Truck Driving Salary by Job & The Highest Paying Jobs

Whether entering the transportation industry as a new truck driver or having years of over-the-road experience, opportunities to increase your earning potential are always present. The trucking industry is in constant need of qualified truck drivers. This demand opens the door for new and experienced drivers to survey the landscape, assess the most outstanding prospect for high compensation, and shape career plans accordingly.

Choosing the type of commercial trucking job with the most demand at a given time will ultimately lead to making good money. Becoming an owner operator and running your own trucking business has the highest potential to make the most money. The average income for an OTR owner operator in the US is approximately three times higher (minus expenses) than that of a company OTR driver.

To the benefit of operators, the shortage of drivers continues, so opportunities to choose the trucking career path that best suits you are abundant. Experience and advanced skills are the two main requirements leading to higher wages. The markets you choose to serve and the liabilities you’re willing to accept are also significant contributors to above-average compensation.

This article will first look at the qualifications needed to demand higher wages and then at the 15 highest-paying trucking jobs in 2022.

How to Qualify For The Highest Paying Truck Driver Jobs?

To get a truck driving job, you will need several qualifications. If you intend to haul only dry vans with general freight or a reefer hauling produce, the most important qualification is to possess a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Trucking companies often hire only qualified truck drivers with 5+ years of experience and no incidents on their driving record. As a new driver, your challenge is to build this history. With time, you will gain experience and acquire the road skills needed to help push your earning potential higher.

To make the highest wages as a truck driver, you need more than experience on the road — you also need an advanced set of skills. Following are some of the critical skills and attributes that higher-earning truck drivers have:
Niche Skillset
— Operators that acquire a specialty skillset within a niche market are best-positioned to earn higher than average compensation. For instance, flatbed haulers that specialize in hauling steel demand a much higher rate than dry van operators hauling general freight.
Willingness to accept more liability — The hauling of complex or dangerous cargo comes with greater risk. With greater risk comes more liability. With more liability comes greater pay.

Accident/incident free — A clean driving record keeps your options open.

Working in remote areas — Some truck driving jobs demand working in a remote or sparsely populated area. High demand and low supply are a recipe for higher earnings.

Business-minded — The highest earners in trucking are business-minded, have an entrepreneurial spirit, and are willing to become owner operators.

In addition to the above-listed skills, high-earning truck drivers generally operate certain commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) and haul specialty loads that require additional endorsements added to your CDL. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association describes a detailed set of commercial drivers’ licenses (CDLs) and the additional endorsements needed to operate particular types of CMVs.

Getting an endorsement is not difficult, as long as you study and pass a short multiple-choice test at the DMV. The more CDL endorsements you obtain, the more job flexibility you have. Don’t limit your career — allow as many career options as possible, then pick up the numerous truck-driving jobs available.

The 14 Highest Paying Truck Driver Jobs in 2022

Usually, the highest paying truck driver jobs are found in niche markets. To successfully perform in these markets, drivers generally need to operate expensive, specialized equipment, have special training and skills, plus possess the required CDL endorsements. With all these qualifications in place, a professional truck driver is well-positioned to demand higher than average rates and wages as compensation.

The most significant potential to earn high compensation as a commercial truck driver is to become an owner operator. Instead of working for a trucking company, you own and operate the carrier vehicle you either lease or own. As an independent owner, you can choose which loads to haul, what rates to charge, and what operating schedule to maintain.

Following are the 15 highest paying truck driver jobs in 2022. The average annual salaries quoted below are US wages for company drivers. Independent owner operators can earn far greater compensation for these driving positions.

Flatbed haulers pull a variety of cargo on open-air trailers throughout the country and across borders. Flatbed haulers can transport anything from raw materials like steel, plastics, and lumber, to vehicles, home goods, machinery, and even military vehicles through government contracts.

Transportation can be over long distances and is often riskier than hauling dry van loads. The cargo is typically too large or irregularly shaped and awkward to fit into a 53ft trailer. As a result, flatbed haulers usually earn more than dry van haulers. Loads must be secured using various methods.

Flatbed hauler’s annual salary up to: $401,500 per year Local truck driver’s annual salary up to: $386,500 per year Reefer driver’s annual salary up to: $383,500 per year

A local owner operator truck driver transports cargo around the city or locale in which they operate. These drivers specialize in transporting freight over a shorter distance, often picking and delivering multiple loads daily. Typically, local truck drivers complete their routes and make it home at the end of their day.

Regional truck driver’s annual salary up to: $382,000 per year Local truck driver’s annual salary up to: $324,500 per year Box truck driver’s annual salary up to: $269,000 per year

Reefer drivers haul refrigerated, temperature-sensitive, or frozen goods in a reefer trailer. Because of the critical nature of temperature control to preserve goods while in transit, these operators need to be excellent decision-makers and problem solvers. A breakdown can mean losing a load. Therefore, drivers must have quick, sound judgment to overcome unexpected challenges on the road.

Regional truck drivers deliver freight throughout their region. This category of driver usually runs a dry van or reefer trailer. Regional truck drivers do not drive long hauls. Instead, they drive assigned routes in and around neighboring states and provinces, taking multiple loads daily and typically coming home every night.

Team truck driver annual salary range up to: $181,000 per year

A local owner operator truck driver transports cargo around the city or locale in which they operate. These drivers specialize in transporting freight over a shorter distance, often picking and delivering multiple loads daily. Typically, local truck drivers complete their routes and make it home at the end of their day.

