Nursing Vs Truck Driving

Topic 838 | Page 1

Page 1 of 3 Next Page Go To Page:
T.W.'s Comment
member avatar

I keep reading that nursing and truck driving are the 2 best careers for the next 20 years. I have a college degree in Social Science and that was pretty much a mistake. Student loan is paid off though. I had worked as a nursing assistant while in college studying to be a teacher. The nursing job was ok and hours were flexible. It was not my favorite job to do, but I did make a living. The hours at the nursing home were flexible and the industry was secure. My pathway to become a teacher started in 2007. But then 4 years later I got laid off and I have been rethinking my career options. Teaching is a lot of work for very little money. Did I enjoy it? Some parts of the job I did enjoy such as public speaking and the independence to run a classroom. But the disciplining of kids I did not---I hated that part. I also lost my voice a lot. Throat issues.

Anyway I am torn between nursing and truck driving. I am moving to Phoenix next week and I have a couple of months to make a decision.

There are a lot of pros and cons to truck driving. Same with nursing.

The questions I have asked myself: Which career will help me retire more comfortably at age 65? Which career has more of a future? Which careers has more options? More independence? I like independence, variety, a healthy environment, always on the move, being physical, and burning some energy.

Going back to school is another issue too. STUDENT LOANS and the time it takes to make money.

Truck Driving is 4-8 weeks of school. Roughly $4,000 in loans. Starting pay is $35,000(roughly) The more I work as a truck driver the more pay raises I get and can top out at $60-85k yearly.

LPN Nursing is 10 months of school and $10,000 in debt. Starting pay is $40,000.(roughly) but can top out at about 50k or more. But can go to RN school(More money out of pocket) make up to 100k a year.

CONCLUSION: I can do either job. I have the skills. I was raised on a farm and can drive trucks, farm equipment, use stick shift easily, drive semi's, etc. (Cattle calls.) I have travelled the country 10-12 times in my life by myself. Nursing I was in for 3 years. I can pass meds, take blood pressure, handle stress, handle blood, poop, and vomit. Lift people out of bed, etc. I'm physically fit and have endurance. Both careers seem to be sustainable. The only thing is I have asthma. Not sure how living in a rig would cause asthma flare ups from diesel fuel.

It would be good to hear from your experiences or suggestions on which career will get me closer to my financial goal at age 65 so I can retire comfortably.

Per Diem:

Getting paid per diem means getting a portion of your salary paid to you without taxes taken out. It's technically classified as a meal and expense reimbursement.

Truck drivers and others who travel for a living get large tax deductions for meal expenses. The Government set up per diem pay as a way to reimburse some of the taxes you pay with each paycheck instead of making you wait until tax filing season.

Getting per diem pay means a driver will get a larger paycheck each week but a smaller tax return at tax time.

We have a ton of information on our wiki page on per diem pay

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

They are so radically different that I think experience would be the only way to get your answer.

If you haven't read my book, have a look at it. It has a ton of information about what life on the road is like and what you'll go through as an OTR driver. There's a free version here on the website:

Becoming A Truck Driver: The Raw Truth About Truck Driving

I usually tell people that are pretty much on the fence about a trucking career that it's worth taking a shot at it. It's only a few thousand bucks for schooling and it only takes a short time. Before long you're out on the road making money and you can pay that student loan back in 6 months easily. At that point if you decide trucking isn't for you, you simply walk away. I guarantee you that even 6 months in trucking will give you a lifetime worth of memories and stories to tell.

Or maybe you like it alright, but you think nursing might suit you better. So you stay out there long enough to save up the cash to go to school for nursing. Works out great.

Driving a rig is one of the coolest things you can ever do in my opinion. And life on the road is such a unique lifestyle that even doing it for just a short time will give you so many awesome memories.

But I would have to say that nursing is going to have a lot more opportunities than trucking. And your trucking salary would likely top out in the $55k-$60k range. There are a small number of jobs out there that pay a little better than that, but very few overall. And trucking doesn't lead anywhere as far as opportunities are concerned. There aren't any ladders to climb that start with being a truck driver.

And in fact real wages have gone down over the years. When I started in '93 I made $40k my first year. Nowadays you can expect closer to $35k that first year. And those numbers are not adjusted for inflation. In other words, truck driving salaries are dropping at the rate of inflation or maybe even a little more over the past 20 years. So it's really about a love for the lifestyle more than it is salary when it comes to trucking. The money you make really isn't worth it when you look at everything you have to endure, unless you love that lifestyle. That lifestyle is something you won't find anywhere else and in my book is what made trucking such an awesome career for so many years.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

I felt I had gotten everything there was to get out of trucking after all those years and I was ready to move on to other things. The travelling lifestyle is amazing if you're cut out for it, which I was, but you also give up a lot. I love the country life and I wanted to have my own little homestead out in the hills where I could raise some animals and have a garden and a peaceful home life. I love sports and I wanted to be able to get season tickets to local football teams and just enjoy all the things you miss out on while you're on the road.

