It’s one of the most important questions to ask when considering a new career. Money, after all, is what pays the bills and keeps life trucking along. Luckily for drivers, the current shortage means more opportunities to make money in the Professional Truck Driving Industry.
Specific benefits and offerings of individual carriers aside, first year drivers average $40,000 to $45,000!*
The map below shows the most common jobs by state over time. You can literally see the demand for professional truck drivers increase before your eyes!
There are many additional factors that contribute to how much money truck drivers make, such as:
After you've signed on with a carrier, you will go through a period of direct training while clocking behind-the-wheel hours with a carrier trainer. Carrier training programs sometime offer a designated training pay that begins on the first day of orientation! Discuss training pay options with carrier representatives during their frequent visits to Roadmaster facilities.
While benefits are not direct money, they can be of great value to drivers. Before deciding on a carrier, you can determine if their benefits fit your preferred type of lifestyle. Benefits in trucking can include
Solo OTR Driver – Solo truck drivers make up a large percentage of the workforce. Their earnings vary depending on the available bonuses offered by their carrier. That’s why having the option to choose your carrier is such a great benefit! First year drivers average $40,000-$45,000 their first year.*
Team OTR Driver – Working in a pair means you can clock longer distances. When there are two truck drivers, the work can be switched off while the other driver rests or relaxes. Because both drivers are compensated for the combined mileage, there’s typically more money to be had. Teams can average up to $100,000-$150,000 a year!*
Trainer – After you’ve spent a few years on the road, you can apply to positions to train new drivers. You could then earn truck driver trainer pay and can average $60,000-$80,000 a year.* Gaining enough knowledge and experience to train new drivers can really make a difference in pay!
Owner-Operator – If you like the idea of running your own business instead of working for an employer, consider becoming an owner-operator once you have gotten adequate experience working for a carrier. Owner-operators can earn a greater rate-per-mile by cutting out the middleman and signing contracts directly with companies. As an owner-operator, you could eventually have your own fleet of drivers!
When carriers hire quality truck drivers, they want to keep them a part of their team for as long they can. To do this, carriers give truck drivers incentives or reasons to stay for longer periods of time and to continue driving safely. Types of incentives include, amongst others:
In addition to regular pay, you may also be able to make money through various bonuses as a CDL-trained truck driver. Each carrier company is different, but could offer bonuses like:
Monthly mileage – Some carriers pay extra to drivers who hit company thresholds for miles. Earn money for driving the longer distances and earn extra pay just because you drove them with your company!
Sign-on bonus – In order to attract new truck drivers, competing carriers will sometimes offer sign-on bonuses for drivers selecting their company. The amount differs from carrier-to-carrier and can be a whole sum or gradual payments.
Fuel efficiency – By using various fuel-saving practices, you prove to your carrier that you are a cost-conscience truck driver. Carriers appreciate that and many reward their drivers for cutting down on fuel.
Safety pay – Carriers strive for safe driving and may even offer bonuses for proven safety out on the highways. Proving that you can safely drive a tractor-trailer means more than good business, it means saving lives!
Layover pay – If you are inconvenienced or stalled in the delivery process, some carriers offer layover pay as a way of compensating truck drivers for the time lost.
Clean DOT Inspections – Clean Department of Transportation inspections are good for both the driver and the company. Carriers know this, and many pay their truck drivers for clean inspections.
Referrals – Having a friend sign up for your carrier company could lead to hefty bonuses. CDL-trained truck drivers are in high demand, and carriers are ready to pay for them!
Once your training is complete and you’ve earned your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), you’ll work with Roadmaster’s Job Placement Assistance Program to determine the carriers that are the best fit for you. Some Roadmaster students complete their CDL training course in as few as 4 weeks and others are even pre-hired by carriers during the early stages of training.
Pair this with the benefits and bonuses you have the potential to earn – packages that often include health, dental and life insurance, 401k, paid vacation and sick time – and it’s easy to see why you should consider a career in the Professional Truck Driving Industry!
Have questions? We have answers! Contact a friendly representative by filling out the quick form below to learn about options for earning your CDL , the first step to becoming a Professional Truck Driver.
*wage info supplied by Werner Enterprises
Call us at 1-800-831-1300 or fill out the brief form below to submit your information to our CDL Training admissions center. A Roadmaster representative will review your information and contact you to answer all of your questions and set up a date for you to visit the school location nearest you.