Careers Related To Your CDL License
You started out thinking trucking could be a great gig for you, and you went out and got your CDL license. You maybe drove a tractor trailer for a couple of years, give or take. Or, you realized sooner the career wasn’t exactly right for you. Whatever the reason, things have changed, and you just can’t see spending days and nights out on the road. You desperately want to be able support yourself and/or your family, and you don’t want to be away from them for long periods of times.
Well, there’s good news. There are many different types of jobs out there that are related to your CDL, but will allow you to sleep in your own bed every night.
Jobs Related to Your CDL
Some of these jobs won’t even require you to have a CDL license, but the knowledge of trucks that you’d bring to the table is a strong selling point. It’s always a good idea, whether you’re using your CDL license or not, to keep it recent. You never know when you may decide to hit the road again.
Truck driver training instructor: Those who don’t really want to do it, teach. Well, that’s not exactly how the saying goes, but if it fits, then it’s all good. Who better to teach future drivers than someone who already went through the program and has experience? In most states, the experience requirement is two years. So, if you’ve driven for the minimum amount of time your state expects from instructors, then you can have the honors of teaching the trade.
You’ll earn between $22K-$76K according to Payscale.com.
Terminal manager: You run the warehouse. Everything from sales to pick up to driver complaints to managing the entire property are handled by you. You will also need to manage drivers, so having a deeper understanding of their M.O is beneficial. For this career, you will need to have terminal experience. Most managers have around 10 years under their work belt.
You’ll earn between $46K-$99K annually.
Transportation manager: Any issues within the transportation area of your company come across your desk. You may have to work on budgeting shipping costs by calculating cost per mile pay for drivers, or overseeing the shipping and receiving of supplies, to just name two big portions of this career. This career may require a bachelor’s degree.
You’ll earn between $40K-$94K per year.
Fleet manager: To get this type of job, you may need some work experience, but it depends on the employer. Most likely, you’ll be hired by a freight transportation company. You’ll need to have a high school diploma or GED. You may even have to hold an associate’s degree or CDL. You’ll be tasked with managing and troubleshooting any and all service issues that come along, and you’ll have plans in place that you’ve developed. You’ll work very closely with the drivers.
Your yearly pay will be between $34K-$85K.
Dispatcher: As a dispatcher, you work behind the scenes. You’re making sure the drivers have the right cargo and are headed toward their correct destination at the appointed time. Even with the ELDs, drivers will check in with you when they arrive at their destination, and any time they have issues, like their loads not being ready or needing directions to a new plant. You may check in with the driver if they are carrying a hot load (something that needs to be delivered quickly). This job is in shifts, so you may have to work some nights.
You can expect to earn $40K annually.
Bus driver: You can use your CDL to work as a bus driver. There may be a one to three month training process, but with your CDL, it may take less time. A Passenger Endorsement (P) is necessary for this job, and if you want to drive a school bus then you’ll need the School Bus (S) endorsement, as well. This career will allow you to be at home most nights, and in many cases, by dinnertime!
Your yearly salary will average $31K.
Delivery driver: If you have a high school diploma or equivalent, then you may be able to be trained by a company as a delivery driver. The training period should only take about a month, and it will prepare you to drive safely on crowded streets, company policies, what happens when you have damaged goods, and more. You won’t need your CDL, just a clean driver’s license. You may have to start as a warehouse package loader to get your foot in the door.
Expect to earn in the mid-$20Ks, with the high reaching $47K.
Recruiter: Instead of driving a truck, your mission, should you choose to accept it, will be to recruit drivers for companies. You may visit schools and talk to students, or run a booth at a job fair, among other tactics you may employ.
According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a driver recruiter is $50K.
Diesel mechanic (tractor-trailer tech): Maybe you love the idea of working under the hood of a truck instead of being behind the wheel. If that’s the case, you may want to consider becoming a diesel mechanic. You don’t necessarily need your CDL for this career, but knowing a truck inside and out can always help you snag the job, plus you can road-test trucks with one. A high school diploma or GED is necessary if you want to go into a diesel mechanic program.
Expect to earn over $46K mid career.
Taxi driver/chauffeur: To drive a taxi or work as a chauffeur, you don’t need your CDL but you will be required to have a taxi or limo license. Generally there’s only a one or two week training period before you set off on your own. If you drive a limo and plan to transport more than 16 people, that’s when you’ll need a CDL with a passenger (P) endorsement. As a taxi driver, you can choose to purchase your own cab, or lease one through the dispatch company you’re working for.
The median wage for taxi drivers and chauffeurs is just under $25K.
Uber/Lyft: Both Uber and Lyft have driver requirements you’ll need to meet before you can start your gig. You definitely do not need a CDL for this type of job, but you may want to have means to alternate income since it can be so unstable due to competition. Many ride-hailing drivers work for both Uber and Lyft. Some studies have shown that you’ll make more money through Uber than you will with Lyft, but don’t expect to earn more than around $8/hour if you drive full time. Uber takes 25 percent of your fares, and Lyft will take between 20-25 percent.
Yard switch operator: You’ll also be known as a trailer jockey, yard driver, or yard hostler. To begin this career, you must have your CDL. A few days to a few weeks of training will be given to you until you’re ready to work on your own. You need to be comfortable driving a tractor trailer, as well as a yard mule, because you’ll be moving around the trailers in and out of the docks. Other than that, there isn’t a true training process.
This is an hourly position with salary ranging between $10-$19 per hour.
Owner/Operator: You own your own truck, and you make the rules. Or you could be leasing to own from a carrier. Either way, you’re a freelance truck driver. With this comes some significant out-of-pocket expenses like truck maintenance, insurance, taxes, and the cost of the truck payment, which can get pricey.
Salary for owner-operators runs the gamut, but it’s significantly more than OTR. Indeed says the average salary for owner-operators is $184K. Realistically, you’ll probably earn more in the $50Ks.
Even if you don’t want to be over the road, you can use your commercial driving experience to your benefit. There are a good number of jobs that allow for a terrific work-life balance while being able to pay the bills. In the end, isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?