What are the highest paying trucking jobs?
If you are thinking about working in the trucking industry, it’s only natural to wonder – “How much does a truck driver make?” When it comes to the highest paying trucking jobs are, it depends highly on where they are, and what it takes to qualify for these positions.
Some trucking positions pay well because the driver has to haul hazardous freight, or travel long distances, or possess particular certifications and experience that only the top drivers have on their logbooks, so to speak.
How do you seek the highest truck driver salary in your area?
Every region of the country has its own transportation characteristics. This includes climate, pay, major industries, and the small and large businesses who hire drivers and rely on area carriers. So naturally, there will be similar trucking jobs in every region (OTR, local, regional routes), as well as unique positions – many of which you’ll see on this list. Mining, for instance, pays well – but won’t be an option for drivers in all areas of the US.
How do you pursue a high-paying CDL driver salary?
You talk to schools and trucking companies in your area – that’s that. And that’s why we’re here: to be your handy, trusty trucking resource, and point you in the right direction, so you can move on down the road in your trucking career.
When you talk to schools or carriers about truck driving jobs or training, ask what jobs are available for drivers who want maximum pay and benefits. They can help you determine which type of job will be best for you.
Five of the Highest Paying Truck driving Jobs
Here is a list of many top-paying trucking jobs that you can consider. No matter what type of trucking job is right for you, CDL training and hazmat certification will probably be required for most high-paying positions.
1.) Team Driver
If you want to travel over-the-road with a trusted driving partner, you can work as a team and keep moving down the road 24/7. Pay will vary, but the national average for this position is around $49K – that’s according to Glassdoor.com*. However, on the higher end of the spectrum, you may find pay that accumulates to 70K a year, when you includes bonuses.
2.) Ice Road Trucker
There is a reason they made a TV show about this dangerous hauling gig. You think you have what it takes to handle the toughest roads with the biggest loads? If so, you may be able to make between 20-80K in two months of the harshest months of the year. Before becoming an ice road trucker, you’ll probably have to take a short course (typically around a week) to make sure you can handle the job.
3.) Oversize load hauling
Have you ever seen a house moving down the highway and wondered, “Who is crazy enough to try that?” If you want to be the person behind the wheel of oversize loads, you can earn more than most local driving gigs, simply because of the risk involved. We don’t have accurate salary data for this type of work – so ask your local CDL School about this type of work.
Many of these oversize hauling jobs can be found in a local context – meaning, you can find these jobs that will keep you close to home. Some of these jobs will pay over 60K per year – but we recommend you look in your area to see what the pay scale and employment outlook is for you. Many of these positions require that drivers possess a Class A CDL.
4.) Hazardous Materials
Okay, who hasn’t moved into a far lane of the highway to avoid driving next to the truck with the explosion symbol on the back of it? We sure have – but someone has to move gas, oil, chemicals, and other potentially hazardous materials from point A to point B. These jobs tend to pay on the high end of the trucking pay scale simply because of the additional risks hauling these materials adds to the stress of driving.
If you live in an area near oil, gas or other large companies that work with hazardous materials, you may want to look into HAZMAT certification with your CDL training.
5.) Owner Operator
While the BLS doesn’t have hard data on what Owner Operators typically earn, we scoured the listings and found that owner operators can be in good shape financially – but you’ll have to buy and maintain your own rig. If that’s cool with you, then you can earn an average pay of $141,000 – if the data from Indeed is correct.
Having your own truck can give you the freedom to work when and where you want, while bringing in top pay for your skills. If you are just starting out in your career, and are in it for the long haul, you might consider buying your own rig.
What about jobs for older drivers?
Truck Driver Recruiter
If you’re winding down in your working years, you can put that experience to use as a recruiter for trucking companies. Sometimes, the pay for recruiters can be higher that what drivers are paid, while others may pay a bit less. Recruiters may also work to earn bonuses and other financial incentives in these roles. Of course, recruiters can also expect to have the same level of health, dental, vision, 401K and other benefits that drivers enjoy to help maintain employee loyalty and attract the best drivers.
According to some sources, some major companies pay their recruiters around 40K a year. If you’re retired or ready to pass the wheel to the next generation, this can be a good way to relax a bit and spend more time at home.
There are many paths you can take for truck driving jobs that pay drivers competitive wages. You don’t have to haul houses or explosive materials to make a pretty darn good living – at least in our opinion.