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Is truck driving a good career in 2022?

10 Highest Paying Trucking Salaries of 2023

Truck driver compensation is highly variable due to multiple factors. More experience, difficult loads, maintaining a clean driving record, a willingness to endure risk, and travel to remote locations are some traits of a driver who earns a higher than average salary.

For example, a hazmat driver transporting dangerous, toxic materials must operate their commercial vehicle with greater care and alertness. A hazardous materials accident, even a minor one, could lead to the evacuation of entire towns. A material leak or worse, an explosion could occur and possibly cause a mass casualty incident or environmental damage.

When you compare the risks of transporting hazardous materials with the average dry van load of toilet paper, it’s easy to see why a hazmat driver must be more attentive to safety, and why they receive a higher-than-average compensation. However, if transporting hazardous materials isn’t appealing to you, you have other options besides transporting hazardous materials to increase your pay.

How Much Is a Truck Driver’s Salary?

Salary: $52,518 to $126,882

Truck driver salaries vary widely depending on factors such as region, type of equipment, and experience level. According to recent data, the latest truck driver salary ranges from $52,518 to $126,882 annually. The earning potential for truck drivers depends on their employer, their driving record and the types of loads they move. Drivers who are willing to train for extra endorsements or work in remote areas can increase their earning potential even further.

Truck drivers can get paid in a variety of ways, depending on their operating mode and route type. Solo drivers typically work alone and must take time to stop and sleep between shifts to comply with Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. In a team driving situation, two drivers share the driving responsibilities and make runs together, allowing for more continuous operation of the truck. While team driving can result in longer hours on the road, it can also mean faster delivery times and higher pay.

Truck drivers can also get paid based on their route type. OTR (Over the Road) drivers typically spend weeks on the road, traveling long distances and making deliveries across the country. While OTR driving can be demanding, it often commands the highest salary and offers the opportunity to see new places. Regional drivers stay within a specific geographic area, which generally means they can come home on the weekends. Regional driving can offer a balance between long-haul and local driving, with competitive pay and more time at home. Local drivers stay within their state or region and can generally come home each night, but are typically paid the least due to the limited time spent on the road.

10 Highest Paying Trucking Jobs

1. Owner-Operators

Salary: $319,910

a long line of semi trucks

Indeed lists the salary as $319,910, but this varies greatly and does not take into account all the factors. For example, an owner-operator cannot be classified as a job for the purposes of a site like Indeed, and rightly so. These drivers are much, much more than your average salaried employee. They are business owners operating a trucking company, even if they have just one truck.

An owner-operator’s responsibilities cover the full range of a trucking company’s operations., From managing expenses, to finding loads, to paying employees insurance, benefits, and wages. The skies are the limit for owner-operators, and their take-home pay ultimately depends on the amount of work they are willing (or able) to take on.

But an owner-operator doesn’t have to go it alone. Owner-Operators with 2.5 years or more experience are eligible to work with CloudTrucks. We give owner-operators complete freedom to run their business and the power of the back-end support of a primary carrier by giving them access to hundreds of curated loads.

For owner-operators who want to drive under our authority, we offer our Virtual Carrier program. Once a driver is approved, and they download the app, they are ready to accept the loads they like, and start earning.. Drivers who have signed on with CloudTrucks average a net income of $20,000 per month and get paid in minutes instead of months with our CT Cash card. Ready to learn more? Head on to our Getting Started.

2. Ice Road Drivers

Salary: $66,917 per year

iced road truck on the highway

Ice road driving became a famous trucking industry niche, when the History Channel launched the show: Ice Road Truckers. As depicted in the TV show, these drivers operate in the wilderness areas deep in the northern latitudes of Canada. They take on immense risk as they traverse challenging terrain and dangerous road conditions to deliver cargo to remote towns and mining operations. Optimal conditions for these loads exist for a few short months out of the year. These drivers earn a full year’s salary in that short period, giving them time to pursue other opportunities during the off-season or enjoy their time off for better work-life balance as a trucker.

To become an ice road trucker, you need several years of experience and a history of safe operation with a broad range of equipment. It’s considered one of the most challenging ways to drive a truck but also one of the most lucrative.

3. Oversized Load

Salary: $71,091 per year

oversized load truck

Oversized loads, also known as over-dimension loads, exceed the standard legal dimensions set by federal regulations. As a result, oversized haulers must display a higher than average skill in maneuvering loads such as construction equipment, wind turbines, mobile homes, and industrial machinery. These drivers must follow additional regulations that specify the routes and times of day these loads are legally allowed to move. As a result, an escort crew is often required, and some companies require the driver to hire their escort team.

