Are you looking for a stable job that doesn't require expensive degrees or certifications? Tow truck driving may be the perfect career for you. The United States Towing and Recovery Association (TRAA) creates national standards for crane drivers, and the training covers aspects such as customer service, safety, equipment, truck maintenance and incident management. To become a tow truck driver, you need your high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate. Most companies won't mind if you have a college degree.
You'll also need your state's standard driver's license, but having a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) will be a big plus in your job search.
Trainingis usually learned on the job by following a more experienced operator. There are specific certifications for crane drivers, which are advantageous for advancing the towing career. These are administered by the TRAA and include Level 1: Light Service Certification to operate an elevator with hidden wheels.
To become certified for Level 1, you must have at least 90 days of towing experience and meet federal, state, and local requirements for towing and recovery workers. You will need a CDL to take the second two exams, as a prerequisite. It's a good idea to go through all three levels of certification if you want to make crane driving your career. You'll also need one if your crane exceeds 26,001 pounds and the towing load is less than 10,000 pounds.
You must be at least 18 years old to be a tow truck driver, but most towing companies prefer to hire people who are at least 21 to 25 years old. You'll need a CDL when the combined gross weight rating (GCWR) of the crane and the vehicle you're towing exceed a certain weight. Learn all aspects of the towing industry, starting with towing, road services and dispatching. The TRAA awards certifications for crane drivers for meeting several milestones.
A driver's license isn't required to start driving cranes, but you'll need one depending on the weight of the crane and the weight of your load.