One of the biggest benefits of working as a truck driver is the wide variety of CDL jobs you’re able to choose from. By earning your CDL, you’re qualified to explore some really exciting career paths, from heavy equipment hauling to transit and intercity bus driving if you prefer to stay local.
If trucking driving is something you’re interested in exploring, there has never been a better time to enter the industry. According to ATA American Trucking Trends, as of 2015 there was a shortage of almost 48,000 truck drivers across the U.S. This number was double the number of commercial drivers needed in 2005.
In addition to a slew of CDL driver jobs, a class A license can also open the door for you to land non-driving jobs, too. Specific non-driving careers may include working as a dispatcher or as a truck driving school instructor. Ultimately, earning your CDL gives you the freedom to choose which job is the best fit for your needs and your lifestyle.
You may be shocked at some of the exciting career paths a CDL allows you to explore. Below, we’ve outlined five surprising class A CDL jobs, along with their estimated pay range.
Discover New and Exciting CDL Jobs This Year
In order to operate a commercial vehicle, a Class A CDL is required. This license allows drivers to operate vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 26,000 pounds (or if the GVWR of the towed vehicle is in excess of 10,000 pounds). Class A CDL jobs may include bus driving, transporting hazardous materials and many others.
Although most people assume CDL jobs only entail long-haul trucking, this is simply not the case. Let’s dive into some of the other exciting jobs that someone with their commercial truck driving license can pursue.
Transit and Intercity Bus Drivers
If you’re looking for CDL jobs that allow you to utilize your class A license and let you to stay closer to home, becoming a transit and intercity bus driver is a fantastic option. The main purpose of these jobs is to provide public transportation for people throughout a city or community. They often drive the same daily bus routes, picking up and dropping people off throughout the day.
Specific responsibilities may include collecting payment from passengers, offering general advice on directions, noting any suspicious behavior or activity throughout the day, and possibly loading luggage on and off of the bus for people who need assistance. Drivers must have a clean driving history and generally need at least a GED.
If you’re looking for a role that allows you to interact with the public, and doesn’t require you to work overnight or be away from home for long periods of time, this is an excellent job to consider.
- Estimated Annual Salary: Approximately $30,000 – $40,000, depending on your city and state as well as past employment experience, according to Payscale.com.
- Hiring Outlook: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 6% employment growth through 2024 with roughly 37,500 new jobs created during this timeframe.
Heavy Equipment Hauling
Are you looking for more traditional, long-haul CDL jobs? Does the idea of hauling industrial equipment, tractors, bulldozers, cranes, or excavators excite you? Are you willing and ready to drive across the country for days at a time? If so, CDL driver jobs such as heavy equipment hauling may be more your style.
Heavy equipment hauling means you’re driving a vehicle that exceeds 26,000 pounds. Depending on the company you work for, as well as each specific job, how far you haul the equipment will vary. You may drive a flatbed, a freight hauler or even a tanker, depending on your specific job.
Additional requirements of these types of CDL jobs is ensuring your truck is operating properly and remains well-maintained throughout your trip.
- Estimated Annual Salary: Approximately $38,000 – $45,000, depending on your city and state as well as past employment experience.
- Hiring Outlook: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 5% employment growth through 2024 with approximately 98,800 new jobs created during this timeframe.
Delivery Truck Driver
If you’re looking to make a meaningful contribution to the U.S. business economy, becoming a delivery truck driver is a great way to do just that. Consider how packages and goods are transported throughout the country, from suppliers to consumers; a lot of times its via delivery truck drivers.
Every time someone makes a purchase from Amazon and Walmart or even a small mom and pop store, oftentimes they rely on truck drivers to transport their merchandise for them.
Deliver truck drivers haul everything from food, furniture, livestock and more. Their job is to ensure the products get from the supplier to the customers safely, undamaged and on time. Larger delivery truck companies include the USPS, UPS and FedEx among others.
- Estimated Annual Salary: According to Payscale.com, the estimated salary range for these CDL jobs is approximately $30,000 – $35,000. This will depend on your location as well as past job experience.
- Hiring Outlook: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 4% employment growth through 2024 with approximately 48,100 new jobs created during this timeframe.
Not all CDL jobs require you to drive a truck! If you’ve driven a truck for years and are looking for a different, rewarding career path, or you simply aren’t interested in CDL driver jobs, you still have plenty of career options with your commercial drivers’ license. Exploring dispatcher jobs lets you use your CDL without taking a traditional truck driving job.
In a nutshell, a dispatcher is the person that communicates with a truck driver via radio communication. Sometimes they simply rely important travel information to the driver, and other times they’re responsible for managing several drivers.
he dispatcher is often responsible for tracking vehicles and equipment as it travels and being the middle man between the truck driver and the carrier. They’re also responsible for helping to solve certain issues the driver may experience during their travels, when necessary.
- Estimated Annual Salary: The estimated salary range for these CDL jobs is between $40,000 – $45,000, depending on your location and past job experience, according to Monster.com.
- Hiring Outlook: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there are approximately 40,000 dispatchers currently in the U.S. which rose 1.5% between May 2016- May 2017.
Truck Driving School Instructors
As we’ve mentioned above, not all CDL jobs require you to drive long hours… or to drive at all! If you’re seeking a nondriving career, consider becoming a truck driving school teacher. Truck driving schools across the country rely on retired truck drivers to teach the next generation of CDL drivers.
In certain states, truck driving institute instructors must have a required minimum of years of driving experience to teach students. This requirement varies by state, so be sure to contact your local DMV before you apply for these types of CDL jobs. If you meet the driving requirement, and enjoy teaching and interacting with others, this could be a great fit for you.
Ultimately, instructors are responsible for coaching new students how to properly and safely drive their trucks.
- Estimated Annual Salary: Truck driving school instructors can earn anywhere between $22,000 – $51,000 depending on location and past experience, according to Monster.com.
- Hiring Outlook: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not currently report on the hiring outlook for this job role. Consider contacting a driving school and asking for the company for these statistics.
Earn Your CDL Today and Begin Exploring New Career Paths
If you’re ready to explore a new, rewarding career path utilizing your CDL, there are plenty of opportunities for you to consider. The first step to take is to find a high-quality, supportive truck driving school to earn your commercial drivers’ license. TDI offers people the liberty to choose which kind of CDL jobs they would like and works with them to find the right company after graduation.
Truck Driver Institute offers a comprehensive 3-week program that helps prepares students to acquire their Class A CDL at the end of training. The TDI team has trained tens of thousands of students over 46 years in multiple locations. They also work with 20+ carriers to help their students get hired after graduating. Get started today.