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. OTR tractor trailer company drivers earn $70,551 per year on average (indeed.com).
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 $72,641 annually (indeed.com).
HAZMAT loads: To make an average $1,250/week (glassdoor.com), you could 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 (work.chron.com) in special cases.
Union Drivers: Think UPS, Costco, etc. Union drivers can make up to $86,500 (ziprecruiter.com). 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 $60,000 to $80,000 (werner.com).
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 solid salary at $40,085 to $52,642 (salary.com), 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 expect to make between $650-$750 per week. After some experience of hitting the roads, you’ll be rewarded with pay ranging from $44,000-$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 earned an average annual pay of $46,850 in 2019 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the top 10% of drivers had an average annual pay of $66,840. You’ll get paid per mile, along with bonuses.
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: $28.77 per hour. $59,840 per year.*
- Colorado: $24.03 per hour. $49,890 per year.*
- Connecticut: $24.49 per hour. $50,940 per year.*
- District of Columbia: $25.58 per hour. $53,200 per year.*
- Illinois: $23.94 per hour. $49,800 per year.*
- Massachusetts: $25.11 per hour. $52,230 per year.*
- Minnesota: $24.13 per hour. $50,200 per year.*
- North Dakota: $25.96 per hour. $53,990 per year.*
- Nevada: $24.58 per hour. $51,140 per year.*
- New Jersey: $23.93 per hour. $49,770 per year.*
- New York: $25.58 per hour. $53,210 per year.*
- Washington: $24.70 per hour. $51,370 per year.*
- Wyoming: $25.29 per hour. $52,600 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 a reported truck driver shortage, which means drivers are in demand. Heavy load and tractor trailer drivers will need more than 99,700 qualified people through 2028 to sit behind the wheel.
America needs truck drivers, in a good economy, a poor one, and even in worldwide disruptions. Find a local truck driving job now.
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*Pay information taken from BLS.com