Truck Drivers Income:

Both local and long-distance truck driving is a growing career of choice for many people as consumer demand across the US grows. The question, however, is what will a truck driver actually make for their work? Income determines the jobs many people are willing to do, so let’s delve into the pay for truckers in the US today.

What Does a Beginning Trucker Make? 

A trucker beginning with a company in their first year can make quite a range of pay, and many things can factor into a truck driver’s pay including the following:

  • The Company Being Worked For: Some companies pay more or less than other companies as in any industry. The company you choose to work for may alter the pay from the “standard” for the industry to fit their business model.
  • The Size Load You Haul: Larger or smaller loads may pay less or more than the typical “median” pay for the industry” as it requires different licensing and training to haul different sized loans.
  • The Distance Driven: Sometimes local-versus-long-distance drivers might be paid differently depending on the miles driven and a number of hours that requires of driving per week.
  • Location: Some states may pay more than others, it depends on the cost of living, the going rates, and the area that
  • What You Are Hauling: Drivers hauling dangerous materials or materials of high value may be paid more than those carrying more traditional items. Every company will vary in how they handle the pay for hauling different loads.

The driver will ultimately have to study the pay scale for the size loads they haul and the company they work for to determine their exact pay each year.

What Qualifications Does One Have to Have to Be a Trucker?

Truckers must obtain the following to be qualified for a driving job:

  • a CDL or other license required to operate the vehicles you will drive
  • a clean driving record
  • a complete background check
  • a drug test

Additional requirements may be different based on the company and state in which you are driving.

Generally, the US Department of Labor states that as of May 2016 the average income for a truck driver who hauled heavy and tractor-trailer trucks in the US sat at $41,340.

Does Pay Rise Over Time?

Yes, as truck drivers gain “seniority” or move on to hauling dangerous materials and bigger loads they will receive higher wages. These numbers are for an entry-level, first-year truck driver. Senior drivers may command more pay from the beginning, depending on the company.


Interested in becoming a truck driver? Diesel Driving Academy offers Class A CDL Training in Louisiana and Arkansas. DDA campuses are located in Shreveport, Baton Rouge and Little Rock. To learn more, head over to our Truck Driver Training Program!