Trucking is an essential part of the transportation industry and involves transporting goods from one place to another in large commercial vehicles. Trucking jobs that offer some of the highest salaries require some experience and knowledge in the industry.
In this article, we discuss what trucking jobs are, list some of the highest-paying trucking jobs available and explain their responsibilities.
What are trucking jobs?
Trucking jobs are positions within the transportation industry where individuals drive vehicles loaded with goods to specified delivery locations or coordinate the activities of drivers. Drivers may be responsible for unloading the goods, while coordinators and managers might help organize the delivery and assist customers. Many positions are available to people who want to pursue a career in trucking, and these positions may require drivers to have an active commercial driver’s license (CDL) and undergo specialized training, especially if the role involves transporting dangerous substances or especially large loads.
Many organizations offer trucking jobs, including large transportation or trucking companies and logistics organizations. Some trucking jobs pay employees based on the number of miles they drive and how quickly they’re able to make deliveries. Other positions base their wages on experience and knowledge, including management-related roles.
Highest-paying trucking jobs
As you continue to progress in your trucking career, you can begin searching for opportunities to advance and earn a higher income in your role. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, trucking employees earn an average of $30.08 per hour, which corresponds to $60,160 per year. Based on that data, here are 10 of the highest-paying trucking jobs in the industry:
1. Truck mechanic
National average salary: $61,333 per year
Primary duties: A truck mechanic inspects and repairs diesel trucks and large commercial vehicles. They plan work procedures, review technical charts and manuals and make repairs to engines, transmissions, brake systems and other complex electrical components. Truck mechanics also perform and interpret diagnostic test results and order new parts to replace malfunctioning mechanical parts. Some might additionally perform basic maintenance by changing oil, checking fluid levels and rotating tires.
2. Delivery driver
National average salary: $65,195 per hour
Primary duties: A delivery driver collects items and transports them to a required destination. Delivery drivers often drive a variety of different vehicles, ranging from small cargo vans to large semi-trucks. They may deliver small items, such as food orders or household goods, or larger items, like furniture and appliances. Their additional duties might include adhering to time schedules, following assigned routes, working with a team of drivers and dispatchers and packing and delivering items safely.
3. Company driver
National average salary: $71,766 per year
Primary duties: Many large companies have private fleets of trucks to handle large-scale deliveries and transportation. The primary duties of a company driver include driving semi-trucks loaded with goods to delivery destinations and ensuring the goods arrive on time and in excellent condition. They keep track of paperwork and ensure the person at the intended destination receives all the items. They might also resolve customer complaints and respond to their inquiries.
4. Transport manager
National average salary: $73,357 per year
Primary duties: In the trucking industry, a transport manager coordinates all tasks and projects involving the transportation of materials and products. They liaise with company employees and transportation contractors, notify freight operators and drivers of important updates and route changes and research different transportation costs. Their additional duties might include hiring and training new truck drivers, creating timelines for each part of the transportation cycle and managing budgetary restrictions and other constraints.
5. Long-haul driver
National average salary: $77,826 per year
Primary duties: Long-haul truck drivers transport goods and materials long distances. These drivers regularly travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to make a single delivery and are responsible for tracking their expenses, including tolls and meals. Their duties include planning routes and schedules, maintaining detailed records of the materials they pick up, the stops they make and the miles they drive, inspecting and maintaining vehicles and coordinating activities with dispatchers and other logistical support personnel. Some long-haul truck drivers also unload the goods they transport upon arrival at the delivery site.
6. Over-the-road truck driver
National average salary: $78,122 per year
Primary duties: Over-the-road (OTR) truck drivers are a type of long-haul trucker who travels extensive distances to transport heavy machinery, consumer goods and a variety of other items to remote locations. OTR drivers manage long hauls and may work with a team of drivers to coordinate deliveries and schedules. They may drive through state lines and even national borders to deliver goods, and they typically spend weeks at a time on the road.
7. Tanker driver
National average salary: $88,940 per year
Primary duties: A tanker driver is responsible for hauling liquids and gases in a special tank. To qualify for this job, drivers need an endorsement on their commercial driver’s licenses, such as a tanker endorsement, as transporting liquid cargo can be dangerous. Their main responsibilities include using equipment to fill tanker trucks with liquid or gas, transporting hazardous or toxic materials to construction sites, businesses or disposal sites and maintaining careful records of each delivery or drop-off. They might also help manage oversized loads and make repairs to their truck as needed.
8. Haul truck driver
National average salary: $98,276 per year
Primary duties: Haul truck drivers operate heavy trucks and tractor-trailers and use them to transport heavy materials, livestock and products off a lot and to a specific delivery location. They may work for mining companies, industrial organizations and agricultural companies, and their duties include inspecting equipment, hauling oversize loads and hazmat loads and maintaining communication with dispatchers and other relevant parties. They also determine the best way to pack materials and transport specialty vehicles, such as ambulances and construction trucks.
9. Team driver
National average salary: $106,534 per year
Primary duties: Team drivers take turns driving the same truck long distances. Their shifts may vary, but they’re typically responsible for driving a total of 10 to 11 hours at a time and ensuring that their tractor-trailer is stable. Their duties may include managing and delivering loads, arranging for the pickup of new items and maintaining a good driving record. They’re also responsible for reminding the other driver of their shift.
10. Owner-operator driver
National average salary: $322,874 per year
Primary duties: An owner-operator truck driver owns at least one cargo truck and manages their own truck-driving business. In addition to driving cargo trucks over long distances, they may spend their time establishing clients, calculating business expenses, managing other drivers and their schedules, planning routes and ordering goods for transport. Owner-operators can freelance for multiple companies or work under contract with one or more employers. Their higher salary often compensates for having more expenses than other types of truck drivers.