All You Need To Know About A Trucker Career

You consider becoming a truck driver but need additional information before making your final career choice?

Great! Stick with me since I will show you everything you need to know about working as a trucker in the following chapters.

Not only will you learn how much you can make as a trucker, but we will also talk a lot about job satisfaction, prospects, future outlook, work-life balance, educational requirements, duties and much more.

I also provide you with an FAQ section at the end of this article where I answer the most common questions about being a trucker for you.

After reading this article, you will have a much better idea of what a trucker career really looks like and whether you still want to become a truck driver or rather want to go for a different job instead.

Table of Contents

What does a Truck Driver do?

Truck drivers bring all sorts of goods from A to B and assure that our supply chains work properly.

Truck drivers are needed in various industries, including food, fuel, construction, electronics and much more.

Thus, truckers are crucial to ensure and maintain high living standards for the general public.

Responsibilities & Duties of a Truck Driver

  • Loading the truck
  • Transporting raw materials
  • Transporting finished materials
  • Bringing various goods from A to B
  • Unloading the truck
  • Making sure that safety requirements are met
  • Driving trucks in a safe but yet efficient manner
  • Choosing the shortest routes
  • Recording cargo deliveries
  • Cleaning the vehicles
  • Fueling the truck
  • Driving long distances on a regular basis

What a Typical Day of a Truck Driver looks like?

Truckers spend almost their entire workday inside a truck.

Apply for Jobs!

The only time they get out of their truck is to load or unload cargo and for short breaks during the ride.

Thus, before becoming a truck driver, you should really make sure that sitting in a truck for an extended period of time is what you love since you might get pretty bored and frustrated with your job otherwise.

Moreover, you should also make sure that you are fine with spending lots of time alone on the road and that you are also willing to work pretty exotic hours.

In fact, you will spend almost all of your workday on your own and will not have much interaction with other human beings.

Instead, you will just focus on driving and make sure that all sorts of raw and finished materials are delivered from A to B in a safe and efficient manner so that our supply chains work properly and people can buy everything they want from our stores.

Truck Driver Salary 2022

Truck Driver salary brackets 2022

Salary BracketsSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Top 10 %> $86,000> $42.97
Top 25 %$67,000 – $74,000$33.42 – $36.88
Bottom 25 %$44,000 – $48,000$21.89 – $23.93
Bottom 10 %$35,000 – $39,000$17.46 – $19.48
Range$35,000 – $92,000$17.41 – $45.94
Average (Mean)$61,000$30.47
Median$58,000$28.89

Truck Driver salary 2022 by expert level

Level of ExperienceSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Entry level$35,000 – $43,000$17.46 – $21.47
Junior$41,000 – $52,000$20.39 – $25.93
Professional$48,000 – $64,000$23.93 – $31.94
Senior Professional$62,000 – $75,000$30.97 – $37.42
Expert$71,000 – $83,000$35.45 – $41.49
Top Expert$80,000 – $92,000$39.89 – $45.94

Truck Driver salary by state 2022 (average)

StateSalary (per year)Salary (per hour)
Alabama$56,200$28.09
Alaska$59,600$29.78
Arizona$60,500$30.23
Arkansas$58,300$29.12
California$67,200$33.59
Colorado$61,900$30.93
Connecticut$60,400$30.18
Delaware$62,100$31.04
District of Columbia$64,500$32.23
Florida$63,800$31.88
Georgia$59,300$29.62
Guam$58,400$29.19
Hawaii$61,300$30.63
Idaho$55,900$27.93
Illinois$57,200$28.57
Indiana$59,500$29.74
Iowa$57,400$28.68
Kansas$54,900$27.42
Kentucky$53,600$26.79
Louisiana$59,200$29.57
Maine$61,300$30.63
Maryland$63,500$31.74
Massachusetts$62,800$31.38
Michigan$58,300$29.13
Minnesota$57,400$28.69
Mississippi$52,600$26.28
Missouri$53,700$26.84
Montana$58,800$29.37
Nebraska$57,400$28.69
Nevada$59,100$29.52
New Hampshire$62,600$31.28
New Jersey$63,800$31.89
New Mexico$56,400$28.17
New York$67,100$33.53
North Carolina$62,100$31.04
North Dakota$60,800$30.38
Ohio$61,700$30.83
Oklahoma$62,600$31.29
Oregon$59,800$29.89
Pennsylvania$63,100$31.54
Rhode Island$62,500$31.23
South Carolina$58,400$29.18
South Dakota$56,900$28.42
Tennessee$58,200$29.09
Texas$57,700$28.82
Utah$59,800$29.88
Vermont$61,400$30.67
Virginia$60,600$30.29
Washington$63,100$31.53
West Virginia$58,400$29.18
Wisconsin$57,500$28.72
Wyoming$55,800$27.89

