How Much Money Can You Make as a Truck Driver

Written by Peter Jones

Truck drivers are currently in high demand. You’ll have to study for and pass your CDL exam. This means a training program. But once you do get licensed, you’ll find there are many lucrative opportunities available to Class A CDL drivers.

Here are how much money you can make as a truck driver in different positions.

Standard Rate

If you don’t choose to specialize, you can expect to make an industry or company standard rate per mile.

Specialized Training/Orientation

When you’ve chosen to specialize in, say, Hazmat driving, you will undergo special training with the carrier that hired you. You’ll be paid a particular rate for the first few weeks of your training. These rates are more likely to be per hour, day, or even week.

Solo OTR

The largest percentage of the workforce. Starting drivers will usually make $40-45k in their first year, but this rate depends a bit on the carrier and available bonuses.

Team OTR

Pairs can traverse longer distances faster by switching on and off. This can be quite lucrative—with a pair splitting $100-150k per year.


More suited to the classroom than the open road? Done your drive time and ready to linger in one place? To experienced drivers, training positions can be a great career—making $60-80k per year, on average.


If you have sufficient experience working for a carrier, you might be ready to make the big transition into being your own boss and maybe even running your own fleet one day. There’s more stress, to be sure, but you will also earn more per mile by cutting out the middle man.


Every company is different, but potential extras include signing bonuses when you’re first hired, monthly mileage rewards, fuel-efficiency bonuses, safety pay when your driving record is exemplary, layover pay, bonuses for clean DOT inspections, and referrals of friends as new drivers to your company. 


While they may not be tangible as cold hard cash, benefits can be a lucrative addition to your compensation package. Anything from paid sick time and vacation to life insurance, medical insurance, dental insurance, job security, and 401k retirement plans.

The road you take will be your own, but these are a few things to keep in mind (and in your pocket!) on your journey to becoming a CDL truck driver.


About the author

Peter Jones