Truck Driver Salary
The amount a truck driver can earn depends on many things, including: location, employer, CDL class/endorsements, and type of freight you are hauling.
Types of commercial truck drivers:
Dry Van: These are the majority of the semi-trucks you see out on the highways with single-enclosed trailers hauling non-perishable goods. This is most often the entry point for most people who begin a career in this industry. Average salary for first-year drivers is $41,000.
Flat-Bed: This driving is a little different and most importantly requires the driver to know the products he or she is hauling. Because it is an open bed, proper expertise in tying down the load is necessary. Pay is slightly better than Dr Van driving with an average salary of $43,000.
Tanker: A higher-demand trucking job, driving tankers which transport liquid freight is more challenging and can be very dangerous. This requires a knowledge of how to react in an emergency should something go wrong en route to your destination. Hauling hazardous liquids such as gasoline can be very dangerous. Average salary for a tanker driver is around $50,000 per year.
OTR: These are long-distance jobs requiring long hours on the road with hauls that can last days. Drivers are more responsible for truck upkeep on their own when they are out on the road. On average these drivers earn $44,000.
**Keep in mind salaries can vary widely depending on your employer, industry and your experience. Take these salary figures as a base estimate. In many cases, drivers can earn double the stated salaries especially with experience.
There are many opportunities to earn a bonus in the truck driving industry. The extent of these bonuses and frequency will depend on your carrier/employer. Some types of bonuses can include:
- Mileage – when you hit a certain mileage milestone some companies will give you a bonus.
- Safety – a clean record on the job can earn you a little extra cash as a driver without accidents is valuable.
- Sign-up – companies often offer sign-on bonuses to attract new employees to their fleet.
- Fuel – if you can drive effectively while saving on fuel costs you could earn a little extra from your employer.
On top of possible bonuses, you can expect a decent benefits package as well, which may include sick/vacation days, medical insurance, and 401k.
Okay, so what about Oil Field Truck Driving Jobs?
Virtually every kind of truck driving job can be found in the oil & gas industry, including the types mentioned above, and even a few extra. There are tens of thousands of hauling careers in the oil & gas industry at large, that is to say in the Midstream and Downstream sectors.
This would include crude haulers which can make $74,000 on average.
Some specialty trucks you can drive as an oil field truck driver could include:
Swab rig: A swab rig is brought in to essentially relieve pressure in the well that is caused by “dead” oil that has gathered within the borehole. It has a special apparatus that is lowered into the well. The operator must have a degree of skill in order to perform this effectively.
Winch trucks: These are used to load and unload the heavy equipment that is needed at a drilling site.
Vacuum trucks: Used for extracting liquids or waste materials from a site. On a drilling site for example, this could be waste water from a fracking operation.
How to Become a Truck Driver
Every professional truck driver has to acquire a CDL – Commercial Driver License. This ensures that you are properly trained in handling large vehicles that can carry heavy cargo. After all, a 50,000 pound semi-truck acts a lot differently than a 2,500 sedan.
Class A: Vehicle with a GCWR of 26,001 lbs with a trailer that is more than 10,000 lbs.
- Tractor trailers (semi-trucks)
- Livestock Carriers
Class B: Vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 lbs or more and/or a vehicle with GVWR + trailer of up to 10,000 lbs.
- Dump Trucks
- Box Trucks
Class C: Any vehicle which does not correspond to requirements for A & B licenses and is purposed to
- Transport Hazardous materials
- Transport 16 or more passengers
In addition to obtaining a CDL, you may be required to pass endorsements in order to operate specific types of vehicles. This requires some more classes and certifications. Some are written tests and some are written and driving tests.
T – Double/Triple trailer: written
S – School Bus: written & driving
X – Tank/HAZMAT: written
P – Passenger: written & driving
H – HAZMAT: written
N – Tank: written
How Do I get my CDL?
There is a shortage of commercial truck and heavy vehicles drivers in the United States which means that it is a great time to take up a career in the trucking business as a commercial driver.
