Start an $80,000 Career in Trucking

headlights of a huge truck

One of the easiest ways to start earning big money is with a career in trucking. You don’t need to spend 4 -6 years in college, and you can earn $50,000 or more in your first year.

You Need More than Just Driving Skills

While excellent driving skills are certainly a plus, you’ll also need a commercial driver’s license (CDL). A CDL training program usually takes 2 months or less, and trucking companies might require a few additional weeks of in-house training once they hire you. You’ll need to be 21 to get a Class A CDL. Otherwise, you’re stuck with intrastate jobs. Trucking companies are supporting legislation that will lower the required age to 18, but it could take years for it to be passed into law. If you’re 18 and want to start immediately, you can get a CDL and find work hauling livestock or driving dump trucks and hoppers. While these jobs can be seasonal, they still pay wages of around $20-30 an hour and give you a ton of experience. Once you’re 21, you can get a Class A CDL and start driving interstate. A CDL program will cost around $3,000-$7,000, but most trucking companies will have sponsorship programs in individual trade schools. Even if you don’t avail of the scholarship, most trucking companies offer a signing bonus of around $5,000-$6,000.

trucks along the freeway

But What About Automation?

Don’t believe the doomsayer; self-driving trucks will not take away your job. Technology has not reached a level that will allow crewless vehicles to drive on the road. There are too many variables on the road, and no trucking company will allow an unmanned truck to operate on its own — the same way airline companies don’t allow pilot-less planes even with an autopilot. Automation on vehicles will probably work similar to a commercial airplane’s autopilot, allowing the truck driver to turn it on during specific stretches of the road that are considered safe. Trucking companies agree that automation will increase the need for more drivers and make their work comfortable and safe.

Getting to $80,000 or More

Jumping from $50,000 to $80,000 might seem impossible, but it could just take 2-3 years with due diligence. A clean driving record, coupled with excellent performance, will quickly drive your wages higher. Trucking companies are always eager to keep new drivers, especially since most drivers are reaching retirement age. This makes younger drivers extremely valuable. Unless a company offers you perfect conditions, opt for short-term contracts so you’ll have more room to negotiate. Consult staffing companies to get the best deals and don’t hesitate to switch companies if it means higher wages and better conditions. Once you get enough experience, you can negotiate for payments of $100,000 or more.

The trucking industry will face a massive shortage in 5-10 years. Every trucking company is desperate for new drivers, driving wages up and giving you more control over your future. Eight weeks and $7,000 for an $80,000 career. What better deal can you get?