According to salary estimates, CDL Class A drivers earn $78,373 per year on average. This is well above the national average salary.
If you’re looking for a career that gets you out and about and pays well, a CDL Class A job could be the answer.
But before you hit up your local job boards, you should get clear on what type of CDL Class A jobs you want to apply for.
CDL Class A jobs run the gamut from local delivery truck driver jobs to long-haul trucking that will take you out of state, tanker truck driving, and more.
Buckle up and read about some of the most common jobs below so you can plot your new career path with confidence.
Long-haul is what most people think of when it comes to trucking. Also known as Over-The-Road (OTR) trucking, long-haul trucking is one of the most common CDL Class A jobs.
Long-haul truck driving will take you across state lines, often from coast to coast. You’ll spend weeks on the road at a stretch, but the pay is good and you’ll see a lot of the country.
Long-haul trucking can be ideal if you’re single and don’t have a lot of family responsibilities. If you have a family and children, spending so much time away from home might not be feasible. OTR truckers typically only spend one day at home for every week they’re on the road.
Local and Regional Trucking
Do you like the idea of driving large trucks from city to city, but don’t want to spend weeks away from home? Local or regional trucking could be a good middle ground.
These jobs involve shorter routes, and you’ll usually operate within one specific region. You might be able to spend nights at home, or at the very least, weekends.
The pay is usually slightly lower than for OTR trucking, but proximity to home can make up for this.
Delivery Truck Driver
If you want to work as locally as possible, delivery truck driving is another option. As a delivery truck driver, you’ll be delivering goods to businesses or consumers within your immediate surroundings.
You’ll most likely be operating between warehouses, stores, construction sites, and/or private homes.
Flatbed Truck Driver or Oversized Load Hauler
Flatbed drivers typically transport oversized cargo. As a flatbed or oversized driver, you probably won’t run regular routes, and jobs can vary. One day you might be transporting heavy machinery, the next you may be delivering building materials or a prefabricated home.
Salaries for oversized truck drivers are good, and you can earn up to $90,000 a year once you have some experience.
Flatbed trucks are built differently from tractor-trailers. You’ll need extra experience and knowledge to operate them. You’ll also need to know how to properly secure the cargo you carry.
Tanker Truck Driver
If you like the idea of driving big rigs and don’t mind extra responsibility, you can also look into becoming a tanker truck driver.
Right now, there is a shortage of tanker truck drivers all over the world, making it a great time to consider this segment of the industry.
Tanker truck drivers haul various types of liquids and gases, including:
- Natural gas
- Carbon dioxide
- Hazardous chemicals
Most tanker truck drivers have to follow stringent safety protocols, especially if they’re carrying flammable or toxic cargo.
As a hazmat driver, you’ll be authorized to carry dangerous substances, whether in a tanker truck, on a flatbed, or with a tractor-trailer truck.
Hazmats like gasoline and petrol have to travel by tanker, which is why a lot of tanker drivers are also hazmat drivers.
Hazmat drivers usually earn more than drivers who don’t transport hazardous materials. The job comes with additional risks and responsibilities. It can also be more stressful.
If you want to become a hazmat driver, you will need to get a hazmat endorsement. The process is relatively straightforward. All you have to do is enroll in a hazmat endorsement ELDT course that provides the federally mandated theory training.
There isn’t any behind-the-wheel ELDT training required. Once you’ve completed the theory course, you can take a test at the DMV and get the hazmat endorsement added to your CDL.
Ice Road Trucker
If you aren’t averse to danger and have lots of experience handling trucks in icy conditions, you could also consider a career as an ice road trucker.
Ice truck drivers haul cargo across ice during the winter months in far northern regions like Alaska and Canada.
Being an ice road trucker is not for the faint of heart. It is an extremely dangerous job and shouldn’t be considered by beginner truck drivers.
Because it’s such a dangerous undertaking, ice truck drivers command some of the highest average salaries in the industry, and can earn up to $250,000 for just a couple of months of ice-season work.
Auto haulers typically transport cars between dealerships. Some auto haulers also handle private deliveries of cars.
As an auto hauler, you won’t just be responsible for driving, you may also need to load the vehicles onto specialized trailers and handle the delivery of multiple cars on each trip you make.
Dump Truck Driver
If you don’t like the idea of carrying highly sensitive cargo like cars, consumer products, and hazmat, dump truck driving offers just the opposite.
Dump truck drivers typically carry loose materials like sand, dirt, compost, gravel, and construction waste. Dump truck drivers usually operate on a local level and don’t have to spend nights away from home.
Specialized Freight Driver
Specialized freight driving is another of the more highly paid trucking careers. Specialized freight drivers transport things like machinery, oversized loads, and livestock.
Do Any of These CDL Class A Jobs Appeal to You?
Once you’ve completed your Class A CDL course and received your license, it will be time to choose a career path.
Some CDL Class A jobs will require extra experience or endorsements before you can jump in, such as becoming a specialized freight driver.
Have you yet to get your Class A CDL?
The first step is to complete the ELDT theory training. We offer a convenient online CDL course, as well as endorsement courses.
Click here to browse our CDL online courses.