In the coming decade there will be a requirement for many thousands of additional long haul tractor-trailer drivers as well as other specialized drivers.
The market for CDL qualified drivers is going to remain strong for the foreseeable future. The demand for so many drivers means that anyone who holds a commercial driver license (CDL) will have little trouble finding employment.
In general to obtain a CDL you will need a state driver’s license, pass written tests, pass vision test, provide proof of identity and residency, pass medical exam and pass driving road test.
Commercial driving schools train you to obtain the Commercial Driving License (CDL). They are not in the certification business and cannot certify you; but they prepare you for your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) CDL of your state.
You should get both classroom training and practical driving time; you will need both of these aspects of learning to get through the driving test. Once you obtain your CDL from DMV, you can drive a heavy commercial vehicle anywhere in the United States.
How much does it cost to get a CDL?
On average, a CDL program lasts about seven weeks. This is based on full-time programs that run for five days per week. Generally, trucking schools cost between $3,000 and $7,000 for the entire program for you to obtain a CDL. Finding the right school and get trained, and getting licensed is the key for a great career. There are large of number of commercial driving schools in all the states and regions. Choose one that is best you.
Here is a list of Commercial Driving Schools across the United States.
Northern Industrial Training
Professional Truck Driving Training Anchorage
3700 Centerpoint Dr. Ste. 102
Anchorage, AK 99503
PHOENIX TRUCK DRIVING INSTITUTE
2621 S 51st Ave,
Phoenix, AZ 85043
CALIFORNIA TRUCK DRIVING ACADEMY
921 N. Poinsettia Street, Unit A
Santa Ana, CA 92701
THE NORTHERN COLORADO TRUCK DRIVING ACADEMY
425 John Deere Dr. # 3,
Fort Collins, CO 80524
SunCoast Trucking Academy
28040 Airpark Dr Unit 104
Punta Gorda, FL 33982
CDL of GA, Truck Driving School
846 JEFFERSON HWY,
Winder, GA 30680
DMACC Transportation Institute – Truck Driver Training
2081 NE 54th Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50313
White Line CDL Training
3907 SW Burlingame Rd
Topeka, KS 66609
Diesel Driving Academy
8067 Airline Hwy
Baton Rouge, LA 70815
Tri-State CDL Training Center
55 Liberty Street
Michigan Truck Driving School
6405 Middlebelt Road
Romulus, MI 48174
Southern Missouri Truck Driving School
P.O. Box 545 :: Malden Industrial Park
Malden, MO 63863
Central States Safety & Driver Training .LLC
229 Central Ave., Kearney NE 68847
Nevada Desert Truck Driving School
950 Spice Islands Dr,
Sparks NV 89431
JERSEY TRACTOR TRAILER TRAINING
1275 Valley Brook Ave
Sunny Truck Driving School.
41-26 College Point Blvd, 2nd floor,
Flushing NY, 11355
Great Lakes Truck Driving School
27740 Royalton Rd.
Columbia Station, Ohio 44028
Western Pacific Truck School
13691 NE Whitaker Way
Portland OR 97230
Shelly Truck Driving School
400 Mulberry Street
York, PA 17403
Tennessee Truck Driving School
4401 Singleton Station Road,
Louisville TN 37777
Continental Truck Driver Training & Education School
6614 South R.L.
I35 Between Camp Wisdom Road and Laureland Road
Thornton Freeway, Dallas, TX 75232
Shippers’ Choice – Newport News
6163 Jefferson Ave. Suite C
Newport News, VA 23605
Pacific NW Professional Driving School
1321 109th St E,
Tacoma, WA 98445
Mountain West Commercial Driving School
9097 S Sunrise Circle
Sandy UT 84093
Fact is, truck driving jobs are always in demand no matter what the industry. The oil & gas industry is no exception. Because of the kind of freight and the endurance of the industry itself, hauling in the oil & gas industry is particularly lucrative.