How Much Money Do Truck Drivers Make?

Truck drivers never seem to be jobless. Four-fifths of the cargo is hauled across the country by trucks. Insider and the American Trucking Association cannot reach an agreement on the estimated number of hired truck drivers in the country. When looking the question up, the suggested numbers are between 1.53 million and 3.36 million. These alone show that the industry is stable and even growing. Another attractive factor driving people to get professional truck driving training is the study time. The courses last about a month, and you can usually combine learning with working at your current position so that your finances are covered. But what about perspective? Can you build a career after getting your CDL and shape your income? The short answer is yes, you can. Truck drivers do not have the same salary, and in this article, we will talk about the profits you can expect, what determines them, and what you can do to increase your paycheck.

You finished your truck driver training. What now?

Americal commercial drivers receive payment per mile. The average cost of the mile is currently about $0.49. While weekly mileage varies depending on the kind of job the driver does, let us suggest they make 3,500 miles a week. We multiply the number by the cost getting weekly profits of $1,715. With a two-week holiday and 50 weeks of work per year, the annual income reaches $85,750. According to Indeed, the average profit of a truck driver in the US is $81,669. The number is calculated from hundred of salaries submitted by users and found in the vacancies on the platform.

What does a truck driver’s income depend on?

  • Routes. They determine the mileage—logically, the longest OTR routes are best paid. If the driver is ready to sacrifice much of their time at home and spend hours behind the wheel, they surely will not do this for nothing. Another factor is that challenging routes, such as with remote destinations or with icy roads, usually have a higher cost of a mile which also contributes to the worker’s paycheck.
  • CDL class. A truck driver training for an “A” class license allows you to operate more heavy and complex vehicles used for more profitable jobs.
  • Experience, skill, positive driving record. You will not get those overnight, but responsibility and professionalism are valuable in any market. These things will help you endure the competition for work in the best companies.
  • Certificates and specific skills open to you positions for work with the most sensitive cargo. They come with high liability but offer good compensation. Having a TWIC card or knowledge about hauling hazardous materials, oversized cargo, or security equipment are examples of such valuable additions to your resume.
  • Being in the union. Unionized drivers have better legal protection and beneficial work conditions.
  • Type of the company. Some companies just offer better payment. Sometimes it depends on the scale of the enterprise and sometimes on the type of its operations. White glove services and enterprises with private fleets offer higher salaries but be prepared for rough competition.

Most high-paid truck-driving jobs

  1. Company team driver. The term “team driving” speaks for itself: you team up with a colleague and drive in shifts to reach a remote destination point (another state across the country, for example) sooner. It is challenging because you still spend much time on the road plus you are with another person in a confined space, and the paycheck matches the difficulty.
  2. Special cargo. It can be sensitive or oversized cargo or hazmat hauling. For such jobs, they look for extremely skilled, liable drivers with perfect driving records. Sometimes, additional papers are required as well.
  3. Private fleet or white glove delivery we mentioned earlier.
  4. Jobs with undesirable conditions (remote routes, bad roads, challenging driving, etc.). Not everyone will want them so employers offer better wages to attract applicants.

How to apply for professional truck driving training?

If you are positive that you want to enroll in a truck driving school, we will tell you what to expect. Firstly, you will need a specific set of documents to apply:

  • Proof of your legitimacy (US passport, work visa, green card, etc.)
  • A class C driver’s license.
  • A DOT-issued health certificate.
  • Truck driver’s permit for a learner.

Then, you will complete an ELDT—Entry Level Driver Training online course—and get a certificate for the FMCSA record. After that, the real work begins. You will learn how to do a pre-trip inspection, maintenance basics, parking, driving, and unloading. The come internal exam and the final DMV test. You passed that—congratulations, you successfully graduated from a truck driving school in the USA! Wait for your CDL for 10 to 14 business days, and you are ready to work.

How to find a truck driving school?

If you are not sure where to find a training facility, we recommend you check Start CDL in Philadelphia. They will offer you flexible training hours, an inexpensive hostel if you are from another state, teachers with years of experience, and more practice time than any truck driving school in the USA. The latter is especially important because it allows you to proceed for your exams fully prepared and confident which guarantees that you will not fail. The school graduated over 6,700 students in seven+ years of its existence. After getting a CDL, the driver can upgrade it, renew it, or switch from auto gearbox to manual without trouble—all in one place. They are also easy to contact if you have questions: you can reach them through socials, e-mail, phone call, contact form, or a chat on the website.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.