Expected Truck Driver Salary

Before starting training for a commercial driver’s license (CDL), most people ask the question, “how much do truck drivers make?” Pay varies by location and employer, but TDI’s graduates generally earn between $40,000 and $78,000 per year. There are also a multitude of factors to keep in mind when looking for certain salaries within the truck driving and transportation industry: your experience, if there is a continued shortage of truck drivers (making it more likely that you will receive high compensation), what type of freight/distance you’re seeking to work with, and more. 

Chances are, however, that you already knew that. It’s no secret that this industry is a great career choice for many types of people. The truck driving industry is attractive to so many people because it offers a high starting salary and competitive benefits–plus the opportunity to travel the continental United States. What a deal! If you’d like to take a deeper dive, continue reading to learn more about truck driver salaries and Truck Driver Institute.

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How Much Do Truck Drivers Make?

People decide to become truck drivers for many reasons, including the freedom and independence of being on the road. As a truck driver, you can choose your schedule (although there are mandatory breaks following labor laws) and even the freight and distance you drive. But many new drivers are also looking for job security and stability and a high-paying position that can help them support themselves and their families. 

Commercial truck drivers are usually paid by the mile, and TDI graduates usually make between $0.35 and $0.50/mile when starting out. That adds up when you’re driving 3,000 miles a week. Experienced truck drivers and those who work for private fleets can make even more.

And in the face of a nationwide trucker shortage, companies like Walmart are currently raising salaries for drivers and offering increased benefits to first-time drivers. The National Transportation Institute notes that this trend of higher pay is on track to continue.

With TDI, we match you with the employer that best suits your needs, including salary, benefits, and even location. As a new truck driver, you’ll still be making a reasonably high salary with all of the miles you’re driving. As you gain experience, your salary will increase as your mileage does! The truck driving shortage puts new drivers in high demand, making this the prime time for you to become a new driver and claim some of the highest increased benefits for first-time drivers.

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Factors That Determine a Truck Driver Salary

When you’re researching “how much do truck drivers make?” you’re bound to encounter many factors that determine salary. Like any job, truck driving has specific qualifications that need to be met for the job and salary requirements. 

A truck driver salary can vary greatly by region and other factors. Here are a few of the things that can affect how much you make as a truck driver.


Since most drivers are paid by the mile, you can earn more money by taking assignments that are further away from home. While shorter assignments might be more convenient, they generally pay less. However, this may benefit you more if you’d rather stay closer to home and spend more time at home, too. Shorter assignments do not mean fewer assignments, after all. As a driver, you can drive as many as you’d like to take on (as long as you adhere to required labor laws). 

Managing your time on the clock concerning distance is of the utmost importance when you’re on the job, and it can be challenging to learn how to maximize your earnings without proper instruction. Good time management is a skill that you can master here at TDI. We’ll also help you master making the most of your time on the road: we’ll provide you the means to make your career and time driving fulfilling and enjoyable. We’ll do more than match you with the employer who will pay the most. We’ll make sure you’re matched with a truck driving company that honors the same values as you, such as family. Did you know you can take family members and pets on the road with you?

Education and Specific Endorsements

If you have endorsements for a specialized job in addition to a CDL, you may be able to earn a higher salary as a truck driver. No matter the job, the more specifications and abilities you have, the more likely you will earn a higher salary because of your specialized knowledge and skills. 

Some jobs, such as hazardous waste transportation or another specialized field, pay more because fewer CDL holders have the proper training and endorsements to do them.

Truck driving is a promising career because there are countless different niches you can fill. Bus drivers, hazmat drivers, boat haulers, and more are all niche truck drivers besides the typical trans-continental semi-trucks you’re used to seeing on highways. So, if you’re wondering how much truck drivers make, you should consider what kind of job you want to do.

Location and Employer

Like other jobs, salaries for truck drivers vary based on what part of the country you live in and who your employer is. Some areas pay more because of their high-traffic areas, while others pay less because there is less need. A high-paying area, for example, would be in the Midwest, as this region is a hot spot for transportation in America.

There are some pretty significant differences in terms of pay and other criteria that matter to truck drivers. Which is the best state to be a truck driver?


When you’ve been in the industry long enough, employers will trust you to do a top-notch job, and you’ll be able to earn an even higher salary as a truck driver.

