Highest Paying Truck Driving Jobs

It is no secret that over the road, or OTR, truck drivers make the best money. Walmart is one of the highest paying, with an average salary of $71,500 per year before bonuses. Over the road drivers are paid more due to the type of travel, the hours involved and all of the different road laws that must be followed in each state. OTR drivers are also held to much higher standards. They deliver a variety of products around the country and have tight delivery schedules to keep. Specialty drivers and long haul drivers rank right up with OTR drivers.

Specialty drivers fall into a special category. These are drivers who haul oversized loads, specialty products, and Hazmat materials mostly. It takes a specially trained driver to take on these trips. Thus, the jobs pay more. The higher pay also means that these drivers are expected to stay up to date on industry policy changes, new laws that go into effect and the laws of the roadways in each area that they travel in.

Truck drivers that belong to a union are also paid higher than national companies are. Unions have several rules in place that require the drivers be paid accordingly. Increases in pay are expected as well. These drivers have a whole different set of rules to follow in addition to the industry standard rules and regulations. Unions each have dues and terms of their own. Each union is different, and it is important that all tractor trailer operators read the entire union agreement before joining.

What Specific Types of Truck Drivers Make the Most Money?

Ice road truckers are the highest paid in the specialty field with oversized load drivers and Hazmat haulers following closely behind. Due to the danger of the job and high risk, ice road truckers have the ability to earn an entire year’s salary in just a couple months’ time. These are the best of the best in the industry. Bravery is only a small part of the job. Skill is required beyond anything else. Truckers have to know how to handle the elements and how to fix their trucks if they break down on a trip.

Next in specific jobs is dump truck drivers for coal mines. Patience is a virtue in this career. The process of loading coal from mines has to be done in a specific manner to ensure that the mine itself is not disrupted. Any sudden jerk or movement that is too abrupt can cause a collapse in the mine.

Oversize load drivers definitely make a comfortable living. A high level of concentration and a great deal of patience is needed for this job. It takes a great deal of skill to keep a large road straight. Sharing the road with oncoming traffic is always a hazard for them. They travel with a team including a spotter so that their journey is safe from start to finish.

Which States Pay the Highest for Truck Driving Jobs?

Contrary to popular belief, truckers’ salaries do not change with the cost of living. There are several occasions when employers in the trucking industry do not make as much due to increased demand with the loads still paying the same amount. On average, the state with the highest paying trucking jobs is Mississippi with an average of $68,000 per year. A lot of heavy hauling and long haul positions are available which require additional skill and experience.

The next state on the list is Wyoming at $61,000. In Wyoming, several specialty trucking positions can be found in which only a small handful of drivers will qualify for. New York follows with an average yearly salary of $60,000. In New York, drivers have icy mountains to travel on in the winter and a lot of crowded roadways.

While there is jobs in each state that pay higher or lower than these averages, they are just that, averages. Salaries vary depending on skill and experience. A truck driver’s salary is also heavily dependent on the type of product they are hauling. Salary is not the only thing to consider when looking for a truck driving job, also look at the benefits and perks offered by the company when applying.

Sources:
Drivers, BLS, and The Trucking Attorneys