How Much Does a Truck Driver Make a Year?

By Emily Greenhill Pierce · February 26, 2024 · 7 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. Read more We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right. Read less

How Much Does a Truck Driver Make a Year?

The median salary for a truck driver is $49,920 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you love life on the road and to work independently, a career as a professional truck driver might suit you. What’s more, you may be able to earn significantly more than the average: Truck drivers in the United States can make between $40,000 and $95,000 a year, and possibly even more.

How much a truck driver makes depends on several factors, including what kind of truck you drive, where you work, and your driving experience. Read on to learn more about this. Also, before you decide to hit the gas, it’s wise to investigate the benefits and drawbacks of the trucker lifestyle, which are also reviewed below.

What Are Truck Drivers?

Truck drivers are certified professionals trained to operate large commercial vehicles. They typically deliver large quantities of goods from one location to another.

A truck driver can spend long hours alone on the road, meaning it can be a good fit for introverts and a good job for antisocial people. Most truckers are employed by a trucking company, but some truck drivers make enough money to buy their own rigs and work as independent contractors.

Truck drivers typically must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) through their state, as well as specialized training and skills in order to drive this kind of vehicle (you’ll read more about this below).

Some of the responsibilities of a truck driver include:

•   Driving and operating commercial vehicles

•   Pre-inspecting the truck

•   Navigating road maps and destination routes

•   Verifying pick-up loads for accuracy and delivering cargo as instructed

•   Loading and unloading the goods

•   Maintaining basic vehicle maintenance

•   Complying with company safe work practices and policies

•   Accurately filling out company paperwork for deliveries

•   Staying current on truck driving permits and qualifications

•   Being able to lift up to 80 pounds repeatedly throughout the day.

Being a truck driver can be a good way to make money as a retiree. In fact, many cargo companies hire retired couples, as they can share the load and get more done together. You and your partner could travel in retirement while making extra income.

💡 Quick Tip: We love a good spreadsheet, but not everyone feels the same. An online budget planner can give you the same insight into your budgeting and spending at a glance, without the extra effort.

Check your score with SoFi

Track your credit score for free. Sign up and get $10.*

How Much Do Starting Truck Drivers Make a Year?

Entry-level truck drivers can make a salary ranging between $32,348 to $52,837, an average of $41, 342 a year. Salaries can vary depending on several factors, including the driver’s experience, the kind of truck they drive, and the homebase location and the cost of living there.

Some commercial trucking companies may pay novice drivers by the hour vs. a yearly salary. Even starting out, a trucker can make more than the average minimum wage, bringing in around $17.73 an hour.

Recommended: Should the Minimum Wage Be Raised?

What is the Average Salary for a Truck Driver?

You’ve already learned that the median salary for a truck driver is just shy of $50,000 a year. That said, there can be the potential to make over $100,000 a year doing this job. Keep in mind, the range of what you can make depends heavily on what kind of truck you drive, your experience, and job title.

Here’s an example of the pay ranges in the truck driving industry:

•   Private fleet driver: $29,992

•   Mining industry driver: $40,655

•   Hazmat driver: $61,068

•   Tanker driver: $$62,166

•   Ice road driver (seasonal): $66,422

•   Regional truck driver: $75,877

•   Oversized truck driver: $82,262

•   Team truck driver: $119,464

•   Owner operator: $320,912

Recommended: Which Trade Jobs Make the Most Money

What is the Average Truck Driver Salary by State?

A big factor in how much money a truck driver makes a month or in a year depends where they live. As with most jobs, trucker salaries can fluctuate from state to state, and some areas may have higher-paying jobs than others.

Here are the averages for local truck drivers by state, in alphabetical order:


Local Truck Driver Annual Salary

Alabama $61,983
Alaska $65,071
Arizona $63,728
Arkansas $49,018
California $56,755
Colorado $62,188
Connecticut $59,005
Delaware $58,851
Florida $51,100
Georgia $57,742
Hawaii $63,210
Idaho $54,193
Illinois $57,444
Indiana $65,073
Iowa $59,276
Kansas $54,726
Kentucky $51,665
Louisiana $54,627
Maine $55,568
Maryland $57,034
Massachusetts $65,173
Michigan $51,518
Minnesota $62,568
Mississippi $58,142
Missouri $55,284
Montana $62,767
Nebraska $55,931
Nevada $61,525
New Hampshire $55,251
New Jersey $66,994
New Mexico $63,095
New York $62,095
North Carolina $53,615
North Dakota $64,470
Ohio $61,058
Oklahoma $54,165
Oregon $64,604
Pennsylvania $56,890
Rhode Island $59,839
South Carolina $54,745
South Dakota $60,931
Tennessee $58,297
Texas $53,737
Utah $57,956
Vermont $60,476
Virginia $58,158
Washington $65,467
West Virginia $43,937
Wisconsin $65,631
Wyoming $66,508

Source: ZipRecruiter

💡 Quick Tip: Income, expenses, and life circumstances can change. Consider reviewing your budget a few times a year and making any adjustments if needed.

