Trucking jobs have seen a steady increase as the economy improves. Being a CDL Driver is a highly skilled job, requiring specialized training so trucking schools have also seen an increase in enrollment. As with nearly every job the best paid truck drivers are often those with the most experience, so a newer Class A Truck Driver can expect to make a bit less than his experienced peers. Average pay for a newly graduated CDL Driver is around $35,000 for the first year or two. Once a driver has two to three years experience they can start looking at higher paying trucking jobs. A good driving record, attention to detail and safety, and online deliveries are crucial in building a good reputation for new drivers.
Location appears to have an effect on average CDL Driver pay, with Mississippi drivers averaging around $68,000 per year. The type of loads hauled also has an effect. Heavy, hazardous, or otherwise dangerous loads pay more but carry heavier restrictions on which drivers can pull the load. A Class A Truck Driver with a “hazmat”, or hazardous materials, endorsement on his or her license can expect to make a good deal more than the average.
For those drivers willing to work overseas, drivers in Iraq can average $125,000 a year or more. Drivers who are able to brave the thrill of driving over 400 miles of ice roads in the frozen north of Alaska and Canada can make upwards of $120,000 for three months of driving before the roads melt away again. The oil industry also offers a high standard of pay to drivers for hauling goods and equipment to and from drilling sites.
Obviously the most dangerous jobs are the ones that pay the most, but drivers can also make quite a decent living hauling regular refrigerated goods. General refrigerated loads pay the driver several cents more per mile than a dry load of the same distance. The majority of over-the-road drivers are paid by the mile rather than hourly so a few cents per mile can add up to several hundred extra dollars at the end of the month.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is currently reviewing the “Hours of Service” rules governing how many hours a driver can work at a given time or in a given week. Industry experts are anticipating that the planned changes to these regulations, like the one taking effect on July 1st, may create as many as 100,000 new trucking jobs. Clearly the industry is still expanding, nearly every commodity in the country travels by truck for at least part of its journey from farm or factory to market.