Trucking is one of the highest-paying jobs nobody seems to want. The average truck driver is bringing home more than $60,000 a year — with veterans earning close to $80,000.
It only takes two months’ worth of training to get a commercial driver’s license (CDL) — and it would only cost you $3,000-$7,000 to pay for the training. Even if you can’t afford to pay for the driving program, you can find trucking companies who will gladly sponsor your schooling and also offer you an allowance. The starting wage of a rookie truck driver stands at around $45,000 — almost double that of an average office worker. You can raise that number is just 1-2 years by keeping a clean driving record, maintaining delivery schedules, consuming less gas, and keeping yourself fit.
Trucking companies are so desperate to hold on to the drivers they have — you get a bonus just for getting a clean bill of health. There is no shortage of trucking jobs in the US. Almost every trucking company is having problems filling their ranks, and the industry will need 90,000 additional drivers every year until 2026 to meet demands.
Long hours and isolation come with the job of being a trucker. You’ll spend hours alone (or with just a partner) in the cab with no other soul in sight. The job isn’t a normal 9-to-5, so you won’t be spending nights with your family every single day. Of course, if you like solitude and focusing on work instead of chatter — then truck driving is a definite fit. One hurdle that’s beyond your control is the age requirement. You need to be 21 to cross state lines, so you probably need to wait a few years if you’re still in high school. There’s legislation seeking to lower that age to 18, but it may take a few years before it gets passed.
Driving for hours at a time can get tiring, and the job requires your full attention, or you might get involved in an accident. Several companies are currently researching an autopilot system for trucks — allowing the truck to cruise on long portions of highway and allow the driver a bit of rest. The technology is still in the testing phase, but it might be ready in 3-5 years.
Getting a Leg-Up
If you want to hike-up your starting salary — pay for your CDL training yourself. Almost every trucking company will offer signing bonuses that amount to around $6,000, which is enough to cover the cost of your training. Going through a sponsored program ties you to the company for a specific set of years, and you get a lower pay to compensate for the training cost. Go through driver staffing companies; they can provide you with more choices — allowing you to choose the company that provides the best wages and conditions.Trucking will give you a lot of bang for your buck. Training time and costs are insignificant compared to the $80,000 earning you’ll get in just a few years.