Job Security of Truck Drivers

Since educational barriers to work as a truck driver are pretty low, truckers have pretty poor job security since they are replaceable rather easily and almost everyone can do this job.

Consequently, truckers have to worry about losing their jobs on a regular basis.

Future Outlook of Truck Drivers

Not only current job prospects are pretty poor, but truckers also have a pretty sad future outlook since due to self-driving vehicles, many truck drivers will no longer be needed in the near future and will lose their jobs in the long run.

Working Hours of Truck Drivers

Truckers work pretty exotic hours. In fact, you will often drive long hours and will also sleep in your truck.

Consequently, you will spend your leisure away from home quite often and may not have enough time to spend with your loved ones.

Job Satisfaction of Truck Drivers

Most truckers are not happy with their jobs since they have to work pretty exotic hours and will be away from home quite often while they are still not able to make really good money from what they are doing and are also at significant risk of getting involved in road accidents sooner or later.

Promotion Opportunities of Truck Drivers

There are barely any promotion opportunities for truck drivers.

In fact, you will do the same things over and over again for many years or even decades without getting additional responsibilities and while many of your friends will climb the corporate ladder, you as a truck driver will get stuck in your career.

Career Levels of Truck Drivers

  • Junior trucker
  • Senior trucker
  • Manager of a team of truckers
  • Manager of a delivery company
  • Owner of a delivery company

Fields and Types of Truck Drivers

  • Truckers focused on short-distance delivery
  • Truckers specialized in long-distance delivery
  • Truckers with expertise in food transports
  • Truckers specialized in the transportation of hazardous goods
  • Truckers doing time-critical deliveries
  • Truckers focused on the delivery of electronics
  • Dry van truckers
  • Flatbed truck drivers
  • Tanker hauler
  • Freight hauler
  • Refrigerated goods truckers
  • Truckers focused on rural regions
  • Truckers focused on urban areas

Educational Requirements for Truck Drivers

Truck drivers don’t need to get fancy education.

Instead, they can start their careers by just holding a high school diploma and a valid driver’s license, even though it might take some time to operate big trucks in a safe and efficient manner.

How to become a Truck Driver

  1. Inform yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of being a trucker
  2. Apply for an internship in the trucking industry
  3. Make a good impression during your internship
  4. Stay in touch with your colleagues
  5. Finish high school with decent grades
  6. Apply for jobs as a truck driver
  7. Master the job interview
  8. Sign your labor contract
  9. Become an experienced trucker and support our supply chains

Character Traits you need as a Truck Driver

  • Patience for people who drive like crazy
  • Persistence helps you stay in the trucker business in the long run
  • You should be reliable
  • You should be trustworthy
  • Attention to detail may help you avoid serious traffic accidents
  • You should be willing to spend lots of time on the road
  • Willingness to spend many hours on your own
  • You should have passion for driving a truck
  • Willingness to work at nighttime

Truck Driver Skills

Hard Skills for Truck Drivers

  • You should be an excellent driver
  • You should know how to drive big trucks in an efficient and safe manner
  • Knowledge of how to load and unload cargo
  • Navigation skills are a plus
  • Knowledge of common emergency procedures
  • Expertise in transporting hazardous goods in a safe manner
  • Knowledge of how to maintain a vehicle
  • You should be able to do minor repairs
  • Knowledge of how to meet rules and regulations related to truck driving

