How to Become a Commerical Driver

Overview & Salaries

Recommended Degree:
The right degree for you depends on the industry and company you apply for. Almost all positions require you to have a commercial drivers license of some kind. A certificate may also be needed if you are looking to get into a competitive position.

Start your career path today by signing up for free information from one of our accredited truck driving schools below that offer programs to help get you started as a commercial driver.

How Much Does a Truck Driver Make? 

  • Heavy & Tractor Trailer Truck Drivers: $38,200 (median salary)
  • Delivery Truck Drivers : $27,530 (median salary)

Expected growth from 2012-2020:

  • Heavy & Tractor Trailer Truck Drivers: +192,600
  • Delivery Truck Drivers: +68,800

Specialization Options:
Heavy truck driving, delivery, industrial vehicles, and light truck vehicles.

(all information above provided by BLS pages for Heavy & Tractor Trailer Truck Drivers and Delivery Truck Drivers)

Discover the Best Places to Become a Commercial Driver

Commercial bus drivers will find the highest employment in the state of California, where workers are making an average salary of $40,810 yearly. The state of Texas offers the highest employment for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, where 157,260 of those in the workforce are making an annual mean wage of $40,570.

A truck driver’s office is on the road. Most hours of this job are in the transportation and delivery of goods and materials. While the working environment is the same for every commercial driver, several different industries employ truckers, the most common being:

  • General freight trucking
  • Specialized freight trucking
  • Merchant wholesalers
  • Regional drivers
  • Local drivers
  • Vocational drivers (such as dump trucks and garbage trucks)
  • Self-employed driver/owner

Employment and Salary Information for Commercial Drivers

Use our interactive map below to find out which areas of the United States are currently experiencing the greatest amount of growth and job availability for graduates looking for a career in Commercial Driving. The associated information has been gathered from the Bureau of Labor statistics, representing data collected in 2012.

Employment and Information Data for Commercial Driving

Why Become a Commercial Driver?

Becoming a commercial driver is an occupation like no other. Do you like operating large vehicles? Does a lot of time spent on the open road appeal to you? Are you able to plan a route and manage important timelines? If so, becoming a truck driver could be right for you.

Commercial drivers make a sustainable living by delivering goods and materials all across the United States. Because goods and materials will always have demand, trucking is a secure career that has room for advancement. While most truckers start off working for a large driving company, drivers who want to take more ownership of their career will often buy or lease their own trucks or start their own trucking business. These “owner-operators” spend time on business tasks in addition to driving.

Recommended Courses to Help You Become a Commercial Driver

  • Written knowledge test
  • Written skills test
  • Driving test

Degrees for Commercial Driving Careers

Commercial driving professionals, such as truckers, typically have completed at least a high school level education. While a college degree is not required for this profession, employees are required to have completed a Commercial Driver’s License program.

Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
A CDL is a professional driver’s license required to operate vehicles for commercial use (especially vehicles with a weight rating of 26,001 pounds or more). Obtaining a CDL requires passing a written test on highway safety and another test regarding the operational equipment of the vehicle. Students must answer at least 80% of the test answers correctly in order to pass. In addition to the written tests, students must pass a mandatory driving test.

Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Classes

There are three groups of Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) classes that require a CDL.

Class A: Vehicles with a trailer or two or more axles. Class A vehicles include any vehicle weighing greater than 26,000 pounds, with a gross vehicle weight of the towed vehicle being greater than 10,000 pounds.

Class B: Vehicles are defined as Class B if gross vehicle weight is more than 26,000 pounds and any vehicle or trailer being towed is less than 10,000 pounds.

Class C: Any vehicle designed specifically to transport 16 or more passengers, or any vehicle used to transport hazardous materials.