Highest Paying Truck Driving Jobs
There are many different types of trucking you could go into—this isn’t a "one size fits all" industry. Find out what type of trucking jobs are out there, and which ones are the highest paying. The more you know, the more money you could potentially earn.
Top Paying Truck Driving Jobs
OTR Tractor Trailer: You’ll be on the road for days or weeks at a time, so you’ll earn high pay to compensate you for your hours. On average, OTR tractor trailer drivers earn as much as $95,000 per year.
Tanker Drivers: You’ll need a tanker endorsement if you’re going to be a tanker driver. You’ll be hauling around liquids that can be very unstable, so it’s considered to be somewhat dangerous. This is why you get the big bucks, averaging $70K annually.
HAZMAT loads: To make $1,000/week minimum, you will need to get your HAZMAT endorsement. This type of driving is dangerous, so you have to know how to handle potentially toxic materials.
Extreme Weather Truck Drivers: Maybe you’ve seen these extreme weather truckers on television. They’re the ones taking their trucks where people wouldn’t dare tread even on foot. This is why they make huge money, topping $250,000 in just a couple of months.
Union Drivers: Think UPS, Walmart, Costco. Union drivers typically get an average of $80,000. Plus, they have great benefits, and a union backing them.
Instructor: Maybe you feel like you’ve paid your dues behind the wheel, but you still want to be involved in trucking. Why not take what you know and teach the next generation of truck drivers. You can earn between $21K to $60K.
Recruiter: You’re good at reading people, and companies rely on you to find men and women who would be a good fit for the job. You could become a truck driver recruiter. It’s a great salary at $50K, without the stress of being on the road.
Do Truck Drivers Make Good Money?
With truck driving, the more you’re on the road, the more you’ll earn. Just starting out, you can make between $650-$750 per week. After three years of hitting the roads, you’ll be rewarded with salaries ranging from $43,000-$55,000. It’s not uncommon to earn more than the average, it just depends on who you’re driving for.
Heavy load and tractor trailer drivers earn a median annual salary between $43,000-$65,000 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You’ll get paid per mile, along with bonuses. Delivery service truck drivers can earn between $32,000-$62,000.
A way to increase your pay is to become specialized, for which you’ll need endorsements. Also, owner-operators can earn high six-figure salaries, but they put in a lot of work and are responsible for their trucks and more.
What State Pays CDL Drivers The Most?
Of course, it’s always nice to live in a state known for paying your chosen profession well. It’s also nice to have the flexibility to follow the money. Find out which states pay their truckers the most. Maybe it’s where you live?
- Alaska: $27.71 per hour. $57,630 per year.
- Colorado: $25.37 per hour. $52,760 per year.
- Connecticut: $23.98 per hour. $49,880 per year.
- District of Columbia: $25.37 per hour. $52,760 per year.
- Illinois: $23.39 per hour. $48,650 per year.
- Massachusetts: $24.19 per hour. $50,310 per year.
- Minnesota: $23.42 per hour. $48,710 per year.
- North Dakota: $25.04 per hour. $52,080 per year.
- Nevada: $24.48 per hour. $50,920 per year.
- New Jersey: $23.60 per hour. $49,080 per year.
- New York: $24.26 per hour. $50,460 per year.
- Washington: $23.37 per hour. $48,620 per year.
- Wyoming: $24.13 per hour. $50,200 per year.
It’s not to say you won’t get somewhere in the vicinity of the above salaries if your state isn’t listed. It will depend on who you drive for, along with your experience level.
Are Truck Drivers In Demand?
There is an alleged truck driver shortage, and it’s supposedly going to get way worse before it starts getting better. Which means, yes, drivers are in demand. Heavy load and tractor trailer drivers will need more than 108,000 qualified people through 2026 to sit behind the wheel. Light truck and delivery service drivers will have more than 62,000 seats open through 2026.
If you ask truck drivers if there’s a shortage of qualified drivers, they’ll tell you no. They’ll mention there’s a shortage of companies willing to pay their drivers a fair wage, which is why they keep losing their drivers. Either way you look at it, there are still seats that need people in them. And America needs their truck drivers, or life will take a drastically sharp turn. Find a local truck driving job now.
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