The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Garbage Truck Driver

Operating a garbage truck is a challenging and unique job that necessitates a specific set of skills. For instance, you need to meet the physical requirements outlined by the DOT and possess a thorough understanding of safety protocols. Not to mention, the job requires long hours and the ability to work in all weather conditions. With that being said, being a garbage truck driver or starting your own business can be an extremely rewarding venture.

In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know to start your journey in the waste management sector. From determining your eligibility to receiving the necessary training and obtaining the proper licensing, we’ve got you covered.

Requirements to Be a Garbage Truck Driver

  1. Age: To operate a garbage truck you must be at least 21 years old. However, some employers may require you to be older and have more experience behind the wheel.
  2. Physical Fitness: You must be in good health to successfully operate a garbage truck. This involves having good hearing and vision and the ability to lift heavy objects.
  3. Education: In most cases, a high school diploma or GED is required to be a garbage truck driver.
  4. Driving Experience: Many waste management companies require at least 3-plus years as a commercial driver and a clean MVR.


To become a garbage truck driver, you must first complete on-the-job training. This would include educational courses and behind-the-wheel practice. Both will allow you to get a sense of the duties expected of you and provide you with real-world experience. You’ll also learn important topics regarding safety, vehicle maintenance, and governing rules and regulations.


You need to have a CDL to drive a garbage truck. Three tests—a written exam, a skills test, and a road test—must be passed to acquire a CDL. The DOT medical criteria must also be met, which include passing a physical exam and a drug and alcohol test.

DOT Requirements

The DOT has strict guidelines for garbage truck operators. These regulations fall into the category of roadside inspections, record keeping, maintenance of commercial vehicles, and so forth. Drivers will also be required to submit to random drug and alcohol testing to ensure compliance with DOT regulations.

Bottom Line

So, to become a garbage truck driver you must complete a combination of training, education, and testing. It’s a physically demanding job that requires a high level of skill, but it can also be a fun and rewarding career for those who enjoy driving and contributing to the cleanliness of our communities.


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