If you want to earn more money as a truck driver, you might have to look into the highest-paying jobs for truck drivers.
These kinds of jobs are usually found in niche trucking markets.
To work in these niche markets, you'd need some kind of special experience or willingness to take some risk and make some sacrifice. You'd also need to earn endorsements proving that you have the necessary training and skills to haul specialized equipment and freight.
If you are still wondering how can a truck driver make $100k per year, one of the ways is to apply for high-paying trucker jobs.
Below, find a list of the highest paying jobs for truck drivers.
The main truck driver qualities you need to apply for high paying jobs
As an average truck driver who hauls dry freight loads on a van trailer, you can't expect to be highly paid.
But, if you gain more experience, you can slowly move up your earning potential by earning more endorsements to increase a wider level of opportunities.
Truck drivers with higher chances to be hired for these high-paying jobs:
- are ready to take greater risks.
- are more reliable.
- have 2 to 5 years of driving experience and have the skills to work in a specialized niche.
- have a clean driving record.
The highest paying truck driver jobs list
1. Ice road trucking
Ice road truck drivers earn anywhere between $75,000 to $120,000. And these types of earnings are only paid for 3 to 4 months of work during the ice roads season. Most U.S.-based ice road truckers work in Alaska or in parts of Canada. Not bad. Right?
But what stands behind these ice road trucking jobs? Why are ice road truck drivers paid so much? What's the catch?
Let me explain.
A driving job on icy roads means that the truck driver's experience involves extreme low temperatures, winter storms, and poor road conditions.
Such job experience is not common for an average truck driver.
This is a dangerous job. Ice road trucking companies require significant experience and endorsements. That's why ice road truckers earn such higher compensation.
2. Tanker or liquid hauling
The next high-paying truck driving job is tanker liquid hauling.
The driver who drives tankers may sometimes haul hazardous liquids and materials such as gasoline, gas, and chemicals.
Hauling these types of products requires the driver's CDL to be endorsed for that type of freight.
That's why the tanker drivers are paid well above the average truck driver wage.
For example, fuel tanker drivers earn as much as $70,000 to $120,000 per year.
3. Oversized loads
The next high-paying truck driver job is hauling oversized loads.
Truck drivers who want to apply for these types of jobs should have special endorsements, training, and experience of driving specialized oversized equipment. This requirement is necessary to prove that you can handle hauling extra-large loads such as heavy machinery, aircraft parts, or heavy-duty military equipment.
Due to the nature of the oversized loads, you might also need to coordinate with multiple professionals to design safe routes, arrange for escort vehicles, or temporarily lift power lines.
To apply for an oversize load job, some companies require as much as 10 years of driving experience. Also, consider getting hazmat and tanker endorsements because this may increase the odds of being hired.
Truckers that haul oversized loads are paid well for their skill, time, and effort.
4. Specialty car haulers
The next high-paying job for truck drivers is hauling cars.
You may need to haul junked cars, specialty vehicles, or luxury cars. This type of freight is paid more than you get for a standard cargo.
Companies that hire drivers for these types of loads require a high level of expertise in hauling specialized equipment. The driver should be meticulous and patient when hauling this kind of expensive freight.
5. Jobs in mining industry or on dump trucks
Hauling heavy loads on a dump truck is the next high-paying truck driver job.
Driving a dump truck may not make as much as the ice road truckers make, but it will still earn you a decent salary considering that you don't have to be on the road 24/7 as OTR drivers.
As part of the heavy-duty category, dump truck drivers mainly work on construction and mining sites.
6. Team driving
Team driving is the next high-paying job on the list.
If you know how team driving works than you know that not many truck drivers can handle living in a truck with someone else. But, if you do, team driving is a very lucrative career.
Per ZipRecruiter, the average team driver may earn between %50,000 and $80,000. But, if you add hazmat endorsement, or double or triple your endorsements, you can increase the number of earning opportunities coming your way.
The main problem that many teams encounter is burnout. The team drivers are unable to keep up with the hectic schedule for extended periods.
The types of teams that are doing great are family teams (husband and wife), considering that both are drivers. They can live on the road for long periods without having home time obligations.
Being an owner-operator can be rewarding in trucking.
The main risk lies in the responsibility of operational costs of running the trucking business tied to the owner operator.
The owner-operator expenses include everything from purchasing or leasing the trucks, their maintenance cost, fuel cost, insurance, taxes, etc. Besides that, you are responsible to find your customer and to negotiate your rates. The main point is that all responsibility for running the business falls on you.
If the owner-operator manages his business correctly, the payoff can be profitable.
Depending on the miles driven, the type of freight, and customer satisfaction, some owner-operators can make $100,000 per year.
The catch of being an owner-operator is in your ability to bring in revenue and to deduct the expenses and still be profitable.