Those looking into a career in professional truck driving often pose these two questions:
- How much do truck drivers get paid?
- Are there ways you can earn more money as a truck driver?
According to data from Indeed.com, the average industry salary for truck drivers is $83,318per year in the United States. That’s a rate of $.52 per mile, based on an average of 3,000 miles per week. However, transportation is a broad industry, and many factors go into determining truck driver pay, including:
- Route type
- Years of experience
- Bonuses and incentives
- Certifications and endorsements
- Niche or specialty hauling
Professional Driver Pay by Route Type
Pay per mile is the most common method for calculating a truck driver’s pay because it allows flexibility and efficiency while equating to a good wage. Some jobs require drivers to be on the road more than others, which affects their mileage rate. Below are the average pay-per-mile rates for some of the most common route types.
Regional drivers operate in a specific part of the country and usually allow the driver to return home every week or every other week, depending on their employer. Regional driving pays, on average, $0.37 – $0.55 per mile.
Solo, over-the-road (OTR) drivers work across the continental U.S. and may cross into Canada or Mexico. The average pay per mile for OTR drivers is $0.44 – $0.58 per mile.
Dedicated drivers focus on deliveries for a single shipper and enjoy consistency with a specific route and more home time. The average pay for dedicated drivers ranges from $0.40 – $0.64 per mile.
Team drivers consist of two drivers who drive in shifts, allowing them to complete longer routes faster. Team drivers earn an average of $0.48 – $0.75 per mile, and their pay is often based on the rate of the most experienced team member. Find out more about team driving here.
What to Look for in an Employer
Truck driver pay can vary quite a bit between companies. Those entering the profession seeking steady wages should look for employers who have been in the business for a long time and have a proven history of paying well and respecting their drivers. Werner Enterprises, for instance, has been in business for more than 65 years and was started by one driver who took one truck and turned it into more than 8,600 trucks. Look at Werner’s pay and extra advantages:
Werner Driver Base Pay
- Starting pay up to $76k*
- First year drivers average between $65k-90k per year*
- Team drivers each earn up to $85k annually*
- Team Elite drivers each earn up to $114k annually*
- Must have 12 months of teaming experience to qualify
Find out more about Werner’s pay packages here.
Incentives and Bonuses
Many companies offer incentives and guarantee weekly pay in today’s competitive driver market. For example, Werner offers a sign-on bonus ranging from $2,500 to $5,000 and guaranteed weekly pay from $1,000 to $2,000 per week, depending on the account. Other bonuses and incentives Werner offers include:
- Over 250 home time and pay packages to choose from
- Brand new, top-of-the-line equipment
- Relocation bonus programs on select accounts
- Team matching program
- Military skills test waiver
- Elite veteran driver program
Werner continues to consistently increase truck driver pay packages, totaling over $20 million in recent years.
Compensation and Benefits
Benefits are just as important as pay when considering who to drive for, so be sure to ask about both. Companies with solid compensation packages can save you money on health insurance, help you earn for retirement, or even earn a degree while on the road. Professional drivers at Werner enjoy the following:
- Up to $15,000 tuition reimbursement is available for those who qualify
- Rider and pet-friendly
- Health, dental and vision insurance
- Life insurance and disability
- Industry-leading 401(k) retirement plan
- HSA and health programs
- Paid tolls and fuel cards
- Industry-leading miles
- Employee stock purchase plan
- Career Currency Program – earn college or graduate credit (family eligible)
Learn more about our available jobs at Werner here.
Endorsements and Certifications
For drivers seeking an additional pay bump, there are specialties and certifications that can further increase a truck driver’s pay.
Drivers may earn a few more cents per mile depending on the company with a HAZMAT endorsement. Some companies may even pay more even for non-HAZMAT loads.
Hauling bulk liquids comes with its own set of challenges. For example, a tank trailer that’s only partially loaded surges with the truck’s movement, making it difficult to start and stop, like at traffic lights. Drivers with tanker certification are very valuable, and it often leads to an increase in pay.
- DOUBLES AND TRIPLES
Few drivers are licensed to haul double or triple trailers, meaning drivers with this specialty license are especially in demand.To become certified in these areas, drivers must traditionally complete additional training at a trucking school and/or pass a written or skills test. Specific certification requirements may vary by state or employer
There are opportunities to make good money in transportation and trucking. Even new drivers can earn an excellent salary right out of the gate.
If you are a military veteran looking for your next career, some companies offer special incentives to help get you started. Read more about Werner’s opportunities for veterans on their Truck Driving Jobs for Veterans page.
With a year or two of experience, the opportunities continue to grow. Check out Werner’s Professional Truck Drivers web page to learn more about becoming a well-paid professional driver. If you are considering becoming a professional driver, find out how to get your CDL and start your career by visiting Werner’s page on how to Start Your Professional Driving Career.
*Driver compensation changes. To find the most up-to-date pay packages visit Werner’s Driver page.