How to Become a

Tow Truck Driver

The complete career guide to be a Tow Truck Driver: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $42,500
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 5.5%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Don't Take Work Home
    Career Attribute

A tow truck driver is responsible for driving and operating trucks that tows vehicles that have damages, are broken down, need repairs or have been illegally parked.

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What is a Tow Truck Driver?


Below are the duties performed by a tow truck driver:

  • Using a transport truck with various equipment like chains, blocks, winch and electric controls to confiscate abandoned, stolen, impounded or confiscated vehicles for the local authorities.
  • Transport unwanted or broken-down vehicles to places such as mechanical workshops, the towing company property, vehicle dismantlers and panel-beaters for next steps.
  • Get to the concerned location and spend time interacting with clients to establish a good rapport for quicker problem solving.
  • Take care of all required paperwork associated with tow trucks like reports on condition of trucks, a daily log on driving assignments, purchase of fuel and mileage.
  • Manoeuvre tow truck to assigned scene safely, i.e. drive through often difficult road conditions like heavy congestion, bad weather and narrow loading or unloading points.

Day In The Life

As a tow truck operator, most of your day consists of interacting with a dispatcher on a regular basis and driving to the destination of an accident or vehicle break down.  You would efficiently connect the vehicle to the tow truck, and transport it to the required location, such as a service station or the junkyard. It is your responsibility to ensure that the disabled vehicle is successfully attached to the tow truck. According to the type of tow truck you work with, this may include using equipment like steering locks or chains as well as attaching lights onto the specific vehicle towed.

You will spend some time communicating face to face with diverse clients, informing them about their automotive issues after diagnosing the cause and ensuring the required support. In this regard, you will be expected to converse fluently and have a basic understanding of cars and automotive parts. Once in a while, you will take on other tasks like minor repairs on the scene of a breakdown such as changing tires, reconnecting various parts, and jumpstarting a broken-down car. You should have a firm grasp over common techniques in automotive maintenance and repair and most of this is usually learned on the job. After a successful assignment, you will make sure to write out a detailed report of the type of services provided and the payment rate accepted.

Work Schedule

There are part-time and full-time openings available for tow truck drivers. Most have to work in different shifts through the week, which includes nights and weekends. You must be comfortable working on the go, from spaces like your truck, deport, on the roadside and in parking lots. Further, there are a few risks that can arise in this profession, such as accident scenes and overcrowded roads. You must also be in good physical shape since the job requires strenuous movements like bending, lifting and climbing especially for tough salvage assignments.

Growth Of The Job

It is a great time to be working as a professional tow truck driver, since there is always a demand for a new driver due to the high turnover of existing workers. This is primarily due to old age and moving to better opportunities.

Typical Employers

Tow truck drivers are hired by local and national towing companies, companies offering truck dealerships, travel and insurance. At the moment, here are a few examples of employers hiring for similar positions: Copart, Inc., AAA, Rush Enterprises, Mossy Automotive Group, Caliber Collision, and Bobby & Steves Auto World. Employers value applied skills like automotive knowledge, customer service potential and bilingual communication skills.

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How To Become a Tow Truck Driver

Every aspiring tow truck driver must fulfil certain minimum qualifications. You must be the age of 21, have a valid driver’s license and a clean driving record to start with. Additional requirements may vary as per the employer and state. You should also have a high school diploma or its equivalent to begin on a career path. Experience operating a motor vehicle for a few years can be an advantage, along with basic math, automobile repair and computer knowledge.

Some job opportunities may require you to complete vocational technical automotive training or obtain a special operator’s license or certification from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). To do so, you need to pass an examination after which a certificate is issued increasing your prospects versus other competitors in the job market.


Tow Truck Driver Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

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High Range


National Hourly Wage

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High Range


How do Tow Truck Driver salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Tow Truck Driver's can make an average annual salary of $42,500, or $20 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $32,670 or $16 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #486 Nationally for All Careers

Highest Education Among Tow Truck Drivers

  • 0.2%   Doctorate
  • 0.7%   Masters
  • 4.8%   Bachelors
  • 5.6%   Associates
  • 22.7%   College
  • 48.2%   High School
  • 17.8%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Tow Truck Driver job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 98,700 jobs for a total of 1,896,400 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 5.5% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #406 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Tow Truck Drivers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
General freight trucking 591,900 28,100 28%
Specialized freight trucking 239,400 15,900 16%
Self-employed workers 137,600 3,300 3%

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