Not every type of CDL trucking job offers the same pay. Depending on the type of haul you take and the experience you have with different loads, you can earn a much different salary. Gain experience in one of these lucrative types of trucking jobs, and you’ll see the zeros in your paycheck increase.
Here are the 10 highest paying driving jobs in the industry.
1. Ice Road Trucking
Since this is the most dangerous and risky of the driving jobs in the industry, it is also one of the most well payed. Be warned- ice road trucking isn’t for the faint of heart. There’s a reason why the show “Ice Road Truckers” on the History Channel has been very popular. People are fascinated with the courage and skill it takes to be an ice road trucker. These drivers work only a few months of the year but can make a full year’s salary in that short time. They need to be very skilled drivers and fix their trucks in cases of breakdown.
2. Oversized Truck Loads
Driving oversized loads could simply mean that the load is an inch over-width or could mean you’re driving double wide trucks. Since the driving is a bit trickier, these jobs will automatically pay more. You’ll likely need special permits from transportation departments for oversized truck loads. If you don’t like night driving, this job might be for you since you won’t be allowed to drive when it’s dark. It does mean you’ll spend more days on each job, but the pay raise may be worth it.
3. Auto Hauls
You can’t miss these behemoths on the road because they look so intimidating. One truck hauls a dozen or more cars which are likely brand new. These auto haul jobs pay extremely well because of the value of the freight and because they require very skilled driving. If you’re transporting luxury cars, you’ll be payed even higher. Added training may be needed on-the-job since you won’t get exposure to this in truck driving school.
Being an owner-operator comes with a mountain of responsibility. You’ll have to deal with operational expenses, maintenance, and finding contracts with different companies. Being your own boss can also be potentially rewarding. Since you won’t have to deal with company management, you can see more of your bottom line in your own paycheck. Becoming an owner-operator is a really big decision which most drivers aren’t ready for until they’ve had years of experience under their belt.
5. Over the Road Trucking
In general, over the road (OTR) jobs are going to pay more since they involve long hauls. You’ll be traveling across the country, maybe even coast-to-coast, and will be on the road for long stretches of time. This means it may be weeks till the next time you see your family. The idea is that you’re getting a bigger paycheck for sacrificing the home time. Be careful though and verify the compensation package with your recruiters before signing on for OTR jobs. Many drivers actually enjoy OTR driving since they get to explore the country and visit many incredible places.
6. Tanker Hauls
Tanker trucking jobs pay more than flatbed loads or dry van hauls. This is because they are also considered to be more dangerous since they involve liquids which often move around uncontrollably. In order to land a tanker job, your CDL needs to be endorsed to be a tanker haul driver. This will allow you to gain experience with liquid hauling.
7. Hazmat Hauls
If you’re getting into tanker trucking, consider hazmat jobs as well. These jobs are dangerous since they transport hazardous materials like gas or chemicals. A hazmat endorsement on your CDL is required for these types of jobs. Most tanker hauls are hazmat. Because of the dangerous nature of the haul, these jobs pay significantly well
8. Team Truck Drivers
Team drivers handle one run together so that it can be completed quicker. Companies often use teams when a load needs to reach a destination as soon as possible. A pair of team drivers can cover 2,000 miles in one day while it would have taken twice or three times as long for a solo driver. The two drivers take turns resting so that the truck is still moving even though one of them is sleeping. This is a popular approach for truck driver couples who like spending the time together on the road. Team driving isn’t for everyone though because you’ll be spending a lot of time with the other driver, regardless of whether or not it’s your spouse.
9. Trucking School Instructor
Working in a trucking school to teach new trainees can also be a lucrative job. You also get to stay in one location and avoid the long hours and distances with most trucking jobs. Sometimes drivers decide to take this route after they’ve spent a few years driving and decided they are sick of it, or want to spend more time with their families. Check out local truck driving schools to see if they have any positions open
10. Mining or Dump Truck Driving
It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. These are non-glamorous driving jobs since the freight is literally garbage or coal. Mining truckers haul coal, rock and oil. Dump trucks carry sand, gravel, or demolition waste. The trucks themselves are unique since they’re specifically designed for this type of job. If you’re working in or around mines, you have to take special care to make sure the mine itself is not disturbed. These jobs can pay well, but make sure you interested and don’t mind getting dirty.
The trucking industry has dozens of types of jobs that are very different in terms of schedule, haul, type of run, and risk involved. It makes sense that not all are going to pay equally well. We’ve identified ten highest paying driving jobs in the industry to help you decide what type to look for. Although you may not always be able to control what types of runs you get assigned to, you can start building experience different jobs and find the ones that best suit you.