Being a truck driver is not just a career, it’s a lifestyle. In fact, truck drivers have their own sense of community. There’s iconic truck stops across the country, they have their own union, and it’s a regulated industry.
If you’re someone who enjoys long hours on the road and going wherever your work takes you, then this career might be the perfect fit for you.
What is a truck driver?
Truck drivers are people who move goods from one location to another by using semi-trucks and eighteen-wheel trucks. The work of a truck driver can vary from moving all forms of cargo whether it be raw materials, finished, products, or even live animals. There are also different licenses truck drivers are required to get in order to be able to handle different types of equipment.
While some truck drivers work for large companies like Schneider or UPS, there are many owner-operator drivers who own their own trucks and work their own hours
How much can truck drivers make?
Pay for a truck driver can vary significantly. Pay depends on the experience and type of driver. Here are some common truck driver jobs with salary ranges to help give some insight into the pay ranges:
- Solo truck driver: Largest population of the truck driver workforce. Pay ranges from $45,000 – $50,000 per year.
- Driver trainer: Drivers with years of experience who want to stay closer to home might find this a preferred career option. The average pay is around $70,000 per year.
- Team driver: Driving in pairs allows the truck to keep moving, one driver rests while the other drives. The range for this line of work is $125,000 – $150,000 per year.
- Owner-Operator: These drivers generally own their own equipment/trucks and work directly with their own clients. As a result, they have higher earning potential with an average salary of over $100,000 per year.
If working for a large company, drivers may also be eligible for bonuses or holiday pay, which is not reflected in the salaries listed above.
What do you need to become a truck driver?
Before being hired as a truck driver, there are some preliminary steps:
- Must have a current and active state driver’s license
- Many employers require at least a GED or High School Diploma.
- Physical exam conducted by a medical examiner listed in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) National Registry.
- Earn a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) by taking classes at a truck driving school
Once the above list is complete, drivers are ready to hit the road.
Truck drivers have the potential to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. In order to do so, additional training and certificate programs might be necessary.
Here are some of the most common Truck Driving Certifications to increase earning potential:
- Double/Triple Trailer Driver
- Tanker Trucking
For those interested in a life on the road, becoming a truck driver sounds like a logical career choice. It won’t be easy work, but it can provide a flexible work schedule and a comfortable salary.