Soft Skills for Truck Drivers

  • Sef-motivation helps you stay happy as a truck driver in the long run
  • Patience helps you deal with difficult traffic participants
  • Good communication skills help you solve problems with customers
  • Good time management skills help you get your job done
  • You should always be awake and focused to minimize the risk of traffic accidents
  • Alertness helps as well
  • You should be a quick thinker
  • Self-awareness helps you determine when it is time to take breaks
  • You should not overestimate your abilities

Exit Options for Truck Drivers

Exit options for truckers are pretty limited.

Even though you might be able to work as a taxi driver or a chauffeur, you will also be pretty specialized and will have a hard time finding a job outside the transportation industry.

Truck Driver – Similar Careers

Truck Driver Career FAQs

Is working as a truck driver physically demanding?

While truck drivers don’t have to lift heavy stuff all day long as fallers or roofers have to do on a regular basis, working as a trucker can still be physically demanding since they have to sit inside their trucks all day long and this can really stress their bodies and spinal problems like back pain are quite common.

Is working as a truck driver mentally demanding?

Working as a trucker is not heavily mentally demanding.

Even though you will have to use your brain to find the shortest possible route, you can still use modern navigation systems to make your job as easy as possible and don’t have to stress your brain as much as financial analysts or engineers who have to work with complex models all day long.

Is it dangerous to work as a truck driver?

Working as a trucker can be risky since you will be on the road all day long and you may get involved in serious traffic accidents sooner or later and may even lose your life in the long run.

How long do truck drivers stay in their jobs?

Truckers stay in their jobs for quite a long time since they are pretty specialized and don’t learn many skills that would be valuable outside the transportation industry.

Consequently, many truck drivers get trapped in this field without having any perspective of getting out of it anytime soon.

Is it easy for truck drivers to find a new job?

Due to the invention of self-driving vehicles, many truckers will lose their jobs in the near future and it will also be pretty hard for you to find and keep a job in this industry since the demand for human work in the truck driving industry will drop significantly over the next years and decades.

Is it hard to switch from being a truck driver to another field of work?

Since truck drivers are pretty specialized, they often lack the skills needed to work in a different field and it is often pretty hard for them to get out of the transportation industry since most companies will not be willing to employ them.

Do truck drivers have a high social status?

Even though they do a pretty important job for society to maintain our supply chains in an efficient manner, truckers still have a pretty low social standing and if you really want to be admired by the general public, you should not become a trucker but rather become a dentist or judge instead.

Can you help out your family and friends as a truck driver?

While you can do good for many people out there by maintaining intact supply chains, you will not learn many things that would be beneficial to your loved ones.

For instance, while carpenters and plumbers can fix and install many things around the home, you as a truck driver will not be able to provide the same value to your family and friends.

Can truck drivers work remotely?

Truck drivers are not able to work remotely.

Instead, they have to drive their trucks in person and will be away from home quite often while compliance officers and other people who work in classical office jobs will be able to work from home quite often and will have a much easier time managing their private and professional life in the long run.

Is it easy to find a partner as a truck driver?

Since truck drivers have a rather low social status and are also not able to make good money while they always have to worry about losing their jobs and will also be away from home quite often, truckers are not considered good providers and will have a hard time in the dating market when it comes to finding a partner for a long-term relationship.

Do truck drivers have to work on weekends?

Truck drivers often have to work on weekends.

In fact, you should be pretty flexible regarding your schedule since your shifts change quite frequently and you will have to work pretty exotic hours as a trucker on a regular basis.

Do truck drivers have to work on holidays?

Truckers sometimes even have to work on holidays and while financial controllers and many other people who have standard workweeks will be able to spend those days with their loved ones, you as a truck driver may be on the road and this may get really frustrating in the long run.

Do truck drivers have to work at nighttime?