One of the best aspects of truck driving is that there is plenty of room to grow your salary. Because the starting salary is so high compared to other industries, having multiple years under your belt means you can earn quite a bit more than when you started.

At that, when you have the experience and confidence to leap, becoming an owner-operator is a significant financial move. Owner-operators can potentially make upwards of six figures.

Team Driving

For a higher salary, some truck drivers decide to team drive, partnering up to cover more miles per day and earn more money. Plus, team truck drivers have someone to keep them company on the road, which can make a long drive a lot easier.

One of the significant concerns that new truck drivers or those considering becoming a truck driver is the loneliness. Options like team driving work to solve that issue, and it’s an option that many companies offer.

A Good Truck Driver Salary Means Stability for Your Family

In addition to a great starting salary and opportunities for further growth, truck drivers also have a tremendous amount of job security.

Trucking is the most popular job in 29 states, and while other industries have suffered in recent years, jobs in truck driving have remained steady and secure. The demand for transporting freight is higher than ever.

Industry growth, coupled with an aging workforce, means that there will continue to be a need for more drivers. The American Trucking Associations estimate that in the next ten years, the industry will need to hire 1.1 million new drivers to keep up with demand and to replace retiring drivers.

Jon and Tammy Walker

Truck Driver Institute was the best choice for us. TDI allowed us to explore all carrier opportunities. The instructors were top-notch, caring, supportive, and patient. We would recommend TDI to anyone interested in a career in the trucking industry.

Truck Drivers Also Receive Great Benefits

Salary isn’t the only factor that provides you and your family with security. There’s nothing like the peace of mind knowing your health and the health of your loved ones is under control.

The nation’s leading carriers also provide a set of desirable benefits to their drivers. These usually include health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, retirement plans, and much more.

The benefits that you’re eligible to receive as a truck driver varies by carrier and profession you choose. That’s why it’s essential to do your research before you make any decisions.

A complete answer to the question “how much do truck drivers make?” is that they make an excellent starting salary and a set of benefits that give them peace of mind.

Employment After TDI

No matter your background and experience, TDI can help you get a job—even with a criminal record or without a diploma. Everyone deserves to have a livable salary and to perform meaningful work! We helped people with these problems earn great pay as truck drivers in the past year:

  • Driving Record
  • Criminal Record – Misdemeanors and Felony Convictions
  • DUI
  • Bad Credit
  • No Diploma

Regardless of your origin, TDI’s three-week program allows you to maximize your earning potential in a high-demand, job-secure industry. Our training will make you the best-prepared truck driver in the industry, and you’ll be ready to hit the ground running (or hit the highway wheels turning!) with all of the experience you’ve gained, partnerships you’ve created, and stability you have with your new TDI-matched employer.

If you have any questions about CDL training at TDI or want to sign up, give us a call and we can get you enrolled in classes at one of our 11 convenient locations across the country. You’ll be on the road in no time!

Partner With the Best. A Few of Our Carrier Partners:

We have 10 Locations to Choose From:


100 Industrial Park Drive
Forsyth, GA 31029


4939 U.S. 78
Oxford, AL 36203


20214 Highway 49
Saucier, MS 39574


3542 East 500 North
Whiteland, IN 46184


6201 Epps Mill Road
Christiana, TN 37037


3700 St Johns Pkwy
SanfordFL 32771


5750 E. Milton Road
Milton, FL 32583


3425 Lancaster Highway
Richburg, SC 29729


24645 S.R. 23
South Bend, IN 46680


341 East Franklin Street
Tupelo, MS 38802

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*For Post 9/11 GI Bill® (Ch 33) students and VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Ch 31) students, our tuition policy complies with 38 USC 3679(e) which means Post 9/11 and Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment students will not be charged or otherwise penalized due to a delay in VA tuition and fee payments.  For eligibility consideration, a Post 9/11 GI Bill® student must submit a VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE) and a Vocational Rehabilitation Student must provide a VAF 28-1905 form. Students must provide school with a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) prior to beginning class, but not later than the first day of training. A print screen of Statement of Benefits page will be accepted in lieu of COE and verification of benefits will be required.  Please see 38 USC 3679(e) for complete details. GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill