Class 1 License
Truck drivers are in big demand across North America as many drivers are retiring just as there is an increased need for goods to be shipped on land. In the next five years, retirements will account for 60 per cent of all job openings in the transport trucking industry.
Shipping companies are frequently looking for qualified drivers, and many other industries require drivers to operate large service vehicles for hauling raw materials and driving large public service vehicles.
Transport truck drivers operate heavy trucks to transport goods and materials over local, provincial and international routes. They work for transportation, manufacturing, distribution and moving companies and trucking employment service agencies, or they may be self-employed. This unit group also includes drivers of special purpose trucks and shunters who move trailers to and from loading docks within trucking yards or lots.
A secondary school diploma is usually required to enter a program to become a transport driver in Canada. Many companies provide on-the-job-training but successful completion of an accredited driver training course of up to three months is also usually required, usually found through a vocational school or community college.
A Class 3 or D licence is required to drive straight-body trucks, while a Class 1 or A licence is required to drive long combination vehicles. Air brake endorsement (Z) is required for drivers who operate vehicles equipped with air brakes, and a transportation of dangerous goods (TDG) certification is required for drivers who transport hazardous products or dangerous goods. Additional licensing endorsement or certification may be required to drive articulated trucks.
Long-haul drivers require specific driver licences that demand higher or more specific driving skills. An AZ driver’s licence is the licence class that allows you to drive the biggest vehicles in the truck driving industry. The standard licence that many truck drivers get is the DZ licence. A DZ licence will enable you to haul and tow 4,600 kg or less. On the other hand, an “A” licence gives you the flexibility to carry any haul without restriction.
Since both the AZ and DZ licences come with Z-endorsements, both enable you to operate vehicles with air brakes. A DZ licence allows you to operate vehicles such as fire and rescue trucks, dump trucks and cement trucks. DZ licences allow you to drive vehicles weighing more than 11,000 kg or a tractor-trailer combination with a haul weighing less than 4,600 kg.
The DZ variation provides the flexibility to drive both construction and transportation vehicles. It’s also substantially cheaper than obtaining an AZ licence. New truck drivers might consider starting their career with a DZ licence and working up to an AZ licence.
Earning an AZ licence requires taking about one month of classes and field training. All licences require a written test and a road test. You will need to be current on safety courses, regulations, and requirements within the trucking industry to operate your vehicle safely. You may also need to take a government-approved training course to become certified by a regulated authority in certain provinces.
Related job titles include long-haul trucker, transport driver, logging truck driver, tow truck driver, dump truck driver, moving van driver, and flatbed truck driver.
Transport truck drivers earn between $16/hour and $33.08/hour in Canada. Owner-operator truck drivers can make an average of $152,000 a year. New job openings for transport truck drivers are projected to be 119,900 through 2028, while only 96,600 new job seekers are expected to be available to fill them.