Truck drivers often have to work in the late evening and sometimes even at nighttime.

Moreover, you will often sleep in your truck instead of relaxing in a comfortable bed at home.

Do you have to travel as a truck driver?

Truckers travel quite a lot since they have to deliver all sorts of goods over long distances and you will therefore be away from home quite often and will not have much time to spend with your loved ones.

Are truck driver pensions good?

Since truckers are not able to make good money, many of them are also not able to save and invest enough money for retirement and their pensions will be rather low.

Are truck driver salaries going up?

Trucker salaries have not been going up significantly over the past years.

Instead, wages may even drop in the near future since due to self-driving vehicles, many truck drivers may no longer be needed just a few years from now and with decreasing demand for truckers, trucker wages may decrease as well.

Can you have a positive impact on society as a truck driver?

While you will do an important job to keep our system running and to provide society with many different goods, you will still not have the same big social impact as teachers or professors who can really shape the thought process of many people and make the world a better place in the long run.

How long does it take to become a truck driver?

Since you don’t need to get fancy education, you can become a trucker right after finishing high school within a few months in most states.

However, it will still take you some time to become really good at what you are doing and to develop a certain routine.

Is it difficult to become a truck driver?

Becoming a trucker is not difficult at all since educational barriers to entry are pretty low.

However, you should still have a passion for spending your whole workday in a truck so that you can stay happy and motivated with what you are doing in the long run.

Do you need to be smart to work as a truck driver?

You don’t need to have a high IQ for succeeding as a truck driver.

What’s much more important is that you have passion and a certain talent for driving big trucks so that you can do your job in the most efficient manner.

Do truck drivers have a good work-life balance?

Truckers have terrible work-life balance since they often have to work during weekends, holidays and often also have to work at nighttime or sleep in their trucks.

They are also often away from home and don’t have enough time to meet up with their favorite people or to spend time with their kids.

Do truck drivers have to work many extra hours?

Truckers often have to work many extra hours since they get stuck in traffic jams and have to keep driving until they reach their final destination.

How to maximize your chances of becoming a truck driver?

The sooner you get your driver’s license for big trucks and the earlier you get experience in the transportation industry, the more value you can provide to delivery companies and the more likely it will be for you to find a job as a truck driver.

Can truck drivers work part-time?

Truckers are not able to work part-time since they have to drive pretty long distances and it will often take them a few days to complete a trip.

Thus, if you aspire to a part-time career, you should not become a trucker but rather go for a job as a digital marketer or other industries where it will be much more likely to achieve your goal.

Do truck drivers work indoors or outdoors?

Truck drivers work inside their trucks for almost their entire workday.

While they have to get out of it for loading and unloading cargo, they will still not be exposed to adverse weather conditions as often as garbage collectors or tour guides who often have to work outdoors on a regular basis.

What does the workplace of a truck driver look like?

Truck drivers spend lots of time inside their truck in their driver’s seat and will also be on their own for many hours or even days.

Thus, you should be fine with spending lots of time alone before you decide on becoming a truck driver and if you are an outgoing person who loves to talk to people, you may be better of by becoming a salesperson instead.

Do you have to look good for working as a truck driver?

You don’t need to look good as a truck driver.

Since you will spend most of your workday alone, your looks will not matter much for your success as a truck driver.

What’s much more important is that you are able to operate a truck in a safe but yet efficient manner to get your delivery done in time.

Is a truck driver career beneficial for your private life?

Being a truck driver is not beneficial for your private life since you will be away from home quite often while you always have to fear losing your job and are also not able to make good money from what you are doing.

Consequently, your partner may start cheating on you sooner or later.

Do you need a college degree for becoming a truck driver?

You don’t need to get a college degree for working as a trucker.

Instead, you can become a trucker right after getting your high school diploma and your driver’s license and can start making money from a rather young age while many of your friends may have to spend lots of time and money on college education before they are able to get their dream jobs.

Do you need to be certified to work as a truck driver?