Truck Driver Job Considerations for Pay and Benefits

In order to become a professional truck driver you have to be 18 to 21 years of age (the requirement differs from state to state) and have a clean driving record, including no DUIs. Most truck companies require their employees to have a high school diploma or a GED, and undergo routine drug tests.

The biggest requirement to becoming a truck driver is obtaining proper certification: your commercial driver’s license (CDL), as mentioned above. Truck driving certification can be done by:

•   Enrolling in a truck driver training program. While not required, these programs can prepare you for the CDL with classroom and hands-on training.

•   Passing a physical exam to determine you are fit enough to handle a commercial vehicle.

•   Obtain a commercial learner’s permit (CLP) via a written exam. This will allow you to drive a commercial vehicle under the supervision of a licensed CDL holder.

•   Getting your commercial driver’s license (CDL). This requires a written and driving exam.

•   Completing additional state requirements for driving vehicles such as tankers and those carrying hazardous materials.

Once you obtain your CDL and are hired by a company, many salaried truck driver jobs can come with the following benefits:

•   Health insurance

•   Paid time off

•   Retirement plans

•   Bonuses and incentives for reaching performance goals]

Pros and Cons of Being a Truck Driver

Being a professional truck driver can provide a solid income and a sense of freedom, but the job isn’t for everyone. Here are the biggest positives and negatives of being a truck driver:


•   Potential for a steady yearly income.

•   No college degree required.

•   A quick start; most people can earn their CDL in 3 to 4 weeks.

•   High job demand/job security.

•   Opportunities to buy your own rig and be your own boss.

•   Traveling, sometimes across scenic America.

•   Pet perks: Many companies allow truckers to bring their dogs along for the ride.

•   Good benefits/driving bonuses.

•   An independent work day vs. punching the clock.


•   Monotonous hours on the road.

•   Driving fatigue.

•   Unhealthy lifestyle due to long, sedentary stretches behind the wheel.

•   Poor diet. Many truckers exist on fast-food options while on the road.

•   Loneliness. You’ll spend days and possibly nights away from family, friends, and co-workers.

Of course, before embarking on any career, you’ll want to make sure your potential earnings will be enough to cover your expenses. Picking and sticking with one of the different budgeting methods can be helpful.

The Takeaway

How much a truck driver makes a year is on average $49,920, though salaries can vary considerably and soar higher if you own your own business. Being a truck driver can be a good fit for those who enjoy being out on the road and who are introverts, but the long hours and being away from home can be challenging.


Can you make 100k a year as a truck driver?

The average truck driver earns $49,920 per year, but you can make $100,000 a year as a truck driver, especially if you own your own truck.

Do people like being a truck driver?

People who don’t mind the long hours and solitude might enjoy being a truck driver. Many truck drivers love the flexibility, salary, and traveling across America.

Is it hard to get hired as a truck driver?

No, it is not that hard. There is currently a shortage of truck drivers in the United States. The demand for CDL drivers is high.

Photo credit: iStock/RichLegg

SoFi Relay offers users the ability to connect both SoFi accounts and external accounts using Plaid, Inc.’s service. When you use the service to connect an account, you authorize SoFi to obtain account information from any external accounts as set forth in SoFi’s Terms of Use. Based on your consent SoFi will also automatically provide some financial data received from the credit bureau for your visibility, without the need of you connecting additional accounts. SoFi assumes no responsibility for the timeliness, accuracy, deletion, non-delivery or failure to store any user data, loss of user data, communications, or personalization settings. You shall confirm the accuracy of Plaid data through sources independent of SoFi. The credit score is a VantageScore® based on TransUnion® (the “Processing Agent”) data.

*Terms and conditions apply. This offer is only available to new SoFi users without existing SoFi accounts. It is non-transferable. One offer per person. To receive the rewards points offer, you must successfully complete setting up Credit Score Monitoring. Rewards points may only be redeemed towards active SoFi accounts, such as your SoFi Checking or Savings account, subject to program terms that may be found here: SoFi Member Rewards Terms and Conditions. SoFi reserves the right to modify or discontinue this offer at any time without notice.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Non affiliation: SoFi isn’t affiliated with any of the companies highlighted in this article.


All your finances.
All in one app.

SoFi QR code, Download now, scan this with your phone’s camera

All your finances.
All in one app.

App Store rating

SoFi iOS App, Download on the App Store
SoFi Android App, Get it on Google Play

TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender