Each year billions of tons of gravel and sand are hauled to construction sites by gravel trucking companies. Truck driving jobs tend to pay good salaries, though the hours can be long and the work hard. A gravel or frac sand truck driving job might not be the world’s most glamorous occupation, but it can offer you a secure way to make a living.
Industrial sand and gravel operations moved over 35,000,000,000 metric tons of materials in 2011 and 85% of it was moved by truck. Production of sand and aggregates is growing year by year. In addition to jobs hauling construction materials, there are frac sand hauling jobs with trucking companies in areas with oil and gas drilling. This means that there will continue to be jobs driving gravel and sand trucks way into the future.
What You Need To Become A Gravel Truck Driver
The first thing you will need to drive any commercial truck is a CDL. Usually you will need a CDL with air brake endorsement. If you haul any materials such as oil rig drill bit cuttings you may need HAZMAT certification. A Commercial Driver’s License requires that you pass a written exam as well as take a driving test in the kind of vehicle that you will be operating. You can’t drive the vehicle to the DOT testing facility, so you’ll need to know someone who has a truck they will let you use for the exam and who is willing to drive it there for you. Depending on the job, you may need either a Class A or class B driver’s license. In many states a class be license will allow you to drive three axle gravel trucks, but not semi trucks. Most frac sand hauling jobs require a class A license. Consider getting a tanker endorsement as well, to boost your job options, since many of the oilfield related companies also hire tanker truck drivers.
You might consider attending a truck driving school. These institutions will help you gain all of the skills that you need to know to get a job as a gravel truck driver. Look for schools who have certification from the CVTA, or Commercial Vehicle Training Association. You can expect to spend up to six months in a truck driving school with both classroom and driving instruction as part of your curriculum. Fees for commercial driving schools vary greatly, but you’ll probably end up spending around $3,000 to $8,000 on tuition by the time you graduate. Some schools qualify for financial aid and veterans education programs.
Where To Find Gravel Truck Driver Jobs
You’ll find that local and state government gravel truck driver jobs aren’t as plentiful as they used to be. This is because many highway departments are cutting their workforce and using outside contractors. There are still some openings here and there, mostly with county governments, for jobs driving gravel trucks, so go ahead and check your county courthouse or their website for job postings. While the construction industry has still not fully recovered there is still a lot of gravel and sand hauling activity in parts of the country where oil and gas drilling is occurring. Miles of roads must be built to oil rig locations and gravel is the preferred material. Areas such as the Eagle Ford shale, which is a major oil discovery in South Texas, the Marcellus shale of Pennsylvania, and the Niobrara shale of Northern Colorado, are all experiencing a high need for gravel truck drivers as well as drivers frac sand haulers. Look in your local paper’s classified section, as well as those in areas of the country where there is a lot of oil and gas drilling activity. The photo below is of a truck hauling frac sand to an oil rig. It is a “belly dump” rig. The frac sand will be pumped into the ground under high pressure to hold open pores in the rock so petroleum can be extracted.
Where To Look For Frac Sand Hauling Jobs In The Oilfield
Some places to look are the Texas Job Bank, at workintexas.com, monster.com, and the job section of Craigslist in areas such as San Antonio and Victoria Texas where there is a lot of oilfield activity. Use search terms “frac” when searching jobs.
Be sure to keep a clean driving record since most companies won’t even look at your application if you have more than a couple tickets.