How Much Can Truck Drivers Make?

Updated June, 2021

Income and the potential to earn money is key when someone is considering what trade or profession they wish to pursue in their lives. People want to pick a career that ensures that they can make a healthy amount of money and live a comfortable life. Some potential job candidates can be “turned off” from truck driving. They don’t understand that you actually can make quite good money by getting into the industry. Even when you are first starting, you can obtain a CDL in 4-6 weeks and make the same amount (or more) than some graduates of 2-to-4-year university students!

A truck driver’s income varies widely. Income is based on the type of CDL someone holds along with the type of driving they choose. In this post, we will explore exactly how much the average truck driver makes in the various truck driving positions.

The Average Starting Salary For a Truck Driver:

The “average” salary across the board for a starting truck driver runs at around $45,000 annually. However, that salary can fluctuate based on what type of driving you do. Other factors such as how many loads you deliver on time, if the goods are delivered damage-free, or if you pick up other pay incentives/bonuses, can affect your salary.

Median truck driver salaries for those with experience in the industry can average up to $70,000 per year. This is slightly above the median household income of about $68,703 annually as of 2019.

Truck Drivers See Modest Pay Increases Annually:

The average job in the US sees pay increases of about 2-3% annually. However, the truck-driving industry is running pay increases of about 8 to 12% annually in recent years. That is a massive pay increase for any industry in the US right now and especially for a truck driver’s income. Many other Americans have barely seen their paychecks increasing in recent years.

These salary increases are on average, and some carriers in the industry are willing even to pay drivers more than that!

Other Benefits Drivers May Receiving:

Many trucking carriers add additional benefits for their drivers. These are often offered by companies to get drivers to work for their carrier and keep their fleet moving:

  • sign-on bonuses
  • paid vacation time – including extended home time for those who are over-the-road truckers as they get time off between each 3 to 6-week working stint to spend at home with their family in addition to paid vacation time.
  • full health benefits – including dental and vision
  • retirement options – often including employer matches up to a certain monetary value or percentage of the employee’s pay.
  • possibilities for tuition reimbursement from the costs of getting CDL.
  • additional performance bonuses are also often possible.

Other employers may offer additional benefits, but these benefits are common for many carriers to offer to their drivers.


Truck drivers are well-paid, and they are in high demand. This can promise long-term job security for those who get into the industry. If you are interested in getting into a high-paying career after you get your CDL, please feel free to contact us at United Truck Driving School for further assistance and to enroll in classes to help you get all of these great benefits!

Pros and Cons of Over-the-Road and Local Trucking

Updated September, 2020

When you become a truck driver, a lot of opportunities become available to you. One of the first decisions you will have to make is whether you want to be an OTR driver or a local driver. Knowing the benefits and drawbacks of each option will help you to make an informed choice.

OTR Truck Driving

When most people think of truck drivers, they envision OTR trucking. OTR stands for “over-the-road” and it is just another way of saying long-haul trucking. It’s not uncommon for OTR drivers to spend days or even weeks on the road without returning home. OTR drivers can go all over the country, and even into Canada, hauling goods.

OTR Advantages

  • Higher Pay: OTR truck drivers often receive higher salaries than local drivers. The average pay for an OTR driver is $62,000 a year, but it may take time to build up to that.
  • Seeing the Country: You will get to visit locations you may not have otherwise been able to see.
  • Job SecurityOTR truckers will always be needed; Amazon alone shipped over five billion packages in one year.

OTR Disadvantages

  • Away From Home: Long-haul truckers can spend days or weeks away from home. It takes planning and adjusting to make it work with your other obligations. The time spent away is too much for some, especially those with a spouse and/or children.
  • No Set Schedule: OTR truckers are bound to specific laws regarding the amount of driving time they can do in a set period. Therefore, many trucking jobs start at the end of the mandatory rest period, which means your schedule can change week to week.

Local Driving

Local truck drivers haul goods in their own areas, usually for specific stores. As a local driver, you will report to the local hub to pick up the materials, deliver them, and then report back in the evening.

Advantages to Local Driving

  • Home Every Night: After a day of driving, you get to turn in your rig and return to your family every night. Local trucking suits individuals with families or those that cannot or do not wish to spend time away from home.
  • Set Routine:Your route will usually be the same every week. This provides stability in your workplace and routine. Additionally, you will get to be on friendly terms with the stores on your route because you will be a familiar face.

Disadvantages to Local Driving

  • Lower Pay: Local drivers typically do not make as much money as OTR drivers. The average salary for a local truck driver is $45,000 a year, but it will take some time to get there.
  • Harder to Find a Job:While truck drivers are always in demand, it’s harder to find local jobs than OTR jobs. Therefore, you may have to wait a bit or do some OTR driving before landing a local gig.
The Best Options

It’s hard for someone to tell you which type of trucking job is best for you. There are multiple factors that go into the decision-making process and what exactly works best for each individual. Some drivers want to be home daily while some like longer times away seeing the country. This is one of the great things about getting your Class A CDL, you get to choose what works best for you.

At United Truck Driving School, we are ready to help you find the best career opportunity. Our Job Placement team will help you along the way as well as seeing the pros and cons of each type of job that presents itself to you. United’s campuses also host visits from some of the nation’s top trucking carriers, as well as local trucking companies. With United Truck Driving School, you will soon be on your way to a great career in trucking!