While you have to get a driver’s license that allows you to operate big trucks, you don’t have to get many other fancy additional qualifications to be able to work as a trucker.

How much does it cost to become a truck driver?

Since you don’t have to spend many years in college, you can avoid spending lots of money on tuition and other college-related expenses and can rather start making money from a pretty young age.

Is being a truck driver a good career?

Since you will have to work many weekends, holidays and also at nighttime while you will be away from home quite often and also have pretty low job security and are not able to make good money, working as a trucker cannot be considered a good career when taking all major factors into account.

Is it easy to start your own business as a truck driver?

It is pretty hard to start your own business as a truck driver since competition in the delivery business is pretty tough and you would also have to spend enormous amounts of money upfront.

Thus, if your dream is to start your own business one day, you should rather become a baker or florist instead of aspiring to a trucker career.

Can truck drivers teach themselves?

While truckers are able to teach themselves most things they need on the job, they also have to get some additional formal education so that they can do their work in a safe but yet efficient manner.

Do truck drivers make good money?

While truck drivers can make decent money, they will still make far less compared to investment bankers or risk managers and some of them even struggle to make a living from what they are doing.

Is it ever too late to become a truck driver?

While it is never too late to become a truck driver, it still makes sense to start your career in this field at a pretty young age since you will often have to work during nighttime and the younger you are, the better you are able to deal with this kind of stress.

Do truck drivers have to quit their careers early?

Since working as a trucker can stress your body and your brain, many truckers have to quit their careers early due to serious physical or mental health problems related to their jobs.

What is the hardest thing about working as a truck driver?

The hardest part about being a truck driver is that you will have to drive long distances during nighttime and while other people sleep, you will always have to stay focused to avoid serious traffic accidents.

Can you provide for your family by working as a truck driver?

While truckers can make decent money and can provide for their families in case they live in rather cheap regions, many truckers who live in expensive regions where rents are high really struggle to provide for their families and their spouses may have to work as well and may not have time to look after the kids.

Will truck drivers suffer from old-age poverty?

Since truck drivers are not able to make really good money from what they are doing, many truck drivers can’t save enough money for retirement and suffer from serious old-age poverty once they quit their active careers and retire.

Can truck drivers retire early?

Most truck drivers don’t make enough money to retire early.

Instead, they have to work until they reach official retirement age to be able to pay their bills.

Do truck drivers get a fixed or variable salary?

Truckers mainly get a fixed salary and don’t have to deal with huge income swings compared to car dealers or other people who often work commission-based.

Can you get rich as a truck driver?

While you can make decent money, it is almost impossible to get wealthy or even rich as a trucker.

If you really want to make good money, you should rather start your own business or become a pharmacist or economist instead.

Do truck drivers need a second job?

Most truck drivers don’t need to work a second job to pay their bills and also don’t have the time to work a second job since they are always on the road and away from home quite often.

Do you get training as a truck driver?

While you will get some training at the beginning of your truck driver career, it will be on you to hone your craft and to get really good at what you are doing if you want to stay in the game in the long run and not get replaced by someone who is better and demands less money.

Do you get sick pay as a truck driver?

Most truckers don’t get sick pay.

Thus, it is on you to build an emergency fund during good times which you can use during times you get sick and are no longer able to make money so that you are still able to cover your basic expenses.

Do truck drivers have a high level of responsibility?

Truck drivers have a high level of responsibility since mistakes on their side could lead to serious traffic accidents and may take away the lives of many people.

Can truck drivers work abroad?

Truck drivers are needed all over the world.

However, keep in mind that working conditions and salaries are often quite different from what you are used to from your home country before you decide on migrating to a foreign country.

Is it stressful to work as a truck driver?

Working as a truck driver can be stressful for your body and also from a mental perspective since you will often spend all of your workday inside your trucks and unless you are really passionate about driving and trucks in general, you may get pretty unhappy and frustrated with what you are doing in the long run.

Is it boring to work as a truck driver?

Working as a trucker can become boring since you will do many things over and over again and especially if you are not passionate about the trucker life at all, you should not become a trucker but rather go for a job you are more interested in to stay motivated with what you are doing for many years to come.

