Tired of the 9-to-5 grind and that feeling that your world has suddenly gotten very small? No one could blame you for wanting to shed those bonds and make a career out of hitting the road. But driving commercially has very little in common with the everyday driving you’ve done since you got your license back in high school. That’s why since 1986, drivers of buses, trucks, and beyond have had to secure a commercial driver’s license, or CDL, in order to operate these vehicles. But once you master the machinery, you’ll be ready to pursue secure, flexible, and rewarding work in one of many fields. Here’s why you should consider getting a CDL and going through one of the many doors that license will open.

Meet High Demand

America is a big country, and we have a lot of materials to move around on our roads and railways. As more and more companies start to do business online, there will continue to be a high demand for truck drivers, which you as a licensed commercial driver can do your small part in meeting. Most importantly, with that high demand comes solid pay and competitive benefits.

Keep Your Work Life Interesting

Driving commercially doesn’t have to have been your lifelong dream. It could just be the opportunity that was right there under your nose. Maybe you found the fluorescent lights and corporate culture of the office to be soul-sucking. Perhaps you’re just the type who doesn’t play well with others. Or perhaps you got tired of waking up every morning and wondering why your work even mattered. As a driver, you’ll know each day exactly why it’s meaningful to transport people and goods, most of your job will have you going solo, and the scenery from behind the wheel beats the view from behind the desk.

Job Flexibility

You may think that CDLs are just for the guys driving the big rigs from coast to coast. Not so—CDLs license drivers to operate a number of heavy vehicles, from tractor-trailers and tankers to box trucks and city buses. Special cases, like school buses and hazardous materials, require additional certifications once you’ve attained your CDL. And not all commercial driving has you living on the open road: if you don’t want to stray from home, there are driving jobs whose routes are strictly local or regional.

Return on Investment

Getting your CDL is quite a bit more involved than filing paperwork at the DMV. You’ll need to take classes, pass written tests, and demonstrate your proficiency behind the wheel. But relative to trade school or four-year university, CDL school is a small investment that pays for itself in short order. One of the best reasons why you should consider getting a CDL is that you’ll be earning money in a matter of months as part of one of the most important sectors of the American economy. That’s time and money well spent.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.