Those years driving truck were awesome and I would definitely do it all again. But there wasn't anything left for me to experience out there. I'd travelled that path in life as far as it would take me and got everything out of it I could and I was ready for something new.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Hey Woody, that was an interesting post because almost everything you said about nursing applies to trucking also. Trucking is a really tough job that requires a ton of dedication and sacrifice. In fact, even more so than nursing, trucking is a complete lifestyle. An OTR driver doesn't punch out and go home at the end of the day...you live it for weeks at a time. If you don't love it, it's going to eat you up.

Even the part about:

I would much rather have an RN with 10 yrs plus experience than some one with a fresh bachelors, but most healthcare businesses don't see it that way anymore.

That applies to a lot of trucking companies also. They really don't value experience in the trucking industry very much. Although a lot of jobs require experience, it's really more a matter of saving money on insurance costs and finding people that have proven themselves already. But in the end, what trucking companies want are people who can move goods safely and efficiently from point A to point B. If you can do it for 25 cents per mile as a rookie then that's a lot better than a veteran making 40 cents per mile doing the same thing.

Suffice it to say, if you're going to get into trucking or nursing you have to realize it takes a ton of dedication and sacrifice. It also means putting up with a lot of challenges every day of your life. If you're not into it or not really up for the challenge, you're not going to last long.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Daniel H.'s Comment
member avatar

I've never been a nurse (but my sister's an LPN) and I've never been a trucker (though, I'm considering it), it seems to me that instead of focusing on retiring comfortably in 20 years, you should be asking yourself how you want to spend your time over the next 20 years.

From my standpoint, nursing and trucking and very different in character. Being inside a building usually with no windows versus always being out in the elements. Having to deal with the same co-workers every day versus seeing a different set of people every day. Rarely having a moment alone to think versus spending the bulk of your time alone.

I think both nursing and trucking have this in common: I believe you'll either love it or hate it. Personally, I think I could get a degree in nursing, but I don't think I'd like dealing with other people's body fluids! shocked.png

Best of luck in your career choice, Todd!

Daniel H.'s Comment
member avatar

...ARE very different in character.

T.W.'s Comment
member avatar

Daniel,

"From my standpoint, nursing and trucking and very different in character. Being inside a building usually with no windows versus always being out in the elements. Having to deal with the same co-workers every day versus seeing a different set of people every day. Rarely having a moment alone to think versus spending the bulk of your time alone."

Good post.

Always out in the elements, seeing different people everyday, spending bulk of my time alone. You made it much more clearer in my career choice. I don't like seeing the same people everyday because you will always have a bad apple. I am an introvert anyway so I need time alone.

Appreciated.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

They are so radically different that I think experience would be the only way to get your answer.

If you haven't read my book, have a look at it. It has a ton of information about what life on the road is like and what you'll go through as an OTR driver. There's a free version here on the website:

Becoming A Truck Driver: The Raw Truth About Truck Driving

I usually tell people that are pretty much on the fence about a trucking career that it's worth taking a shot at it. It's only a few thousand bucks for schooling and it only takes a short time. Before long you're out on the road making money and you can pay that student loan back in 6 months easily. At that point if you decide trucking isn't for you, you simply walk away. I guarantee you that even 6 months in trucking will give you a lifetime worth of memories and stories to tell.

Or maybe you like it alright, but you think nursing might suit you better. So you stay out there long enough to save up the cash to go to school for nursing. Works out great.

Driving a rig is one of the coolest things you can ever do in my opinion. And life on the road is such a unique lifestyle that even doing it for just a short time will give you so many awesome memories.

But I would have to say that nursing is going to have a lot more opportunities than trucking. And your trucking salary would likely top out in the $55k-$60k range. There are a small number of jobs out there that pay a little better than that, but very few overall. And trucking doesn't lead anywhere as far as opportunities are concerned. There aren't any ladders to climb that start with being a truck driver.

And in fact real wages have gone down over the years. When I started in '93 I made $40k my first year. Nowadays you can expect closer to $35k that first year. And those numbers are not adjusted for inflation. In other words, truck driving salaries are dropping at the rate of inflation or maybe even a little more over the past 20 years. So it's really about a love for the lifestyle more than it is salary when it comes to trucking. The money you make really isn't worth it when you look at everything you have to endure, unless you love that lifestyle. That lifestyle is something you won't find anywhere else and in my book is what made trucking such an awesome career for so many years.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
T.W.'s Comment
member avatar

Brett,

Your post puts things in more perspective. Trucking is a lifestyle and sometimes that's far more important than a paycheck. The great thing is you still get paid to live a travelling lifestyle. An example is like being a flight attendant. They don't make much, but the perks are great. Travelling, visiting new places, and seeing new people are the perks.

