Truck Driver
How to Become a

Truck Driver

The complete career guide to be a 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
  • Dependable Daily Workload
    Career Attribute

Truck drivers transport goods from one location to another.  They typically deliver theses good across the continental United States, crossing and spanning over several miles and states.

Recommended Schools

What is a Truck Driver?

The following responsibilities are common for Truck Drivers:

  • Delivers goods while operating a large truck and trailer
  • Loads and unloads cargo and goods
  • Records the amount and type of cargo being delivered
  • Keeps truck full of fuel and keeps windows and exterior and interior of truck and trailer clean
  • Follows all applicable road laws and watches for any changes in traffic or weather conditions

A Day In The Life

Truck drivers move cargo and materials over large and various vast distances.  Some individuals may work in a local area making deliveries to various businesses and individuals, others may travel long distances while other still may carry irregular materials or hazardous materials.

Driving the delivery vehicle safely and without incident is the main responsibility of this individual.  Although, some employers also require the drivers to be able to load and unload the truck as well.  They must maintain a detailed log book of all their routes and deliveries to keep in compliance of federal regulations.  Driver must also maintain a log of vehicle inspections and keep the truck equipped with all the proper and necessary safety equipment.

Typical Work Schedule

For individuals working as truck drivers that carry shipments across the country, the hours can be very long an odd.  Federal safety regulations require a driver not drive longer than 12 hours though.  For those that are delivering local cargo, the hours tend to still be long but only typically during daytime hours.

Projected Job Growth

With the growing economy and population, the need for goods across the nation is largely increasing.Jobs for truck drivers will be moving quickly and grow at a much higher rate than the national average.

Typical Employers

Mostly these individuals will be employed by residential delivery services like USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc.  Others will go on to pursue careers with companies in long-haul truck driving companies like Holland Freight, Acme Trucking or Wal-Mart.

Recommended Schools

How To Become a Truck Driver

In order to obtain work as a truck driver, an individual must acquire and possess a CDL drivers license and certification.  They must also possess certain licenses and certifications to transport certain types of cargo as well.  Training programs are available to certify and teach the drivers of large commercial trucks different techniques on how to drive safely on city roads and streets as well as interstates and highways.  Coursework will include classes on commercial traffic laws, hours of service, vehicle inspections, log books, safety procedures and much more.  Individuals should obtain a copy of the state commercial driver’s manual.  This DMV commercial driver’s manual will contain the information regarding fees, classes and all restrictions. In addition to the coursework, students will also get to spend time in the driver’s seat of a large commercial vehicle for hands-on knowledge of the trucks’ mechanics and features.

Other requirements include that students must be at least 18 years of age to take the CDL drivers tests, posses a valid driver’s license and have a clean driving record.  Licensing and certification must comply with all federal safety guidelines to obtain the CDL drivers license, which includes, medical examination, background check and fingerprinting as well as passing the driving test itself as well as passing drug testing procedures.

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

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Truck Driver salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, 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 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 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 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%

Want To Be a Truck Driver? Get Started!

Generate your free SmartPlan™ to identify colleges you like, and potential ways to save on a degree or certification program toward your career with courses, offers, and much more!

Enroll Now and Get Started

or Learn More →