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Truck Driver Salary

Kundan Pandey
Truck drivers cover very long distances facing arduous weather and long periods away from home. Read this story and you will get to learn about their professional life's aspects such as the challenges they face, the pay they earn and what one needs to be a skilled truck driver.
If you love traveling and have a craze for driving, being a truck driver can give you an opportunity to pursue your passion.
However, it is a very challenging profession and before you step into it, you should be ready to make lots of personal sacrifices. This is because, most of the time you'll be traveling all across the country, and so you'll have less time to spend with your family.
Nevertheless, as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these workers along with truck sales executives comprise a large workforce in the US. They are either employed by a transport company or are self-employed. The latter are called owner-operators.

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Their salary depends on several factors including the number of hours traveled or number of miles covered. The salary range starts from USD 15 per hour and can go up to USD 26 per hour. However, long distance drivers don't usually get paid on the basis of number of hours worked, but instead are paid on the number of miles traveled.
According to various sources, the salary for the highest 10 percent earners earned more than USD 64,000 per annum. The top paying industries for this occupation are - 
  • Truck transportation - USD 61,441
  • Wholesale trade - USD 56,261
  • Construction - USD 48,403
  • Manufacturing - USD 52,995
By working in owner-operator jobs, the driver can have a lease contract signed with the owner. This becomes a commitment on the part of the owner to provide for the gas, oil, licensing, and other costs incurred during the journey. Besides, the owner also has to pay the driver at a rate of $0.28 to $0.45 cents per mile (depending on various factors).
It has to be understood that the number of hours a truck driver will work is regulated by federal authorities. Usually, he is not allowed to work more than 14 hours per day, within which only 11 hours can be spent driving.
Generally, these people prefer to travel in states where there are broad roads and less traffic. This is because heavy traffic leads to lower driving speed, and the number of days required to reach the destination increases. But that is a part and parcel of this job.


In an endeavor to become a truck driver, a driving license is the most important prerequisite. For carrying heavy trucks loaded with dangerous materials like inflammable substances, they have to go through short training programs for learning the fundamentals of driving. These programs may vary for every state.
A worker with a commercial driving license (CDL) has an opportunity to make decent money. The average salary for such workers is nearly around USD 59,925 per year. However, that may vary from state to state. In most states, the laws governing the number of hours they need to work differ.

Job Outlook

Truck drivers get various other job opportunities once they gain some work experience. One of those options is to work overseas.
As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in this category are expected to increase by 6% from 2016 to 2026. Currently, the economy faces a serious shortage of these workers mainly due to the retirements of the baby boomers and the nature of the job. Therefore, the overall job outlook looks very promising till 2026.