Box truck drivers are in high demand due to the massive increase in freight volume for last-mile deliveries. A box truck, including the cab and cargo bay, is usually 4 to 7 meters long. While these trucks are not semi-trailer trucks, they can be used to hitch additional cargo.

Oversized load driver’s annual salary up to: $144,000 per year Crude oil driver’s annual salary up to: $126,500 per year

Water hauler annual salary up to: $117,500 per year

Hazmat drivers are professionals who transport corrosive, explosive, flammable, poisonous, or other dangerous materials. They can use their expertise to review the labeling and storage of hazardous chemicals and ensure their stability during transport. Hazmat drivers can also dispose of toxic waste in line with legal and industry standards. The job is dangerous, as you are transporting toxic materials, but the pay is high, and hazmat drivers are in high demand.

Moving truck driver annual salary: $116,799 National Average per year

Hazmat driver’s annual salary up to: $257,500 per year

According to the FMCSA, truck drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after ten consecutive hours off duty. The team driver concept allows the drivers to adhere to these regulations while maximizing miles driven in the shortest time. A solo truck driver who drives the maximum allotted time must then stop to rest. Rather than stopping to rest, a team of two or more operators alternate driving so that one driver can rest while the other keeps the rig in motion. The goal is to travel as many miles as possible by driving all day and night. Because of this efficiency, teams usually earn more money than solo operators. Despite their pay being split, team drivers can earn good wages.

Company driver’s annual salary up to: $81,968 Nation Average per year

In general, oversized loads are wider than 8 feet 6 inches or taller than 13 feet 6 inches. These loads cannot be broken down into smaller segments. If the load weighs 250,000 pounds or more, it’s a super load.

You’ll need a ton of experience to be an oversize load driver. Some companies require as much as ten years of experience. Most new operators do not start as oversized load drivers due to the role’s complexity and required knowledge.

A crude oil driver’s primary responsibility is transporting crude between an oilfield and a destination, such as a depot, rail station, or refinery. Duties may include testing and sampling the oil to verify its quality, helping to load and unload, and transporting additional paperwork to each destination.

An oil and gas drilling operation produces large amounts of salt water and other waste by-products, which must be removed and properly disposed of. Large vacuum-equipped tanker trucks are used to transport the waste fluids away from drill sites to regulated and approved disposal sites. Water haulers are required to be somewhat physically active during a workday.

Outside of the oil & gas industry, water truck haulers can also work in the construction industry, providing moisture for road surfacing projects.

Household goods hauling isn’t for everyone, but it’s not just because of the heavy lifting. Despite being in high demand, many truckers avoid operating moving trucks due to the physical demands. Having to work with helpers, securing an odd mix of fragile freight, and maintaining high-touch customer relationships are requirements that make it far more specialized than typical dry van hauling.

A private fleet is an in-house team of trucks and operators primarily used to transport a company’s goods to warehouses, stores, and customers. Private trucking fleets often pay truckers more, but their standards for hiring drivers are also higher. They may seek out drivers with more experience and a higher skill level than the average dry freight driver.

Here is a short list of the five highest-paying trucking companies in 2022, according to truckdriverssalary.com. Note that the type of truck driver and your experience level can drastically change your base compensation rate.

  • GP Transco~ $90,000 USD per year
  • Barr None ~ $87,142 USD per year
  • Wal-Mart ~ $87,013 USD per year
  • Epes Transport ~ $83,921 per year
  • Hogan Transportation~ $83,876 per year

Tanker drivers haul liquids — anything from fuel to milk. These specialized drivers need advanced driving skills due to the changing load balance of fluid in motion. Incorrect braking can cause the liquid’s momentum inside the tank to push the truck forward. Aggressive maneuvering can create side-to-side liquid surges, which can result in rollovers. Tanker pay is usually higher since hauling liquids is potentially dangerous.

Liquid/Tanker driver’s annual salary up to: $71,332 per year

Conclusion

Starting a trucking business can be a very lucrative career for those that learn the business of trucking well. There are a lot of growth opportunities for drivers willing to gain additional training and maintain a clean employment record and driving history. The most significant opportunity to capitalize on high-paying trucking jobs is to specialize in a niche market as an independent owner operator.

Independent owner operators must be proficient as both professional drivers and business owners. It is essential to recognize that many support services are available to help achieve success as an owner operator. Training schools and on-the-job training are the best outlets for gaining special skills. Establishing a working relationship with a factoring company that specializes in trucking is a practical approach to maximizing your success rate as a trucking business owner. Industry-leading freight factoring companies offer more than just cash flow solutions to keep your business moving forward. They also provide load acquisition services, discount fuel programs, advice, and more.

About eCapital

eCapital’s roots are deeply grounded in the trucking industry. With over 25 years of experience in transportation financing, our organization is based on industry knowledge. Building relationships based on integrity and trust, we deliver cash flow you can count on and trucking industry expertise you can leverage to support your success.

eCapital’s team of industry experts empowers your trucking company, helping you gain a competitive advantage and maximize profitability. Client services include access to an industry-leading load board, dispatch service, credit check tool, fuel discount programs, and more.

To learn more about how eCapital can benefit your trucking company, visit eCapital.com.

Originally published at https://ecapital.com on July 12, 2022.

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eCapital a tech-enabled finance provider in N.Amer. & U.K offers business lending through invoice/freight factoring, asset-based lending, payroll funding & more

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