California Occupational Guides

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Detailed Guide for

Light Truck or Delivery Services Drivers in California

May also be called: Route Drivers; Local Truck Drivers; Pick Up Truck Drivers; and City Route Drivers.

What Would I Do?

Light or Delivery Service Truck Drivers operate trucks that carry fewer than three tons and their truck weighs less than 26, 000 pounds. They normally move products and materials to and from local areas, such as factories, warehouses, train stations, airports, private homes, office buildings, and stores. Drivers usually load or unload the merchandise at the customer’s place of business. They may have helpers load the truck according to the order of delivery. At the beginning of their shift, Drivers obtain a delivery schedule from the dispatcher. Upon arrival at the customer’s place of business, the Driver unloads the shipment and the customer signs a receipt for the goods. Sometimes payment is made directly to the Driver. At the end of their shift, the Driver turns in receipts, money received, records of delivery, and reports of any mechanical problems.

Truck Drivers must obey traffic laws and follow established traffic and transportation procedures. Some of the tools used by Drivers may include: forklifts, global positioning system (GPS) devices, jacks, personal computers, electronic clipboards, scanners, and two-way radios. Some of the technology used in this occupation may include the following software: database user interface and query, industrial control, inventory management, and route navigation.

Important Tasks and Related Skills

Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.

View the skill definitions
TaskSkill Used in this Task
Inspect and maintain vehicle supplies and equipment, such as gas, oil, water, tires, lights, and brakes in order to ensure that vehicles are in proper working condition.Equipment Maintenance
Verify the contents of inventory loads against shipping papers.Reading Comprehension
Report delays, accidents, or other traffic and transportation situations to bases or other vehicles, using telephones or mobile two-way radios.Speaking
Load and unload trucks, vans, or automobiles.Static Strength
Read maps, and follow written and verbal geographic directions.Spatial Orientation
Perform emergency repairs such as changing tires or installing light bulbs, fuses, tire chains, and spark plugs.Manual Dexterity
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

Working Conditions

Light or Delivery Service Truck Drivers usually drive for several hours at a stretch. They load and unload cargo and make deliveries, all of which can be tiring. They also have to drive in difficult conditions such as bad weather, heavy traffic, and sometimes on mountain roads. Many Truck Drivers load and unload their own trucks. This requires a considerable amount of lifting, carrying, and walking each day.

Light Truck Drivers frequently work 50 or more hours a week and usually return home in the evening. Drivers who handle food for chain grocery stores, produce markets, or bakeries typically work long hours, starting at night or early in the morning. Most Drivers have regular routes, although some have different routes each day.

Some Light or Delivery Service Truck Drivers belong to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. In addition, Drivers employed by companies outside the trucking industry may be represented by other unions.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Light or Delivery Service Truck Driver will appeal to those who like to work independently and outdoors, provide service to others, work with details, and perform physical activities. This occupation satisfies those with realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Wages

The median wage in 2016 for Light Truck Drivers in California is $32,324 annually, or $15.54 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2016Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$24,001$32,324$48,104
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2016 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Benefits

Generally, Truck Drivers are provided with medical, dental, and life insurance, disability, and retirement plans. Union Drivers may receive benefits, but these are negotiated by their union representatives.

What is the Job Outlook?

The need for local deliveries has grown due to the development of new shopping centers, homes, and malls. In addition, the increased popularity of shopping via the Internet will continue to drive the need for more Drivers to deliver goods.

Job opportunities will occur as experienced Drivers leave this occupation to transfer to other fields of work, retire, or leave the labor force for other reasons. Job opportunities, however, will be affected by economic fluctuation since the output of the economy dictates the amount of freight to be moved.

Projections of Employment

In California, the number of Light Truck Drivers is expected to grow slower than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Light Truck Drivers are expected to increase by 9.9 percent, or 8,700 jobs between 2012 and 2022.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Light Truck Drivers
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Estimated
Employment
Projected
Employment
Numeric
Change
Percent
Change
Additional Openings
Due to Net
Replacements
California
(2012-2022)
87,60096,3008,7009.914,000
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Projected Growth for All Areas

Annual Job Openings

In California, an average of 860 new job openings per year is expected for Light Truck Drivers, plus an additional 1,400 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 2,260 job openings.

