Did you know you could be held back professionally by not having a driver’s license? Many employers require (or at least strongly prefer) driver’s licenses for employees even when the job has nothing to do with driving.
Let’s take a closer look at why having a driver’s license can help with your employability and what you can do to set yourself up for professional success.
Why Having a Driver’s License Makes You More Employable
First, there are tons of jobs in transportation. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the “Transportation and Warehousing” sector accounts for over 5.6 million American jobs. These jobs could be anything from delivery services to taxis to commercial trucking. Not having a driver’s license prevents you from getting any of these jobs — most of which don’t require an expensive college degree. Just pay attention to whether a commercial driver’s license is required or if you can use a standard-issue driver’s license.
Outside of the transportation industry, there are still jobs that require some driving, even if that’s not the primary responsibility. Job titles like personal assistant require you to run errands, which could be hard unless you happen to live in a city like New York where public transportation is sufficient. Nannying, on the other hand, may require you to handle school pick-ups and drop-offs. With a driver’s license, all of these non-transportation options open up for you.
And finally, many employers prefer employees to have a driver’s license simply for commuting to and from work. During a job interview, have you ever been asked if you have “reliable transportation to and from work?”
Lisa Peck, a recently retired Program Director for AmeriCorps in Illinois, knows all about the importance of hiring people with driver’s licenses for non-driving jobs. She was responsible for hiring over 400 members during her tenure with AmeriCorps.
"Having a driver’s license and access to a vehicle, even if it’s not your own vehicle, is preferred,” said Peck. While she agrees public transportation is an option, it’s not ideal as it can easily be delayed, causing you to be late for work. “You could even lose a job when you’re not able to get to work when you need to be there.”
Employers also don’t want you to have to rely on a ride from someone else because that adds an extra layer of uncertainty for them. If your ride is sick, for example, you may not have a way to get to work.
In cases where you need to be able to work a set schedule, having a driver’s license gives you an edge over other candidates without licenses.
What’s Holding People Back From Getting a Driver’s License?
Not offering driver’s ed through public schools is one of the biggest reasons today’s young adults don’t have driver’s licenses. Prior to the turn of the millennium, many public schools offered driver’s ed to all students, but public school budget cuts have forced many school districts to abandon their driver’s ed programs.
This means students must get their driver’s education through private driving schools. And while that’s not an inherently bad thing (after all, many of these driving schools are top-notch since they focus exclusively on driver training), it can be cost-prohibitive.
Luckily, online driver’s ed courses are growing in popularity, offering a lower-cost alternative to traditional driving schools. This option is making driver training more accessible to those who want to learn to drive.
So if you’re ready to boost your job prospects with a driver’s license, sign up today for your state-approved driver’s ed course today.