Get ready to hit the road For An exciting career? Become a tow truck driver!

How to be a tow truck driver

Tow truck drivers have endless opportunities as long as the vehicles are on the road. With the ever-increasing number of cars and other transportation sources, their service will always be in demand.

If you are considering a career in the tow truck driving industry, you are making a wise choice. This profession offers a broad and evergreen scope, allowing you to grow financially. This blog is the perfect resource to learn how to be a tow truck driver.

How to be a tow truck driver

Tow truck drivers play a crucial role in road safety and assistance; that’s why their job is critical. The requirements for tow truck drivers may differ in every State of the U.S.A. We’ll explore the Basic requirements, training programs, and certifications required to embark on this exciting journey.

Basic Requirements

The basic requirements to become a tow truck driver are generally common across all states in the U.S.A. Let’s take a closer look at what they are.

1. Age Restrictions:

Generally, you must be 18 years old to operate a tow truck for non-commercial purposes and 21 years old for commercial towing.

2. Physical Fitness:

Fitness is crucial for performing tasks efficiently, especially when it comes to towing. This demanding activity requires strength and stamina, which can only be achieved through good health. Therefore, the following fitness checks are mandatory:

  • Vision/Eyesight must be good
  • Audiometry/Hearing evaluation must be good
  • Pass the drug test

3. Driving License:

The most essential requirement is holding a valid driver’s license. A regular driver’s license is typically sufficient, although some states may require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and additional certifications for operating larger tow trucks.

4. Clean Driving History:

Keeping a clean driving record is vital in this profession. Too many traffic violations or serious offenses like DUIs may disqualify you from becoming a tow truck driver. Employers will check your driving background to determine if you have violated any laws. Having a clean history will enable you to seize maximum opportunities.

5. Character Background Check:

Most employers evaluate a driver’s character by checking their past criminal records to ensure the customer’s safety.

Professional Training and Certifications

While optional in some states, completing training courses or obtaining certification can significantly enhance your chances of securing employment as a tow truck driver. Such training programs cover vehicle recovery techniques, safety protocols, customer service skills, and proper towing procedures.

To avail of a comprehensive course in tow truck driving, you may consider joining any reputable institution. However, I highly recommend joining a company that offers on-the-job training. Working under the supervision of an experienced driver will provide you with a valuable chance to learn quickly and gain practical experience.

Earn Certification by TRAA

Many companies require certifications and experience to ensure you have the necessary skills before hiring you. The Towing and Recovery Association of America (TRAA) offers three different certification levels to cater to your specific needs:

1. Level 1 Certification:

This entry-level certification provides basic concepts and training for tow truck driving. Level 1 certified drivers are authorized to operate light-duty tow trucks. This certification ensures that the driver meets the required standards and is fully equipped to handle any towing challenges that may arise.

2. Level 2 Certification:

Once you have obtained a valid Level 1 certification and gained a minimum of 2 years of experience, you will qualify for the 2nd level certification. It is designed to provide towing professionals with advanced knowledge and skills to manage heavy-duty vehicles and handle emergency situations in the towing industry.

This ongoing education helps you develop new skills and refine existing ones, ultimately improving your ability to provide top-notch customer service.

3. Level 3 Certification:

This certification represents the highest level of expertise in your profession, showcasing your mastery. Tow truck drivers with level 3 certification are highly regarded for their in-depth knowledge in managing complex recovery missions, which is why they are well-compensated.

Employer Requirements

Individual employers might have additional requirements beyond those mandated by state regulations, such as prior experience driving larger vehicles or specific knowledge of automotive mechanics.

Final Thoughts

Becoming a tow truck driver requires dedication, commitment, and a strong work ethic. It’s important to note that the requirements mentioned above are general guidelines that may be subject to change by the Towing and Recovery Association of America (TRAA).

Please stay in touch with your state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for any updates regarding requirements.

We highly recommend participating in continued training and educational sessions to enhance your skills as a tow truck driver.


1. What are the requirements to become a tow truck driver?

To become a tow truck driver, you typically need a valid driver’s license and a clean driving record. Some states may also require additional certifications or licenses, such as a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) or specialized training.

2. How much does it cost to become a tow truck driver?

The cost of becoming a tow truck driver can vary depending on your location and your state’s specific requirements. Generally, you can pay for training courses, licensing fees, and any necessary certifications. It’s best to research the costs specific to your area for an accurate estimate.

3. Is previous experience required to become a tow truck driver?

While previous experience in the automotive industry or driving large vehicles can be beneficial, it is only sometimes required to become a tow truck driver. Many companies offer training programs that provide the necessary skills and knowledge for the job.

4. How physically demanding is being a tow truck driver?

Being a tow truck driver can be physically demanding as it often involves lifting heavy objects, operating equipment, and working in various weather conditions. However, companies usually provide proper training and equipment to ensure the safety and well-being of their drivers.

5. What are some potential challenges of being a tow truck driver?

Some potential challenges of being a tow truck driver include dealing with demanding customers or challenging situations, working in hazardous environments, and the job’s physical demands. However, these challenges can be overcome with proper training and a positive mindset.

6. Is there room for career advancement in the towing industry?

Yes, there is room for career advancement in the towing industry. Tow truck drivers can progress to become supervisors, fleet managers, or even start their own towing businesses. Continuous training and gaining experience in different aspects of the industry can open up growth opportunities.

7. What are the typical working hours for a tow truck driver?

Working hours as a tow truck driver can vary depending on your company and the demand in your area. Since towing services are often needed around the clock, some drivers may work night shifts or be on call during weekends and holidays.

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