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Truck Driver Salary: A Closer Look

What is your salary potential in the trucking industry?

Updated August 2021

The trucking industry is continuing to grow, and the salaries are steady right along with it. Building a successful career as a truck driver requires hard work and dedication, but the rewards can be great! It is always important to understand your salary options when starting a new career. So the important question is, how much can truck drivers make? Let’s tackle all of the options here and get you on the path to a new start!

OTR Driver Salary

The average OTR driver has more opportunities to make a higher salary than other truck drivers. Most OTR drivers can expect to make about $58,000 a year. However, a truck driver’s salary is not necessarily set in stone. Many factors can contribute to a pay increase, such as experience, job promotion, training, or the individual trucking company you work for.

Experience Helps Sets the Standard

An experienced truck driver reigns supreme in the transportation industry, and their salary reflects that. Because they have been in the industry for a while, they know how all the tricks of the trade. Experienced drivers know how to maximize their mileage, watch their hours, navigate construction like a pro, and safely get from one terminal to the next terminal. You must go out and gain experience behind the wheel, but starting out, you can expect to make between $40,000 and $50,000 as an OTR (over the road) truck driver.

Work Up the Ladder

Another option for an increase in salary many truck drivers pursue is to become an owner/operator. This means that your own your truck and equipment. You essentially become a small business owner and are responsible for most of your success. You have to work hard to become an owner/operator, but it can definitely be done!

Growing Your Salary as a Truck Driver

Earning your Class A CDL is only one step in becoming an experienced truck driver. There are also various endorsements available to you after you gain your CDL. You could get your hazmat endorsement, which lets you handle all types of loads. You could also consider getting your tanker endorsement and help food distributors move products across the country. There are a lot of options to explore, especially after you’ve had a couple of years on the road under your belt.

If you want to work in a field that is always hiring new truck drivers, choosing to drive a truck professionally is a great idea. CDL training connects you to the skills you need to increase your salary potential as a truck driver. As you gain more experience and broaden your skills, you will be pleasantly surprised by the opportunities that become available.

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