Types of CDL Jobs
If you are interested in driving a tractor-trailer or other commercial motor vehicle (CMV), there are a variety of driving jobs that you can choose from.
The following categories are based on driving routes:
Over-the-Road (OTR) Trucking
OTR drivers transport freight via highways throughout the United States. These types of trucking jobs often involve a large amount of travel and can cover any combination of the 48 continental states. CDL drivers with OTR routes are often on the road for 3 to 4 weeks at a time. These national routes often pay more than local or regional truck driving jobs and give you the opportunity to see more of the country.
Some jobs only require travel within a state or a radius of a few states. Regional routes involve less variety and may pay less than OTR jobs. However, there is usually more home time as drivers are on the road for a shorter duration.
Local jobs keep you close to home and your family. Many local professional drivers are home daily or nightly. These typically pay less than regional and OTR jobs, however, and most local companies require drivers to have previous experience.
The following types of jobs are based on who you drive with/for:
The major benefit of solo driving is that you have more control over your space and are the only person driving the rig.
Many truck driving jobs involve two drivers. This can be with someone you already know or you can be paired with another driver. The main benefit is that you can cover more miles in a shorter amount of time and this often translates into more pay. It is also possible for couples to choose to drive together in order to spend more time with each other while also earning more money.
Most truck driving jobs involve working for a trucking company to haul freight. You may lease a tractor-trailer or buy one outright. As an owner-operator, you own the rig yourself and contract with companies to transport their cargo. These jobs are among the highest paying in the industry and although you will probably need more experience after graduation to become an owner-operator, we can help you find companies that offer paths to tractor-trailer ownership.
In addition to the above categories, truck driving jobs are also classified based on the type of freight you haul:
Many truckers who are just starting their career choose to drive a dry van. This is a type of tractor-trailer that hauls dry goods and other materials that are relatively easy to transport.
Refrigerated trucks, commonly known as reefers, are used to haul goods that must be kept at a specific temperature. This type of job may pay more than dry van hauling because it requires more responsibility.
Tank trucks (tankers) haul liquids and/or gases. However, some tankers transport dry bulk. If you are hauling fluids, you will need a tanker endorsement, which you can earn at Phoenix Truck Driving School.
Hauling hazardous materials (hazmat) can be dangerous if you do not follow safety regulations. As a result, it requires an additional CDL endorsement and often pays more than other types of freight.
A flatbed truck does not have a traditional trailer and as a result you will need to secure freight to the bed by tying it down. These jobs require more physical labor and can be demanding, but this additional work translates into more pay per mile.
In addition to these driving jobs, you may prefer a CDL job outside of the traditional trucking industry.
Other options for CDL holders include:
Highway Maintenance Technician
Individuals performing highway maintenance may need to drive large vehicles that require a CDL to operate.
Dispatchers are the go-between for trucking companies and their drivers and they communicate with and track fleets.
CDL School Instructor
Teaching at a truck driving school is a great option to use your CDL while staying in one place. It is common for instructors to have previous experience as a professional truck driver but it is not necessarily required at all CDL schools.
Find the Right Truck Driving Job for You
Our job placement assistance staff at Phoenix Truck Driving School are here to help students find a career that is suited to their needs, goals, and desires. When you attend our school, we will work with you to determine which of these jobs may be a good fit. We will then help you find companies where you are an ideal candidate.
Contact us today to learn more about our CDL school and start on the road to a high-paying truck driving job.
*Professional truck drivers earn a mean annual wage of $48,310. The top 10% of truck drivers make more than $72,730 per year according to the 2021 Bureau of Labor Statistics.