Estimated Average Annual Job Openings
Light Truck Drivers
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-
Projected Year)
Jobs From GrowthJobs Due to
Net Replacements
Total Annual
Job Openings
California
(2012-2022)
8601,4002,260
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Data for All Areas

How Do I Qualify?

Education, Training, and Other Requirements

Employers generally look for candidates who are at least 18 years old, possess a high school diploma, have a valid California driver license, and a good driving record. Federal regulations require employers to test Drivers for alcohol and drugs as a condition of employment and conduct random tests while workers are on duty. Many firms require that Drivers be at least 21 years of age or older and have completed a program at an accredited truck driving school. Drivers are expected to have good hearing and eyesight, be able to lift heavy objects, and have three to five years of truck driving experience.

In addition, Drivers who transport hazardous materials must obtain a commercial driver license (CDL) and successfully complete a criminal background check and fingerprint clearance to receive the hazardous materials endorsement. Drivers must also be able to read and speak English well enough to read road signs, prepare company reports, and communicate with the public and law enforcement officers.

New Drivers receive on-the-job training that may consist of a few hours of instruction from an experienced Driver. They also ride with and observe experienced Drivers before going out on their own assignments. Some companies offer one-to-two days of classroom instruction covering the operation and loading of a truck, company policies, and the preparation of delivery forms and company records.

Early Career Planning

High school preparation courses in driver’s training, automotive mechanics, accounting, general business, business mathematics, and computer technology are helpful. Accounting and business classes are particularly helpful for those who plan to enter self-employment.

Work Study Programs

Training programs such as Truck Driving are available through Regional Occupational Programs (ROP). To find an ROP program near you, go to the California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and Programs Web site.

Where Can I Find Training?

There are two ways to search for training information:

Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.

Where Would I Work?

The largest industries employing Light Truck Drivers are as follows:

Industry TitlePercent of Total Employment for Occupation in California
Couriers and Messengers 19.9%
Auto Parts, Accessories, and Tire Stores 5.6%
Grocery Product Merchant Wholesalers 5.5%
Motor Vehicle/Part Merchant Wholesalers 2.9%
Health and Personal Care Stores 2.6%
Source: EDD/LMID Staffing Patterns

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Newspaper classified ads also provide a helpful resource for local job openings. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Yellow Page Headings

You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Light Truck Drivers.

  • Brokers, Motor Transportation
  • Delivery Service
  • Florists
  • Trucking
  • Trucking, Motor Freight

Find Possible Employers

To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:

  • Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
  • Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
  • Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
  • Contact the employer for possible employment.

Where Could This Job Lead?

Advancement opportunities for Light Truck Drivers are a bit limited. Light Truck Drivers may become trainers; supervisors of warehouses, terminals, or docks; or company branch managers. Drivers often need to change employers for higher pay, better benefits, or improved working conditions.

Local or Light Truck Drivers who wish to advance in their career can choose from a wide variety of heavy truck driving training programs available through vocational and truck driving schools. Also, working for companies that employ long-distance Drivers is the best way to promote to these positions.

Related Occupations

Below is a list of occupations related to Light Truck Drivers with links to more information.

OccupationOccupational
Guide
Industry
Report
Occupational
Profile
Ambulance Drivers and Attendants, Except Emergency Medical TechniciansProfile
Bus Drivers, School or Special ClientGuide
Bus Drivers, Transit and IntercityGuide
Driver/Sales WorkersGuide
Taxi Drivers and ChauffeursProfile
Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck DriversGuide

Other Sources

These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.

For the Career Professional

The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.

SystemCode
SOC - Standard Occupational Classification53-3033
O*NET - Occupational Information Network
   Light Truck or Delivery Services Drivers53-3033.00
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)RCE
CIP - Classification of Instructional Programs
   Truck and Bus Driver/Commercial Vehicle Operator and Instruc490205
TOP - Taxonomy of Programs (California Community Colleges)
   Truck and Bus Driving094750