Most jobs that pay $100,000 or more require extensive educational credentials and years of experience. However, a trucking job can get you that $100,000 — and you’ll only need adequate driving abilities and a few weeks of training.
Anyone Can Drive
As long as you’re over 21, you can get a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in one to two months. Trade schools will often have CDL programs, and most of these schools have ties or partnerships with trucking companies. Most companies will often sponsor trainees by covering costs and even issuing allowances. Of course, undergoing a sponsored program will limit your choices and starting salary. CDL training programs usually cost around $3,000 to $7,000, so you won’t need to saddle yourself with student debt. If you’re under 21, you can still apply for a trucking job — but it won’t pay as high as long-haul assignments. However, a few years behind the wheel should give you enough experience, and you can demand higher wages once you go for longer routes.
Most trucking companies have a shortage of drivers. Around 80 percent of trucking companies don’t have a full roster of drivers, and the drivers they have are on the brink of retiring. A report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018 points out that the average age of commercial truck drivers is 55. The trucking industry will be facing a massive personnel crisis in the next five to ten years, and most companies are already feeling the effects. New drivers are too few, and companies vie with one another to compete for their services. Most drivers will sign with a company that pays the most, some will choose the ones that provide better benefits and incentives, while some drivers will go independent.
Trucking wages have been rising due to the shortage of personnel. Companies are offering wages of $80,000 per year on average (not including bonuses), and the more industrious and diligent drivers often earn over $100,000. The rise of online shopping has also created bigger demands for the trucking industry. As consumers prefer waiting at home to buying at retail stores, moving goods has never been more in demand. Companies that want to meet their schedules are forced to increase wages as they struggle to recruit new drivers and retain the ones they have. New drivers can expect starting wages of over $50,000 — but expect yearly increases as you gain experience. Soon you’ll be looking for accountants for truck drivers to handle your taxes and finances because it won’t take long before you start earning six figures.
Bonuses are common in the trucking industry. Aside from the usual wages, truck drivers often receive completion bonuses once they reach their destinations. Road safety is of utmost importance in the industry, and every company will provide bonuses to drivers with low incidents of accidents or delays. Because of the lack of personnel, most companies will provide bonuses just for getting a clean bill of health in an annual check-up. Companies want to make sure you stay fit so you can drive for many more years, and they’ll even provide loyalty bonuses for each year you stay with them.
Automated trucks won’t be taking over drivers’ jobs — but they will make trips a lot easier. Automated trucks will have systems akin to an airplane’s autopilot. They won’t be much use in busy city roads (or any place with traffic), but they can take over in long stretches of clear highway. Truckers can have a few hours of relaxation on their drives, which can be crucial in long interstate routes. Automated trucks will also maximize fuel efficiency, reducing costs for trucking companies. Self-diagnostics is also a big feature in most automated truck designs. These trucks can detect what parts need maintenance and replacement, allowing trucks to stay on the road longer and avoid lengthy repairs. There’s no risk of automated trucks taking over human jobs as even the designers of automated trucks believe the increased efficiency will lead to a higher demand for drivers.
No Office Politics
Truckers often work alone or with just a partner. There are no higher-ups to constantly report to or work that gets passed down to the new guy. The only thing you have to worry about is getting to your destination safely and at a reasonable time.
A career in trucking is an easy way to earn big money. The requirements are simple, and the new fleet of automated trucks (which will be rolled out in five years or so) will make trips easier and safer.