Truck driving is an incredible diverse industry. Instead of being composed of the same general set of drivers with similar skills hauling road freight, it is split into many different job classifications, each requiring unique types of experience and education. Union vs. nonunion pay differs markedly, and pay differences for specialized jobs are even more noticeable. While Rookie truck drivers aiming for the highest pay should take a look at what categories end up with the highest salaries – drivers like:
Over The Road Truckers:
Over the road or OTR truckers are common in the United States, but they tend to make much more than local drivers who only concentrate on a specific area. OTR truckers typically travel hundreds of miles, crossing multiple state lines with important loads. This requires a bit more finesse than local jobs. Truckers need to be aware of a variety of state driving laws and keep to very important long-term deadlines.
Dangerous Condition Truckers:
Dangerous condition truckers tend to be OTR drivers that hit patches of difficult weather. Icy road driving is the most common category here. The danger and required driving skill are both high, making this the highest-paying jobs depending on region. Ice road drivers also have to deal with a higher number of road incidents and storm debris than other drivers. Local truckers in especially icy cities can also benefit from this higher payment.
Oversized Load Truckers:
Oversized freight is especially heavy freight or large objects that require careful handling. Payment is high in this category because it requires a very high degree of driving skill and a lot of experience on the road. Drivers need to know how oversized freight moves, how to navigate difficult roads and cities with it, and how to deal with unexpected accidents. Oversized jobs tend to be a team effort, with spotters watching out for any upcoming problems and warning other drivers about the load. Manufactured home and massive equipment hauls often fall into this category.
Specialty Material Truckers:
“Specialty material” may sound like a broad category, but there are a number of materials that do need special handling. Some goods are particularly expensive and come with additional security measures. Some materials are especially flammable or toxic – such as fuel or industrial chemicals – and come with extra handling requirements, which lead to better wages. Payment varies based on the industry, but in general the more attention specialty materials need the more the trucker can expect to be paid.
Dangerous Material Truckers:
Dangerous materials are typically referred to as Hazmat freight, because they pose serious health dangers if not contained and must be carefully managed with protective equipment. While truckers may never load these materials personally, they need to learn a number of safety regulations and keep up with the latest legal requirements for these substances. Radioactive materials, weapon components, especially toxic chemicals, and similar substances make it on this list. This is some of the rarest freight on the road, but also comes with some of the highest salaries.
Truckers Overseeing Difficult Processes:
Sometimes the freight is not innately dangerous, but comes with complex loading and unloading procedures. A frequently used example is coal hauling, which requires mine driving with many extra requirements to ensure safety. Other types of mining or industrial truckers that work in complex environments also tend to make more money than average.
Shaun Denton is a professional blogger that shares news and information on local trucking jobs and employment opportunities. He writes for TruckerClassifieds.com, where you can find local CDL truck driver jobs.