is a little skinny. They donate money to your retirement fund and it is generous. I have very few complaints actually. I feel satisfied right now and hope that continues. Going to give this first job a one year try and evaluate at that point. At this point, I can't see changing though. The job is pretty cool.

Try a ride along for a day if you know any owner operators that would let you. The major companies are a little weird about that issue. You would get a good feel for what a workday is like.

Not an easy lifestyle but much more satisfying than my previous career. Best of luck to you

Thanks so much for your insightful info and for sharing your experience with me, I greatly appreciate it! I think you've made the best decision as to combine both fields. I agree with you that getting into a Ph.D. is hard, but completing it is harder lol. I think I will now go for the CDL training and licensing while I am doing my Ph.D. and wait a year or two --then decide if I want to go into trucking or not; even though I am certain that I will go for it one day! I also have the same thinking as you (having my own truck and business)

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Mountain Matt's Comment
member avatar

As others have said, ultimately only you can decide if trucking is a good fit for you. I have a couple of masters degrees and did about 2 years of doctoral studies. I ended up in a job that felt bureaucratic and, well, boring, even though it required a graduate degree. Now I have lots of time to listen to audiobooks, podcasts, and music, so I find trucking more intellectually stimulating. And of course there is a lot more to the job than just driving long distances, so there is lots to learn and keep me interested in this job. For me, it was simply a good change of pace at this point in my life. And we'll see if the earning potential passes what I had before... Good luck to you!

Abdel's Comment
member avatar

Thanks for sharing your opinion, Matt! That's true, I am the one who will decide. But still having different views from people who have been in the field for a while will actually give me a sense of it. I know that I will easily secure a job in "academia" when I graduate; however, I am unsure if I will like a 9-5 office job, or even, a teaching job + the pay rate is low compared to trucking. I would prefer to be on the road than being in an office or a classroom.

As others have said, ultimately only you can decide if trucking is a good fit for you. I have a couple of masters degrees and did about 2 years of doctoral studies. I ended up in a job that felt bureaucratic and, well, boring, even though it required a graduate degree. Now I have lots of time to listen to audiobooks, podcasts, and music, so I find trucking more intellectually stimulating. And of course there is a lot more to the job than just driving long distances, so there is lots to learn and keep me interested in this job. For me, it was simply a good change of pace at this point in my life. And we'll see if the earning potential passes what I had before... Good luck to you!

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