Is being a truck driver hard?

Being a truck driver is hard since you will be away from home quite often and will not be able to see your loved ones as much as you wished.

Moreover, you will also have to work at weekends and at nighttime and this may get pretty annoying in the long run.

Are truck drivers at risk of burnout?

Since truckers have to deal with lots of time pressure and also have to work long hours, they are often stressed and therefore at significant risk of suffering from burnout or other mental problems related to their career.

Is there a dress code for truck drivers?

You don’t have to comply with a fixed dress code as a truck driver.

While accountants and many other people have to wear certain clothing subject to the preferences of the business owner they work for, you as a truck driver can wear whatever you feel most comfortable with.

What kind of truck drivers are paid the most?

The more experienced you are as a trucker, the faster you will be able to do your work and the more value you can provide to the delivery company you work for and the more money you will be able to make in the long run.

What percentage of truck drivers are women?

Only 11% of all truckers are women while 89% are men.

Thus, this industry is still dominated by men and will likely also be dominated by men in the near future since more men than women aspire to a trucker career.

Do I need a mentor to succeed as a truck driver?

You don’t need a mentor to succeed as a trucker.

Instead, it is much more important that you have a passion for driving and that you are also comfortable spending lots of time alone in your truck.

Do truck drivers have a high life expectancy?

Truck drivers have pretty low life expectancy since they are at significant risk of getting involved in traffic accidents and have a much lower life expectancy compared to secretaries or other people who work in classical office environments.

Do truck drivers suffer from sleeping problems?

Since truck drivers often have to work at nighttime and also have to sleep inside their trucks, they don’t get good sleep and also often suffer from serious sleeping problems in the long run.

What states are best for working as a truck driver?

Since truck driver salaries don’t vary significantly across states, you should choose a region where the demand for truck driving services is high while living costs are still low so that you can make a decent living from what you are doing.

Who do truck drivers work with?

Truck drivers often spend their workdays alone in their driver’s cabin.

Thus, you should be good at spending time with yourself and if you rather want to talk to other people all day long, you should not become a truck driver but rather work as a barkeeper instead.

Is working as a truck driver cool?

Working as a trucker is not considered cool by the majority of the general public.

However, the coolness factor should not matter for your career choice anyway and you should rather do what’s best for you in the long run.

Can you start a side hustle as a truck driver?

Since truck drivers are on the road quite often and also have to work long hours, they often don’t have enough time to start a side hustle and also often lack the skills to do so.

Do you have to be creative as a truck driver?

You don’t need to be creative as a truck driver.

What’s much more important is that you develop a certain routine and that you also get really good at driving to provide enough value to the delivery company you work for in the long run.

Do truck drivers suffer from being overweight?

Since truck drivers spend almost all of their workday in their driver’s seat, they don’t get lots of exercise at work and may suffer from being overweight or even obese quite often.

How employable are truck drivers?

Due to self-driving vehicles, many truck drivers will lose their jobs in the near future and truckers are therefore no longer that employable anymore.

Are truck drivers happy with their jobs?

Most truckers are not fully happy with their jobs since they are away from home quite often and also have to work pretty exotic hours while they still don’t make really good money from what they are doing.

Is working as a truck driver exciting?

Working as a truck driver is not that exciting since you will do the same things over and over again and may get bored with your job pretty soon.

Can you have a positive impact on our environment as a truck driver?

Since you will mainly worry about bringing goods from A to B in time, you will not care about our environment and will just do what’s best for the company you work for as a truck driver.

What are the pros and cons of working as a truck driver?

If you still want to become a trucker, you should also have a look at additional pros and cons of a truck driver career.

Sources

https://www.statista.com/topics/4912/trucking-industry-in-the-us/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/255944/employment-figures-for-us-freight-trucking-industry/

Interviews and own research.

About the author

My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.

This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.

Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.

I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.

Wanna support my blog? Share it!

Pin It on Pinterest