Everyday people entering the workforce and those seeking improved employment opportunities have every reason to consider a truck driving career. Of course, you have every reason to review opportunities in a variety of industries. But few can offer the high-level job security, opportunities, and benefits of being a truck driver. These rank among the top reasons to be a truck driver you should know about.
Qualified CDL Drivers are in High Demand
The trucking industry continues to struggle with a massive shortage of qualified CDL professionals. The American Trucking Association (ATA) estimates the current truck driver shortage at approximately 50,000, and the lack of qualified drivers is expected to rise to as much as 898,000 by 2026. Those staggering numbers are why a recent ATA report concluded that freight companies ranked the driver shortage as their most pressing concern.
Compounding driver shortfall, online retailers, and big-box outlets are quickly increasing the need to haul and deliver more goods and materials. Moving a reported 10.5 billion tons each year calls for 3.5 million truck drivers and upwards of 3.6 million Class 8 rigs. Truck drivers are the nation’s lifeblood, and trucking companies are offering increased salaries, health benefits, and even signing bonuses to enlist the help of qualified drivers. Workers in few industries have their choice of job opportunities or can boast that companies are fighting over them.
A Truck Driving Career Delivers Good Salaries
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median heavy tractor-trailer salary was $43,680 per year and $21 per hour in 2018. The BLS explains that the median of the lowest 10 percent stood at $28,160 while the top 10 percent of earners cleared more than $65,000. The median salaries by industry in 2018 were as follows.
- Truck transportation: $45,000
- Wholesale trade: $42,960
- Construction: $41,650
- Manufacturing: $41,280
While even truckers with average experience are currently taking home a solid paycheck, reports indicate that truck driver salaries are rapidly increasing. According to the Journal of Commerce, trucker salaries are rising at a faster than anticipated rate. A recent report states that trucker pay rose upwards of 10 percent since 2017. Approximately 20 percent of carriers upped salaries more than once during that period. From 2012 to 2017, truckers had already reaped pay increases of about 33 percent. One of the best reasons to be a truck driver is that qualified CDL holders can expect raises that outpace the cost of living.
CDL Training is Cost-Effective
After studying for four years to earn a college degree, people enter the workforce hamstrung with student loan debt and reportedly earn approximately $50,000 on average. That’s a modest $5,000 more than truckers. But the significant differences between the two types of workers is that truck drivers can learn on the job and earn a CDL through their employer in some cases. The other option is to attend a CDL training school and earn a certificate at a relatively low investment.
It’s also not uncommon for medium and large trucking companies to hire drivers straight out of school and offer signing bonuses. Many times, that upfront payment covers part or all of the truckers initial investment. That is one of the many benefits of being a truck driver. The same can rarely be said of people with bachelor’s degrees. What makes a truck driving career even more cost-effective is that financial aid for CDL school may be available, lowering your out-of-pocket expenses.
A Truck Driving Career Enjoys Growth Opportunities
From the outside, the life of a trucker appears to be driving the open road for extended periods of time without room for career advancement. Nothing could be further from the truth. Qualified CDL drivers have the keys to the kingdom, so to speak. Not only are they highly sought after and enjoying pay increases, but they are an increasing number of opportunities available.
Veteran drivers can secure regional and local routes that offer the same high salary, but with a low-key schedule. Some experienced drivers are scooped up by major fleet operations at the top end of the pay scale. It’s not unusual for a fleet driver to earn upwards of $100,000 with big companies.
Opportunities also exist for truckers to become Owner Operators, work for themselves, and negotiate lucrative terms with freight companies in dire need of drivers. Other possibilities include lateral moves inside a shipping and receiving facility. The almost limitless opportunities rank among the top benefits of being a truck driver.
Truckers Get Paid To Experience The Country
A tremendous number of Americans commute one hour to work each day, put in their eight or so hours, and then drive home. They do that 48-50 weeks per year and take a vacation in a resort or a staycation to save money. It goes without saying that hardworking men and women dream about being on the open road, meeting interesting people, and experiencing the great American landscape.
Imagine the painted desert, starlit Big Sky country, majestic mountains, pristine lakes, and fast-running rivers. Those experiences are the benefits of being a truck driver that other occupations may never enjoy. But the linchpin is that truckers get paid to travel from sea to shining sea.
No Gender Barrier in Truck Driving Careers
The gender barrier that exists in some industries is a thing of the past in trucking for several reasons. First, the era when only people with superior strength could handle the job has passed. Once hard to turn wheels and physically unloading heavy freight has been replaced by technology. A modern 18-wheeler can be as easy to steer as a typical SUV. And, it’s no longer the norm for drivers to unload. Either warehouse personnel unload with forklifts and other machinery, or drivers use motorized pallet jacks.
While average men and women can now meet the physical demands, much of the gender barrier that may have existed decades ago has been set aside. Trucking companies are in no position to harbor gender bias, and the number of women truckers increases each year. Today’s trucking companies are open and eager to hire female CDL professionals.
Ready to Enjoy the Benefits of Being a Truck Driver?
The robust economy and low unemployment appear to offer working people a wealth of opportunities. But when planning for the future, it’s essential to consider the reasons a truck driving career offers things others cannot. Regardless of whether the economy continues to grow, or another recession sets in years from now, there simply are not enough qualified truck drivers to fill the vacancies. One of the unmistakable benefits of being a truck driver is that your future employment is secure. For more information or to review truck driving job opportunities, visit CDLjobs.com