The trucking industry is one of the most lucrative, with most truck drivers earning well above minimum wage. However, not all trucking jobs are created equal, and several roles present a much stronger opportunity for high earnings than others.
For example, ice-road truckers earn $40k for 3 - 4 months of work, but the highest-earners in this role are pulling over $200k.
So, whether you're considering getting started in trucking or you're an established trucker looking to increase your paycheck, this article's for you. We're going to break down the nine highest-paying trucking jobs and answer some frequently asked questions.
For many outsiders, trucking seems like a pretty easy job.
But driving a truck isn't quite the same as driving a car. Yes, there's the obvious size difference, not to mention those tricky gearboxes. More crucial than all of this, though, is the safety aspect.
Truckers are often transporting dangerous (fuel) or valuable (luxury cars) goods and sometimes through fairly hazardous terrain (ice roads, for example).
Each role comes with its own associated risks and the necessary qualifications and experience to manage those risks. But enough about the challenges and risks involved in trucking jobs. Let's talk more about how much they pay.
The most significant earning opportunity for truck drivers is definitely becoming an owner/operator.
We'll discuss this high-paying job in more detail shortly, but it's worth noting that you can earn upwards of $200k a year as an owner/operator.
If you're not yet feeling up to taking on the financial risk of owning your own trucking company, fair enough. You can earn some decent money working as a trucker for somebody else, too.
The jobs that pay the most in this industry are ones that require specific qualifications, such as:
Oversized load hauling
Of all trucking jobs, ice-road trucking offers the biggest opportunity, with high earners making as much as $210k a year.
With all of that said, let's take a look at some more specific trucking jobs so you can decide which career path seems like the best fit for you.
Here are nine of the highest-paying trucking jobs.
In this role, you own the trucking company and the truck itself, and you contract directly to companies who need goods shipped from one destination to another.
An owner/operator truck driver can earn as much as $220k per year, and though you'll probably need to pull some long hours, you'll be your own boss.
Some long-haul journeys are too long for one driver to handle. But when the goods need to get across the country quickly, that truck can't stop.
That's where the team driver comes in. You can think of team driving like a relay race. You drive from New York to Pittsburgh, for example, and then pass the truck over to another driver.
Team drivers can earn as much as $100k per year, making this one of the highest-paying trucking jobs.
One of the most popular truck driver jobs with high earning potential is oversized load-hauling, which involves driving large trucks that carry oversized goods (such as house relocation).
In this trucking job, you can earn as much as $90k per year.
Private fleet trucking is when a company owns a fleet of trucks whose primary business is not trucking. A home relocation company that owns and uses its own trucks to move people cross-country is an example of this.
In a full-time role as a private fleet driver, you can earn around $86k per year.
Careful drivers are crucial to luxury car transportation.
If you have a proven driving record and you're a safe and cautious trucker, you can earn between $73k–$120k transporting specialty vehicles.
Tanker trucking is perhaps one of the most common trucking roles, transporting liquid goods such as fuel, milk, or molasses.
In this role, truckers earn an average of $72k annually.
HAZMAT drivers ship hazardous materials (such as explosives and gases).
This specialized role requires drivers to have a HAZMAT endorsement, and it pays an average of $63k per year.
You'll typically drive a dump truck to deliver mined ore from the quarry as a mining company driver.
In this role, you can earn around $47k per year.
Ice-road trucking can be one of the highest-paying truck driving jobs around. Beginners earn around $40k, but more experienced drivers can earn up to $210k.
Of course, ice-road trucking can be a dangerous and challenging role, so more difficult routes are likely to pay more.
Let's answer some frequently asked questions about truck driving.
Not all trucking companies ask you to have a wealth of experience as a driver. You've got to start somewhere, right?
These are the ten highest-paying trucking companies for new drivers:
US Xpress Inc.
KLLM Transport Services
Schneider National Inc.
The average trucker earns between 28–40 cents per mile, though some companies pay as much as $3 per mile!
If you're interested in being at the top end of this scale, then check out these five companies that pay over $2 per mile:
DBN Dulay's Trux
Ecom Freight Lines, INC
Pure Freight Lines
The answer to this depends entirely on your local area, though Alaska has the highest income potential of all states.
Search for truck driving jobs on Jobcase to see which companies are paying the most in your location!
Looking at average truck driver earnings, the three best paying trucking companies in the U.S. are Sysco, Walmart, and GP Transco.
Truckers can earn a really great average salary, particularly if they branch into ownership.
Above all, though, you must choose a career that will be enjoyable and fulfilling in the long term. Is trucking that job for you?
If so, then it's time to start hunting down the highest-paying trucking jobs in your area!