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4276 Elton St, Baldwin Park, CA 91706 | 11081 Cherry Ave, Fontana, CA 92337   |    909-201-7600 ( Se Habla Español ) 
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How Much Do Truck Drivers Make?

Truck Driver Academy / Blog  / How Much Do Truck Drivers Make?

How Much Do Truck Drivers Make?

Over the past few decades, the truck driving career has become more and more popular. The driver’s hard work is an important part of our economy, as they deliver foods and goods to all corners of the country. As the demand for truck drivers increases, so does their pay. We’ve got to keep the people interested, don’t they?

So yes, truck drivers in high demand, but the job itself has many benefits. There’s a chance to travel and see some of the most beautiful parts of the country. Also, not only is truck driving a secure career, but they typically earn higher than average wages and have a lot of room for growth. Becoming a truck driver trainer, driving with a team, or taking on more dangerous routes can mean both a chance for you to advance in the industry and higher wages. So how much do truck drivers make? Let’s explore this question below.

How Much Do Truck Drivers Make

The question, “how much do truck drivers make” does not have a single answer. The wages for truck drivers vary greatly.

Solo Over-the-Road (OTR) drivers can end up making more than $45,000 in their first year alone. However, since they drive alone, they usually drive a shorter distance, which means less money. Even though it might be a more convenient and less exhausting drive, the further they drive, the more money they’ll make. Team truck drivers typically pair up so that they can drive longer distances, and end up making between $70,000 to $100,000 a year.

Those with more experience in the field can have the opportunity to train new drivers. It’s not an easy job, and you need to be well trained to qualify for it, but they are paid generously, earning between $60,000 and $80,000 a year.

Those who are CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) certified earn more than those without it, often by tens of thousands of dollars.

How Much Do CDL Drivers Make

Getting a Commercial Drivers License, otherwise known as a CDL, takes months of studying and practical training. Driver’s will dedicate their time to gaining relevant skills and knowledge to help them succeed in the industry. Obtaining a Commercial Drivers License is not an easy task, but making the effort to get that licensing can get you a big pay raise in the truck driving industry.

According to Zip Recruiter, “As of Nov 8, 2018, the average hourly pay for a CDL Truck Driver in the United States is $23 an hour.” That’s more than double minimum wage in many states and comes to almost $50,000 a year. Considering how much CDL drivers make, the time and effort that they put into getting the licensing definitely pays off.  

The main reasons CDL drivers make more money is that they have more experience and more applicable skills, thus making them a better candidate than most new drivers. Unlicensed drivers sometimes have to work for years before they gain the knowledge they need to succeed. In general, the longer they work, the more money they make. How much truck drivers make in the first year versus how much truck drivers make in the fifth year is substantial.

Bonuses and Benefits

How much truck drivers make is a good question, but let’s not rule out how valuable benefits and bonuses can be. Certain companies offer paid vacation and sick days, a variety of insurance policies including life insurance, 401k plans, and the ability to bring a friend or family member along for the ride. If a company has average pay but fantastic benefits, they will still be very desirable in the industry. Everyone wants to be taken care of, at least as far as perks and finances are concerned.

Earning Higher Wages

There are a few things truck drivers can do to up their wages. Some people may find truck driving rather tiring, so it’s not uncommon to see people quit after a few years. That’s why, the longer someone works in the industry and gains more experience, they’ll find that they qualify for certain higher paid jobs.

There are some trucking companies that offer drastically higher wages. These include Epes Transport, Acme Truck Line, and Wal-Mart. However, most of these trucking companies require years of experience to be even considered for the job.

Some truck driving roles also pay better than others. For example, ice road truckers are among the highest paid, making more than $250,000 in one year. Tanker haulers follow tail, typically bringing in more than $80,000. Yet, not just anyone can work these jobs. They too require a lot of skill and a lot of nerve to get the job done right. Notice a pattern?

In general, the most common factors that affect how much do truck drivers make in a year are their experience, licensing, and the type of route they take.

Clearly, the life of a truck driver is not only exciting, but it is also fulfilling and lucrative. If a driver puts an effort to grow themselves in this industry, they’ll find themselves succeeding more often than not. Like all things, hard work pays off.