Why Trucking

How much do truck drivers make?


If you’re thinking about getting your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), you’ve probably wondered “How much do truck drivers make?”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states the median wage for a tractor-trailer driver in 2020 was $48,710, with the top 10% of drivers making nearly $70,000/year.

How much truck driver make depends on the following factors.
How you are paid
The type of driving you do
The company you work for

How are truck drivers paid?

Unlike most jobs that pay by salary or hourly rate, truck drivers are paid for the miles they drive. Each trucking company has an established compensation scale that increases with experience. Truck driver pay continues to increase with the demand for truck drivers. CDL graduates can expect to earn between $0.30 and $.40 per mile.

On average, an over the road (OTR) truck driver will travel 2,000 to 3,000 miles per week depending on the type of driving the do.  In our experience, graduates an easily earn $1,200/week.

However, truck drivers can earn more based on the company the drive for, their location, the type of trailer/freight they haul and the additional endorsements they have.

Next, let’s look at how the type of trailer/freight you haul can affect truck driver pay.

What is the highest paid truck driving job?

From food and medicine to fuel and building materials; truck drivers haul it. Different types of loads require special skills from the truck driver. The more training required for the job or special certifications needed, typically the higher the pay. For example, a driver hauling fuel in a tanker trailer is required to obtain tanker and hazmat endorsements. These additional endorsements greatly increase their pay. Tanker driver is consistently one of the highest paid driving jobs.

Below are the most profitable job types as outlined by Freightwaves.com

1. Ice Road Trucking ($30,000 to $40,000 in just 3 months)
2. Hazmat Tanker Driver
3. Non-Hazmat Tanker Driver
4. Specialized/Oversized
5. Luxury Car Hauling
6. Team driver
7. Owner-Operator
8. Private Fleet Driver

We all can’t be ice road truckers and many of the high paying driving jobs listed above require several years of successful professional driving experience. The best way for new drivers to increase their pay is to be safe and productive, which will earn them bonuses.

How to increase truck driver pay?

Most transportation companies will reward safe and productive drivers by offering bonuses. If drivers meet certain criteria in their job, they can earn additional cents per mile or a one-time bonus. Bonuses are typically given for the following:

Fuel Efficiency
Clean DOT Inspection
Layover pay (compensation for time lost)
Tarp Pay (for flatbed drivers)
Stop pay (additional pay for multiple stops)

Get started with CDL training

As you can see there are numerous opportunities to earn high pay as a truck driver. You can get your commercial driver’s license in 3-4 weeks through one of our network schools. There are numerous tuition assistance programs, including grants to help fun your education. To learn more about getting your commercial driver’s license through our program fill out the information below or call a career specialist.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *