Everything you need to get started in trucking or advance your existing career. Here we've listed the salaries you can expect across the country, the best states for earning, fuel prices, which companies are hiring, local CDL institutions and more.
It's interesting to note that there is very little correlation between average state earnings and trucker's salaries - for instance, Alaska and Hawaii are among the lowest earning states for truckers, but both are in the top ten highest for general earnings. Similarly, the average Mississippian household only brings in $36,650 (the lowest in the country), but it's the top place for truckers who average $68,000 a year.Click here to view a breakdown of the top ten states.
Data compiled, with thanks, from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Data compiled from Indeed.com.
Below is a breakdown of the best states for earning a living with trucking jobs based on national averages. Click on each tab to see salary details, companies hiring in the state and institutes offering commercial license training.
Also included are links direct to the recruitment portal of each company (in addition to CDL training websites, where possible).
Trucking jobs are for the tough. Truck drivers must have the staying power to put in long hours of work and to go the distance driving interstate, say, from the western US Los Angeles, California, down to Austin, Dallas or Houston, Texas, up to Kansas, Missouri, southeast to Birmingham, Alabama, then further down to Tampa or Jacksonville, Florida, then up to Cleveland, Ohio and Michigan. Some companies, like CT Express and Hot Shot Logistics, even go overseas from the USA to as far as across Canada, such as in Toronto, Alberta and Ontario, or the whole of North America. This is what they call OTR or Over The Road trucking. These Herculean jobs are paying considerable basic salaries and a number of companies reward a punctual delivery and remarkable safety record with a bonus. Another way for drivers to increase their rates is by working overtime. Truckers get paid on a per mile basis, sometimes on a per hour basis, with an hourly rate estimate of $14.33.
You must have the muscle to carry heavy loads, a good eye sight to watch the road, a satisfactory driving record and a Commercial Driver's License or CDL in order to land a truck driver job. The safety of the company's resources: the truck you will be driving and the company's or their client's products (what is contained in the truck) are placed in your hands when you get hired as a trucker. For this reason, companies prefer responsible drivers: drivers with no speeding, moving or driving violations. Experience is a big plus, but drivers who have experience as felons may have a hard time landing a trucker job especially when moving high-risk items. For instance, Garda (some mistakenly spell it as Guarda) Cash Logistics, Brinks and Dunbar, are leading players in the armored car business transporting money and other valuables, catering to banks and other financial institutions, implement extensive criminal and other background checks for the security of their business before they entrust their trucks to new hands.
If you are an inexperienced driver, consider looking for truck driving jobs with training since courses can cost a lot especially for a newbie who is not earning any income yet.
While you can pay for your training yourself, you can actually get a truck driving job that takes care of your training. To find these jobs, consider the following tips:
Ask Truck Drivers. The best source of information on truck driving openings with training is from the drivers with CDL, especially if they themselves went through such training. Ask them how they got their training and inquire about the best schools to get trained that they know of. If need be, offer them a fee for the information. This is a cheap price to pay rather than paying the course yourself.
Get In Touch With Truck Driving Schools and Companies To Refer You To Truck Driving Jobs With Training. Hunt for these schools and companies either through an online search or through a local directory. They would know of driving opportunities and they would be willing to tell you because when you get the job, you become their student.
Finish All The Required Classes. Of course, you wll not get the job if you do not complete all the requisite classes so attend and learn from each class until the end.
Stay With The Company For The Required Duration. There are companies that offer training at no cost provided you stay with them for, say, one year. Some require a payment of a little less than $2000 if you stay for just a month.
As long as commerce thrives in the USA, products continue to be transported to various states, even as far as Canada. So be prepared to eat the alphabet soup of the trucking businesswith ingredients like AZ, CT, CA, GA, FL, NC, NJ, PA, TX, etc. You can either work for a company mainly engaged in providing trucking services to other companies, or you can also serve as a truck driver to certain businesses needing truckers to man their own company trucks to haul their products. There are so many companies benefiting from the services of truckers such as those in the apparel, food, banking and hotel business. Hospitals, and even the government also need trucking services. Forwarding companies, such as UPS and Fedex need you to dispatch their clients' mails.
You can work for Walmart and transport computers, clothing or what have you, for Dreyers and deliver ice cream, for a brewery and transport beer, for a garbage management and disposal company and move trash, for a petroleum company and convey gas on a tanker, for Chevy and transport automobiles, for Oshkosh and convey Pepsi products, and so on. A driver transporting what they call hazmat or hazardous materials may be receive greater compensation since he runs the risk of compromising his health. It could be anything.
Some companies where you may land a driver job include:
Conway. This corporation supplies surface freight transportation for commercial, industrial, manufacturing, retail and manufacturing companies in North America. It also provides regional and national truckload transportation.
Schneider National, Inc. This company boasts of van, flatbed, tanker, refrigerated and heavy haul equipment that can be used to convey items across the USA and Europe.
Loomis. Operating in the US and Europe, this armored service car provider offer secure transportation, physical cash management and technical services with innovative ways to reduce the risks of transporting cash.
KBR. If driving across North America does not sound adventurous enough to you, working for one of the world's leading government services contractors may be what you are looking for. This carrier provides construction, engineering and military support services that includes driving in Iraq and Australia.
JB Hunt. A JB Hunt Dedicated position is a hot job for truckers who want to be home each night. Getting into this job contract allows you to predict your trip schedule, more time at home, and you can interact with customers. Local, regional and OTR openings are available.
Swift Transportation Corporation. For an inexperienced driver, completing the course in the Swift Driving Academy of this company makes landing an entry level position in the truck driving industry easy. He needs to shell out $3,900 for this but will be reimbursed after 26 consecutive months of working for the company.
Hot Shot Trucking. If you do not wish to be employed by these companies, you can launch your hauling business using your own truck. Or you may also seek a truck driver job from owner operator truck companies. These are run by owner operators needing more drivers to form their team if they own two or more trucks. One perk of going independent is you can custom design your truck to your liking, a cool camo paint, or a two-tone painting job perhaps.
With so much products to transport and so much miles to cover across the US, career opportunities in trucking are available nationwide. Look into your own state and you will find one. As far as Alaska, Atlanta, California, North and South Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, Maryland, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin, wherever.
There are also other job opportunities in the industry that are non-truck driving, such as truck mechanic, diesel fleet mechanic, as mentioned earlier, and heavy equipment loader. A good fallback for veterans in the business at the brink of their career but may want to take it slow would be as a recruiter. If you have skills in these jobs, then also consider these openings.
You have many babies to choose from in your truck driving career besides the flatbed truck. You can operate a forklift, a tanker, a rig, a straight truck, an articulated truck, a semi, garbage truck or other class A and B vehicles. You can also be a tow truck operator. You may also prefer to drive a dump truck. The automatic tilting features of a dump truck is very serviceable to a construction or mining company so learn these skills if you plan to work there. Waste disposal companies also need dump truck drivers. What you will be driving depends on the company you work for and the products that they haul or the clients that they serve. But be reasonable, you cannot expect to drive a monster truck, unless you are hired for entertainment.
Besides the vehicle you will be driving, job descriptions will also vary due to the differences in the nature of the job and skills needed. Part of the job description of an armored van driver may also include posing as a security guard, a duty that is not common in other truck driving jobs.
With all the goods to deliver, miles to cover and truck companies hiring, you can certainly land a truck job as long as you have 20/20 vision, a CDL and a good driving record whether experienced or inexperienced.