How Much Do Truck Drivers Make?

If you’ve been considering a career as a truck driver, you’re likely looking into weekend truck driving schools, night classes, and other ways to squeeze in that CDL training. At American Driver Training Academy, we’re proud to give truckers the tools they need to get their new careers on the road — literally! 

One common question many prospective truck drivers in the United States ask is, “How much do professional truck drivers get paid?” While there’s no single answer to this complex question, we can break down some factors contributing to truck driver pay. Keep reading to learn all about what goes into your average truck driver’s salary!

Training

CDL training isn’t one-size-fits-all. Choosing the right training program matters greatly since prospective employers will see it on your resume. Some programs give you a chance to connect with trucking companies before you’re even finished your training! Don’t forget to pick a training course that works with your schedule so that you can complete your classes in a timely manner.

Specialization

Once you’ve qualified for your CDL, it isn’t the end of your truck driver training. Some truck driving jobs require additional qualifications, especially those that involve construction machinery. CDL drivers work in all different industries, so don’t limit yourself when sending out those job applications. Specializing and receiving additional training makes you a much more enticing candidate — and boosts your annual income significantly. It’s worth a shot if you’re trying to rise above the rest of the crowd!

Employer

For anyone in any job, some companies pay well, and others pay peanuts. The same applies to trucking companies. As you’re searching for the right job match, keep this advice in mind:

  • Some companies pay an hourly wage, some an annual salary, and some pay a certain number of cents per mile. That one company’s offer may seem tempting, but is it realistic to meet those mileage goals, or are you better off taking the job with hourly pay? Always do the math if you’re comparing job possibilities. 
  • Certain employers offer paid time off, health benefits, and overtime incentives, while others don’t. Inquire about benefits when you’re researching the company. Reputable trucking companies will have no problem telling you about the benefits they offer for company drivers. 
  • Speak candidly about what you’re looking for in a trucking job opportunity. Some companies provide employees with lots of home time, while others require constant overnight trips. If you’re interested in a larger pay range, these long, cross-country jobs might be your ticket to a bigger salary; however, they can end up costing you time with family and friends. It’s up to you to decide if the difference in annual income is worth it.
  • Some trucking companies are national (or even international). Others are small local businesses run by owner-operators. There are pros and cons to working for each type of business, so do your research on companies you’re applying for and see what other local truckers have to say.

Experience

One of the biggest factors affecting a truck driver’s earnings is their experience. 

A driver’s experience counts for a lot, especially since you’re often alone on the road with no one to analyze your performance. Even if you’re a team driver, there is often scarcely little contact with your coworkers or supervisors for most of the day. That means that years of experience and faithful service to a specific employer (or a solid handful of employers) are among the best “green lights” for hiring managers looking to fill high-demand positions. 

Start Training Today!

Are you ready to start your career in a rewarding yet challenging industry (all with the potential to increase your salary significantly)? Train for your CDL with American Driver Training Academy! Our CDL training is second to none, and top trucking companies recruit straight from our campus each and every year. Contact us today to learn more or to get started on your road to success!