Do you yearn to spend your days on the open road with nothing but your thoughts and the roar of the engine? Then you must be a born trucker. However, deciding to become a pro trucker is just the first set in the decision-making process. Now you have to decide what kind of trucker to be. After all, you’ll want to make sure you land in the right spot in this surprisingly complex industry so that you can maximize your earning potential and your job satisfaction.
Here’s a list of some of the highest-paying trucking jobs out there right now.
1. Tanker Hauler
Tanker trucks are those big machines that haul liquid such as water or gasoline. You’ll need to get your CDL endorsed to do this particular job, which can be both difficult and dangerous since liquid cargo can be unstable. However, it is one of the highest paying trucking jobs—fuel tanker drivers earn as much as $70,000 per year. Consider the extra training and certification as an investment in your career.
2. Hazmat Diver
Like tanker hauling, hauling hazardous materials is another way to up your game. Get your CDL endorsed for this skill and you can widely increase the number of tanker hauls you’re eligible to do. Endorsing your CDL means you have access to a specialized (and lucrative) category of jobs. Hazmat drivers are also guaranteed a minimum of $1,000 a week after a year of experience according to RoadMaster.com.
3. Oversized Load Hauler
You need a special license and special training to haul extra large loads such as heavy machinery, but, again, driving wide or oversized loads will mean you’ll be paid more. According to WideLoadShipping.com, oversized load truckers earn between $53,125 and $90,000 on average. You might even earn six figures if you’re willing to sacrifice some home time and work extra hard.
4. Ice Road Trucker
When it comes to trucking, no one earns more than ice road truckers. These are the brave souls who deliver their loads over pure ice. It’s an extremely dangerous career, but it is also extremely well paid—AOL Jobs reports that some ice road truckers earn up to $250,000 for just two months of icy-season work.
5. Transport Driver
Hauling junked cars, specialty vehicles, or luxury cars will earn you more than the standard cargo. Transport drivers earn about $53,000 a year on average.
6. Team Driver
Team drivers hook up with others to go twice as far, twice as fast. You won’t get a lot of breaks outside of the truck in this field, but you will make amazing time—and money. The average team truck driver makes $50,000 per year.
7. OTR Driver
Specialize in long hauls from coast to coast and you’ll be sure to earn a good living. OTR, or “Over the Road,” drivers do daunting work and must be 21 or older to score gigs, but at a starting annual salary of $40-45,000 per year according to RoadMaster.com, the pay is great.
Not every job in the trucking industry involves actual trucking. Instructors teach others how to do this specialized work while still being able to go home every night. They earn between $22,500 and $51,800 a year according to PayScale.com.
If you’d rather just get paid to send other guys out on the road, you should consider becoming a recruiter. According to GlassDoor.com, the national average salary is a very enticing $50,000 a year for this comparatively low-effort career.
Would you rather be your own boss? Well, owning a trucking company may sound like a great job, though there are numerous expenses to consider. Nevertheless, you’re still likely to end up earning a lot more than the drivers who actually have to lug their loads across the country. Indeed.com estimates that the average owner/operator makes an average annual salary of $141,000. That’s not bad for playing with trucks!