BEAUMONT, Texas — A Southeast Texas trucker said 15 years on the open road has not always been easy, but has provided for him and his family. 

Thomas Rickert says it's not for everyone. 

"A trucker's life is different," Rickert said. 

He says it's not always easy, but is beneficial.

"It provides for me and my kids and my wife," Rickert said. 

According to the American Trucking Associations, there is a nationwide shortage of drivers.

Advanced Professional Truck Driving Refresher - $1,000 This course is available to individuals who currently possess a Class "A" or "B" Commercial Driver's License (CDL) and have past experience driving commercial vehicles but lack recent experience driving commercial vehicles. This course is specifically designed to verify that he or she is capable of performing as a professional truck driver.

Lamar Institute of Technology's truck driving program just received funding from the state, a total of $1.1 million. 

MORE | Find out more about LIT's Driving Academy 

"That will enable us to restructure our truck driving academies," said Dr. Miranda Phillips, Dean of Strategic and Workforce Initiatives for LIT.

Right now, 30 students can participate each year in the academy. 

With the new funding, the number can increase to 90. 

"It's the number one opening in this area right now. Our students are getting hired as they are finishing and getting their licenses," Phillips said. 

After a quick Google search, we found there are about 70 job openings between here and Houston.

MORE | Where you can find truck driver jobs in Texas

According to the ATA, average pay is about $45,000 per year. 

It all depends on your experience. 

Walmart's truck drivers can make up to $71,000 a year. 

Richert has a few words of advice for those interested. 

"Good luck and keep rolling."

Lamar State College Port Arthur also has a truck driver academy. 

Those interested can visit Lamar Institute of Technology's website or Lamar State College-Port Arthur's website to find out about how to get involved in the programs.