I am curious to know as to why you stopped driving a big rig? You are a great writer and I assume you found a second passion. Your website is very informative.

Keep up the good work!

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

I felt I had gotten everything there was to get out of trucking after all those years and I was ready to move on to other things. The travelling lifestyle is amazing if you're cut out for it, which I was, but you also give up a lot. I love the country life and I wanted to have my own little homestead out in the hills where I could raise some animals and have a garden and a peaceful home life. I love sports and I wanted to be able to get season tickets to local football teams and just enjoy all the things you miss out on while you're on the road.

Those years driving truck were awesome and I would definitely do it all again. But there wasn't anything left for me to experience out there. I'd travelled that path in life as far as it would take me and got everything out of it I could and I was ready for something new.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Bruce M.'s Comment
member avatar

I have been in nursing( LVN ) for ten yrs. I have noticed that The LA , the market calls for RN Nurses mostly. Luckily, I had experience in the Army as a truck driver to fall back on. At least I don't have to deal with that BS anymore.

Starcar's Comment
member avatar

I have a different take on the choices. To get your RN, its a 2 year course. BUT, its different than any other learning schedule you'll ever see. I helped my niece go thru her RN classes. I was amazed when the 2nd year started. The first year was intense, TONS of classroom, book, and research, paper writing.The 2nd yearis mostly OJT...where you put in action, what you have learned the first year. So its not like having 2 years of classroom work. When you do your ojt, you are paired with a mentor on each different "floor" you work on. You do pediatrics, OB/GYN, labor and delivery, geriatrics, med/surg., and general floor. But to me the best part of getting your RN would be the ABILITY to do travel nursing. My sister, and also a friend of mine does travel nursing. They are paid an outrageous wage, housing and travel are paid for, and they are flown home for a vacation every 6 months. You can do private travel nursing, which allows you to have just 1 patient, and they want to travel all over the world. Or you can travel nurse to different states, like Hawaii. Had I thought about this when I was younger, thats what I would have done. And as you age, and don't have the ambition, or stamina to do floor nursing, or Physical Therapy, or whatever your specialty is, you can transfer into teaching, private care, administrative nursing, etc. With trucking, when you get to be older, or tired of the road, your choices are very limited. Theres alot of new legislation in the works that will limit drivers by physical abilities, all fueled by the insurance companies. Thats something to consider.

Dm:

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.
Neil R.'s Comment
member avatar

Todd H. I am an ER nurse who just got off a shift. I'm considering trucking for a career change. It's not for the money as I make heaps in nursing. But I long for the day when I won't get verbally abused by drunks and druggies of whom my tax dollars pay for their state socialized medicine program and provide them free health care. I am tired of the feces, pee, blood, vomit. I am tired of seeing people not taking charge of their healthcare and letting doctors, PA's and Nurse Practitioners order tests to boost revenue for the hospital and make a bigger monthly bonus for themselves. What industry is there where you show up and allow people to do whatever they like to you and charge the hell out of you and nobody says a word. "Oh the doctor must be right." Bullsh*t! Do you take your car in to the shop only to have a gentleman drive your car away while trying to tell the service writer what you came there for. Then have the service writer say to you in reply to your question "Where are they taking my car"....oh we are going to put a new engine in and the tires are dirty so we'll change those. And you finally get a word in..."But I only need a safety inspection." Healthcare is revenue driven to such a point that patients are seen as a portal to money from the insurance companies, Medicare, Medicaid (Two socialized medical programs). Yes we have socialized medicine in the USofA. Get over it. You already have Obamacare. You are paying for it every paycheck. But you may not use it because you make to much money. All that to say I would rather look at life through the windshield of a truck than be stuck inside all day raping the elderly of their retirement funds because "the doctor must know best." I would rather see different states and all the different culture that each state has as unique to the people there. I've travelled lots so being on the road would not be new to me. And I would focus on nutrition and exercise doing it even if it means running twice around my truck every two hours on a stop. I've seen truckers do it at rest stops so they must be trying to stay out of the money grubbing doctor's offices. Todd H. do nursing for money. Do trucking for the solitude and I hope a little alone sane time. Your choice. Yes I have driven truck before. In another country hauling logs on a big 'ole Mac. My 5 cents!smile.gif

TWIC:

Transportation Worker Identification Credential

Truck drivers who regularly pick up from or deliver to the shipping ports will often be required to carry a TWIC card.

Your TWIC is a tamper-resistant biometric card which acts as both your identification in secure areas, as well as an indicator of you having passed the necessary security clearance. TWIC cards are valid for five years. The issuance of TWIC cards is overseen by the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Page 1 of 3 Next Page Go To Page:

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

This topic has the following tags:

Advice For New Truck Drivers Attending Truck Driving School Becoming A Truck Driver The Economy And Politics Truck Driving Lifestyle
Click on any of the buttons above to view topics with that tag, or you can view a list of all forum tags here.

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More