You posted your question some time ago.
I have not heard of "rider" programs for those who plan to work for a company other than those for wives, children (over a certain age), or significant others with the consent of the company.
Riders are not paid to ride in the truck.
There is usually a charge to the driver for having a rider, which is for insurance to cover the rider in the event of injury or accident.
If you know a truck driver who is willing to take a rider along, he/she will need to contact his/her carrier and take care of things from that end before you ever get on the truck. Riding on a truck in violation of a company's policies will get the actual driver fired and an entry on the DAC for having had an unauthorized rider on board in violation of stated rules.... etc.
No, you will not be allowed to drive the truck. If something unfortunate was to happen and you were driving, the real driver would be fired and a really bad entry made on his/her DAC report that could make it impossible for him/her to be hired elsewhere, at least not anywhere with decent pay and benefits. The liability aspect is something you don't even want to think about because the settlements are huge and the company you ride with would be liable, but worse, they could take action against you for being an unqualified driver. Yes, they can sue you! Worse, they can insist that you be taken to jail...
If you want to find out about trucking, do some research on it via the net, of course, but also go out and visit some truck stops and talk to the women drivers you meet there. Buying them a cup of coffee and chatting with them will help you learn a lot more than listening to a recruiter.
BTW, I do not drive a truck. I own two of them. My husband drives one and his buddy drives the other. We are "contracted" to a large carrier. The DOT has rules about folks with bad eyesight or I would be driving our third truck.
DRL / ldtransp