When you plug “What is the best state to be a truck driver?” into Google, a mountain of different answers appear. Because some of those results are based on outdated criteria, this article brings you a list of the best states to be a truck driver using the most current and updated data out there.
The states on this page are ranked according to the following criteria:
- Average truck driver salary in each state
- Number of truck driver jobs in each state
- The average cost of living in each state
- Number of truck drivers in each state
- Cost of commercial truck driver insurance in each state
- State regulations regarding truck driving
We hope this list helps you get a feel for the truck driving industry across the United States, and that it helps you make a decision as to where you’d like to work after you get your CDL.
What Is the Best State to Be a Truck Driver?
We’ve compiled a list of the top five states in six categories relevant to the truck driving industry. Using the information below, you can get an idea of the best state to be a truck driver.
So, what is the best state to be a truck driver? It’s whichever state matches your preferences!
Although that seems anticlimactic, the truth is that the answer to this question is entirely subjective. The best state to be a truck driver depends on your career priorities, goals, and desires. This article gives you a general overview of which states top the lists on paper.
The salary data and truck driver number data in this article are from a 2020 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Highest Average Salary
The top 5 best states to be a truck driver according to mean annual salary are:
- Alaska – $59.7K
- District of Columbia – $55.4K
- New York – $55.3K
- Wyoming – $55.0K
- North Dakota – $54.6K
It’s no secret that truck drivers earn a competitive salary. No matter which state you’re in, the starting salary for truck drivers’ starting salary is higher than in many other industries. On top of that, your salary scales to your years of experience, meaning the longer you’re in the industry the more you’ll make. The best part—there’s no college degree or prior experience required! All you need to do is attend a truck driving school to get your CDL. Most truck drivers can earn between $40,000 and $78,000 per year.
Most Truck Driving Job Openings
According to Zippia, the top 5 best states to be a truck driver following the number of truck driving jobs are:
- California – 22.7K jobs
- Illinois – 16.5K jobs
- Ohio – 15.1K jobs
- Pennsylvania – 14.4K jobs
- Texas – 12.7K jobs
Because there’s a national shortage for truck drivers, there are many open positions around the country. The above states are only a snapshot of the vacuum in the market. The fact of the matter is that billions of tons of freight need to be moved, and there are few drivers to move it. The result is a massive demand for new drivers. Looking at the states with the most truck driving jobs indicates where a lot of that demand and opportunity is in the country.
Lowest Cost of Living
The results below are based on the cost of living index, which provides a percentage difference between locations. The lower the number, the lower the cost of living. According to World Population View, the top 5 best states to be a truck driver following the cost of living are:
- Mississippi – 84.8
- Oklahoma – 86.8
- Arkansas – 87.8
- Kansas – 87.9
- Missouri – 88.9
The cost of living is a major deciding factor when you’re considering any job. Although truck drivers have great salaries and may not need worry about the cost of the state they claim residence in, it’s an excellent metric to use if you want to understand a state’s economy. The states with the lower cost of living indexes have more affordable housing, groceries, entertainment, taxes, and more.
Where Truck Drivers Live
According to the previously mentioned BLS data, the top 5 best states to be a truck driver following the number of truck drivers that live there are:
- Texas – 195.9K truck drivers
- California – 143.2K truck drivers
- Florida – 86.8K
- Pennsylvania – 81.0K truck drivers
- Ohio – 73.2K truck drivers
You can also take a look at the states where the most truck drivers choose to live. Much like the amount of truck driving jobs in each state, truck drivers themselves reside where the truck driving market is most favorable.
Most Agreeable State Truck Driving Regulations
3,287 truck driving professionals were asked questions about general costs and regulations in each state. The results are as follows.
The top 5 best states to be a truck driver according to simple state regulations are:
Writing in detail about each state’s truck driving regulations would result in a long-winded and boring article. However, thanks to a survey conducted by Merchant Cash USA, we have a picture of which states have the most favored regulations.
According to data from Progressive, the top 5 best states to be a truck driver according to the cost of commercial truck driver insurance are:
- Mississippi – $4.6K
- Wyoming – $7.1K
- Nebraska – $8.6K
- Iowa – $8.8K
- Idaho – $9K
Being an owner-operator involves additional responsibilities and coasts. One of the most costly, and most necessary, expenses are commercial truck driver insurance for your vehicle. The rates fluctuate greatly based on what type of coverage you choose, which company you select, and where you live. Choose the best and most comprehensive coverage you can afford.
Get Your CDL With TDI
With a national truck driver shortage, the demand for skilled, reliable drivers is high. With Truck Driver Institute, you will be prepared to handle any job that your future career as a truck driver may present to you. Our experienced instructors will provide you with training in the classroom and behind the wheel so that you are prepared for your next career journey. Since 1973, TDI has been training individuals to become the next truck drivers of America. As the largest Class A CDL school East of the Rockies, we have the expertise and experience in order to prepare you to receive your commercial driver’s license.
While there are always jobs available to truck drivers across the country, TDI is partnered with over 20 carriers in order to place you in a job that suits your needs and lifestyle. The trusted carriers we are partnered with know that TDI produces the best of the best, and are always interested in recruiting our graduates.
In addition to the high starting salary that truck drivers are able to make, their pay can increase as they become more experienced in their role. However, in order to get there, an aspiring truck driver must go through CDL school. While most schools will ask for thousands of dollars upfront, TDI allows individuals to begin their schooling with as little as $225 out of pocket. Our Student Services department is here to work with you to best meet your financial needs. There are also many grants and scholarships available to students looking to go through CDL school. Additionally, once you are hired, many employers offer tuition assistance and will invest in your education. While carriers will only offer this to graduates from certain CDL schools, TDI has become one of the most trusted CDL schools among employers. Our partners understand that having properly trained, dependable drivers is something to invest in.
One of the great benefits of truck driving is that with the proper training and hard work, almost anyone can do it. With 11 campuses, TDI is prepared to aid you in taking the next step in your career. If you are looking for an unconventional job that pays well and offers great benefits with new experiences, then truck driving is the right choice for you. Truck driving allows individuals to experience new places, as well as have a flexible schedule that works for your lifestyle.
As you can see, each state has its pros and cons. It’s all about your priorities: salary, cost of living, easy regulations, job density, or other criteria that aren’t on our list. The answer to, “What is the best state to be a truck driver?” is up to you and your research.
The bottom line is, no matter which state you live and work in, the first step is always to get your CDL. There are many truck driving jobs available all across the country, and new drivers enjoy high starting salaries and incredible benefits.
At TDI, you can get your CDL in just two weeks, and our job placement program has an over 80% success rate. Are you ready to learn more about our CDL A course and how we can help you find a new career no matter your state? Join TDI and take the next step in your professional career and have an experience unlike any other job.
Contact us today to begin your journey!
Get your Class A CDL in our friendly, supportive CDL training program. TRAIN with experienced instructors – multiple good-paying, secure job choices with benefits available for eligible graduates. EARN $700 – $1000+ / week to start as a truck driver. Get started today by filling out the form below. We look forward to hearing from you!