Plenty of growth opportunities in your truck driver career path exist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an over-the-road (OTR) trucker’s average annual truck driver salary is around $48,000. The job outlook looks bright, increasing by six percent over the next decade. The BLS projects about 231,100 openings for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers each year.
Sure, there are pros and cons of truck driving, but if you’re in a dead-end job with no chance for advancement or looking to shift to a second career, the door to driving a big rig is wide open
Here are several directions your truck driver career path can take
The longer you stay with a company, your chances of making more money increase. That’s especially true in certain types of trucking: hazardous materials, oversized loads, and driving for private fleets, for example. Some of the larger trucking companies pay upwards of $80,000 a year.
Although company drivers make good money, if you crave independence, becoming an owner-operator might be the truck driving career path for you. Owner-operators are some of the highest-paid in the industry — as high as $286,000, according to Indeed.
CDL Instructor or Trainer
Experienced drivers may wish to “shift gears” but not end their trucking careers. In that case, becoming a CDL instructor or trainer at a truck driving school is a viable option. You can make a good living by sharing your knowledge with other drivers and get more home time to boot.
Trucking Manager or Supervisor
If management sounds appealing, consider what opportunities the trucking industry offers. Trucking managers and supervisors oversee driver, carrier, and supplier coordination and communication. Auditing driver and delivery logs, supervising drivers, and acting as the primary point of contact for check-ins and emergencies are also part of the job. Dispatchers and fleet managers are similar jobs you may wish to check out.
One of the best things about trucking is there is no upper age limit. It’s not uncommon to see new drivers in their 50s and 60s. That makes it ideal for retirees looking for a “second act” career.
How to Grow Your Truck Driving Career Path
If you want to advance in your trucking career, keep the following in mind:
Be in for the long haul. By that, we mean the longer you are in the field, the better your chances for advancement.
Be a good team member. Independence is one thing; being a rebel is another. Don’t use the freedom trucking offers as a license to be disruptive. Act professionally, have a good work ethic, and keep the company’s best interests at heart.
Earn endorsements. Earning endorsements like hazmat and tanker will help you advance in your career because they allow you to carry different loads.
Maintain a good driving record. Accidents and traffic tickets won’t help you advance in your career. Keep a clean commercial driver’s license and ensure your medical certifications and endorsements are up to date.
This list should prove that driving trucks is a good career path. Of course, it all starts with getting your CDL license, and there’s no better place to do that than The CDL School. We offer a Class A and B CDL training program and affordable tuition rates. You can earn your CDL in just a few weeks and start whatever truck driving career path you choose.