Short Answer: UPS has a “promote-from-within” culture, which means that if there’s an opening for a driver position, UPS will typically offer it to current employees first. Because of this, the process can take years, and you may need to first start in a seasonal driver or package handler position. Additionally, you will need to be able to drive a manual transmission, and you will need a CDL to apply for UPS freight driving positions. Below, we have more information about UPS’s hiring and promotion process.
How Long Does It Take to Become a UPS Driver?
Becoming a UPS delivery driver isn’t as straightforward as applying and getting hired. We reached out to UPS corporate customer service representatives to find out more about the company’s driver hiring policies. We were told that the company almost exclusively promotes delivery drivers from within — this aligns with what UPS states on its website. Open driver positions are typically filled by internal applicants based on seniority. Current UPS package handlers can sign a bid sheet for the position, and a driver will be chosen from the bid sheet. If no current employees are interested in the driver position, UPS will look outside the company. However, representatives informed us that this rarely happens.
A similar process is in place for other open positions at UPS. If there’s an open tractor-trailer driver position, for example, UPS delivery drivers are first offered the chance to bid for the position. In fact, the majority of UPS’s management previously worked as drivers, the corporate representative told us.
Because of UPS’s emphasis on promoting from within, it can take years to become a delivery driver. Openings are dependent on the facility, location, and retirement of current drivers, the representative said. This is likely not what job applicants want to hear, but, keep in mind, during peak seasons (e.g., right before the holidays), UPS hires approximately 100,000 seasonal employees. Some of these temporary positions are for delivery drivers. While this is seasonal work, we were told that about 35% of seasonal employees become permanent hires after January. Note, however, that being hired as a seasonal driver doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to continue as a driver; you may be offered a permanent position as a package handler.
Requirements to Become a UPS Driver
Before you can apply to be a UPS driver — or if you’re already a package handler and you want to bid for a driver position — there are a few other requirements to keep in mind. First, you will need to be able to drive a vehicle with a manual transmission. Our related article has more information about the types of trucks UPS drivers can expect to handle. Learning to drive a manual transmission can take some time if you don’t already know how to do it.
Furthermore, to drive a UPS semitruck/freight truck, you will need to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), as we’ve previously reported. CDL training programs can take a few weeks or more, depending on how much time you are able to put into the program. UPS does not provide paid CDL training, but there are some trucking companies that do — our article has the list of these companies.