– As of May 2019, there were 2,029,900 employed truck drivers.
– The state with the highest employment of truck drivers is Texas with 199,500 employed truck drivers.
Truck drivers are always in high demand. Everything from clothing, food, cars, fuel, and so much more, trucks carry and deliver items that we use and consume every day. Trucks and truck drivers are important for the American economy.
There are roughly over 2 million truck drivers employed in the country.
If you’re thinking about becoming a truck driver, you’re probably wondering how much a truck driver makes and what it takes to become one.
What are the Responsibilities of a Truck Driver?
The responsibilities of a truck driver can vary depending on what company they work for.
Common responsibilities of a truck driver include:
- Transporting goods and raw materials to and from manufacturing plants, retail centers, or distribution centers.
- Planning routes and meeting delivery schedules.
- Inspecting vehicles for mechanical items and safety issues
- Document and log work and rest periods, miles spent driving, and retain fuel and toll receipts.
- Comply with truck driving rules and regulations such as size, weight, route designations, parking, and break periods.
- Collect and verify delivery instructions.
- Report defects, accidents, or violations.
Skills a truck driver is required to have:
- Good communication
- Good customer service skills
- Good judgment skills
- Excellent hearing and vision
- Be in good physical condition
Truck Driver Work Environment
Truck drivers spend most of their time in the cab of a truck. While there are some regulations as to how much time a truck driver can drive, it’s not unusual for a driver to spend up to ten hours behind the wheel.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates the hours that a long-haul truck driver may work. They may not work more than 14 hours straight, comprising up to 11 hours of driving and the remaining time doing other work.
Truck drivers may need to start driving early in the morning or sometimes even overnight to meet their delivery deadline.
Depending on the company the truck driver works for, some truck drivers may be gone from home for days or even weeks at a time.
Companies may require that the driver have to physically move the inventory of the truck, usually using a forklift, pallet jack, or sometimes on their own.
How to Become a Truck Driver
- Have a high school diploma or a GED
- Have a valid driver’s license in your state.
- Maintain a clean driving record.
- Have a CDL (commercial driver’s license. CDL qualifications vary from state to state but generally include passing a knowledge test and a driving test.
How to Pass the CDL
To be able to travel within your state, depending on your state requirements, you must be at least 18 years old. If you decide to drive across state borders, you will need to be 21 years of age.
While there is really no formal education to become a truck driver, many drivers do decide to pursue a certificate of completion from an accredited truck driving school.
Some drivers choose to get endorsements on the CDL to show that they have the ability to drive a specialized type of vehicle, such as HAZMAT (transporting hazardous materials), pulling double or triple trailers, transporting passengers, or even driving a school bus.
According to BLS.gov, as of 2019, the average annual salary for a truck driver was $45,260, which is about $21.76 per hour. The lowest 10% of truck drivers made less than $29,130. The top 10% of truck drivers made more than $66,840 per year.
What is the Job Growth for a Truck Driver?
According to BLS.gov, the job growth for a truck driver is 2% through 2029. This percentage is slower than the average for other occupations.
Truck Driver Pay – Truck Driver Employment and Wages
The total employment for truck drivers across the United States is 1,856,130. The average hourly wage is $22.52 per hour with the annual wage being $46,850 per year.
Average Hourly Wage: $ 14.01
Average Annual Wage: $ 29,130
Average Hourly Wage: $ 17.43
Average Annual Wage: $ 36,250
Average Hourly Wage: $ 21.76
Average Annual Wage: $ 45,260
Average Hourly Wage: $ 26.85
Average Annual Wage: $ 55,850
Average Hourly Wage: $ 32.13
Average Annual Wage: $ 66,840
Industries With the Highest Levels of Truck Drivers Employed
895,670 total truck drivers employed with 58.86% of employment in the industry
Average annual wage of $22.79 with an average hourly wage of $47,400
Merchant Wholesalers, Nondurable Goods
86,470 total truck drivers employed with 8.76% of employment in the industry
Average annual wage of $23.71 with an average hourly wage of $49,320
Nonmetallic Mineral Product Manufacturing
66,710 total truck drivers employed with 15.91% of employment in the industry
Average annual wage of $21.53 with an average hourly wage of $44,790
Warehousing and Storage
56,640 total truck drivers employed with 4.83% of employment in the industry
Average annual wage of $23.57 with an average hourly wage of $49,030
Merchant Wholesalers, Durable Goods
56,150 total truck drivers employed with 3.93% of employment in the industry
Average annual wage of $21.16 with an average hourly wage of $44,020
Top Paying Areas for Truck Drivers
Motion Picture and Video Industries
1,820 / 0.42% total employment
Average annual wage of $72,550 with a $34.88 hourly wage
Motor Vehicle Manufacturing
220 / 0.09% total employment
Average annual wage of $64,840 with a $31.17 hourly wage
Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution
1370 / 0.10% total employment
Average annual wage of $62,710 with a $30.15 hourly wage
Scientific Research and Development Services
150 / 0.02% total employment
Average annual wage of $61,860 with a $29.74 hourly wage
Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing
650 / 0.12% total employment
Average annual wage of $60,900 with a $29.28 hourly wage
States with Highest Truck Driver Employment
199,500 / 16.05% total employment
Average annual wage $45,940 / $22.09 hourly wage
146,730 / 8.44% total employment
Average annual wage $48,450 / $23.29 hourly wage
92,530 / 10.52% total employment
Average annual wage $42,700 / $20.53 hourly wage
86,370 / 14.63% total employment
Average annual wage $48,060 / $23.11 hourly wage
77,150 / 14.16% total employment
Average annual wage $46,760 / $22.48 hourly wage