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How Much Do Truck Drivers Earn?

Truck Driver SalaryAs a generation of truckers begins to retire, the trucking industry is experiencing a shortage of qualified commercial truck drivers. Some reports claim that there is a shortage of over 20,000 drivers in the long haul sector alone. This presents significant opportunities for younger drivers and people looking for a new career.

Truck Driver Earnings

When it comes to earnings, there is quite a bit of variation in this industry. Most semi truck drivers make money based on the miles that they drive and this can be anywhere from 19 to 60 cents per mile. For regional drivers and drivers who work on a local job site, earnings can be between $15 and $20 per hour.

Most first-year drivers will end up making between $25,000 and $35,000 their first year driving. This can be higher if the driver teams up with another person. In these cases, one person drives while the other sleeps in the cab. Big trucks are usually equipped with a bed in the cab for this very reason.

Truck drivers can haul all sorts of material across the country, from hazardous waste to industrial vehicles. Some of the more lucrative truck driving positions are with oil and gas companies. These truck drivers transport oil and equipment to and from jobsites and refineries. In these cases, extra training may be required.

Training

There are three primary options for obtaining truck-driving training. The first is from community colleges. In these cases, the community college has courses that are specifically tailored to providing education for aspiring truckers.

There are several private companies that provide truck driving training as well. The quality of instruction varies with these companies, so it’s important to do your research before you sign a contract. A Google search will usually provide plenty of reviews for these companies, but you may also ask a commercial truck driver for a recommendation.

The third option for training is with the actual commercial trucking company. Many companies have training programs available and will even reimburse the tuition if you sign a contract to work for them. Financing your trucking tuition may require loans or grants, but there are several options available online to help you.

Most of these classes will be for a six-month period. Once you have completed the classes, you will then take a written exam and a skill assessment. The written exam covers regulations and mechanical details of the trucking industry and the skill assessment grades your ability to drive the truck.

During the skills assessment, you will need to know how to properly work with the loading area, transmission and other parts of the truck. You will also be tested on what the proper procedures are for dealing with various road conditions.

Your earnings as a truck driver will depend on your experience, skill and the position you acquire. To find out the best opportunities available in your area, contact the local trucking companies and ask about positions. With the current shortage of truck drivers across the nation, you may find a new job right away!

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