Because these large items are usually quite expensive, additional insurance and other precautions are required. A higher compensation for the driver behind the wheel of these behemoth loads comes with the territory.

4. Specialty Vehicle Haulers

Salary: $78,490

Specialty vehicle haulers transport high-value or specialty vehicles such as race cars, luxury automobiles, collectibles, and other expensive items–usually in an enclosed trailer. They must exercise extreme caution to avoid damaging these high-value loads. Even when parked, these drivers must take additional precautions to ensure another driver’s negligence doesn’t damage the load and follow special procedures to protect against theft.

5. Team Drivers

Salary: $69,523

two men in front of a semi truck

‍Team drivers are the pinnacle of high-speed, long-range load delivery. Typically a team consists of two drivers in the same truck, driving in shifts to keep their load moving up to twenty-two hours a day. To give you an idea of how big a difference this makes, consider that it typically takes a solo driver six days to drive from coast to coast. A team can make the same trip in as little as three days. Companies that require such high-speed delivery pay more for the service, and the team of drivers, in turn, earns a much higher compensation.

6. Private Fleet

Salary: $95,999 — $110,000 per year

Some major retailers and manufacturers maintain their fleet of drivers to transport goods from their distribution centers or factories to their stores or customers. One of the most well-known private fleets in America is Walmart. Their drivers enjoy higher than average pay, shorter work weeks, and best-in-industry benefit packages. The caveat to private fleets is their high standards for hiring drivers. Some private fleets require many years of experience and clean driving records. However, they also enjoy extremely low turnover compared to the rest of the trucking industry.

7. Mining Industry Drivers

Salary: $58,489

These drivers operate massive dump trucks in mining and quarry operations. They must maintain a high level of productivity while on the clock while at the same time operating safely in an area where smaller commercial vehicles and company equipment are present. Outside the mining industry, you can find these trucks at specific industrial and port locations that handle raw materials and goods used at the base of our nation’s industrial chain.

8. Liquids / Tanker

Salary: $88,703

Because of the physics involved with liquids in large containers, something as simple as turning sharply or slamming on the brakes too hard can cause an instant disaster. A mistake with hazmat liquid loads such as gasoline or liquid propane can result in giant fireballs and extreme heat—often referred to as a «Viking Funeral» by the drivers. Acids and deadly fumes are also a part of the risk package for liquids/tanker drivers, and other drivers on the road often give them a wide berth. The compensation for liquids/tanker drivers reflects the hazardous loads they transport and the high level of skill they demonstrate in moving these materials safely.

9. Hazmat Drivers

Salary: $66,916

As mentioned earlier, hazmat drivers have to be on high alert. Their loads consist of dangerous and highly toxic materials. Any accident has a high potential to spark a disaster leading to loss of life, lengthy and expensive clean-up, and lost profits for the driver and company. Hazmat drivers must also pass a TSA (Transportation Security Administration) background investigation, maintain additional endorsements, and follow additional state and federal regulations.

Because of the need for specialized equipment and the additional risks and requirements associated with transporting hazardous materials, hazmat drivers typically earn a substantially higher salary than drivers operating a standard dry van, reefer, or flatbed unit.

10. Regional Truck Driver

Salary: $69,982 — $92,005

According to the most recent research from ZipRecruiter, the average annual wage for a regional truck driver in the United States is around $69,110. Nevertheless, this varies considerably based on expertise, region, and trucking firm type criteria.

Regional truck drivers often work in a specific geographic area, such as a few states or a portion of the country. This can provide long-distance and local driving, more time at home, and reasonable compensation. In addition, specific regional driving jobs may include additional perks such as signing bonuses or health insurance.

While the average annual income for a regional truck driver is around $69,110, experienced drivers with a safe driving record and specific talents can make significantly more. According to the same research from ZipRecruiter, the highest-paid regional truck drivers can make up to $92,005 per year.

Regional truck drivers may be eligible for additional benefits such as paid time off, retirement plans, and health insurance in addition to paying. In addition, several trucking firms provide incentives and bonuses to drivers who reach performance goals or work in high-demand locations, which can enhance earning potential even more.


Drivers who want to earn more in the trucking industry go above and beyond the norm to acquire in-demand skills and endorsements that open new and lucrative doors for their careers. Even if you’ve recently acquired your CDL, these high-paying jobs will be within your reach once you’ve put in the time and maintained a safe, clean driving record.

How much do truck drivers make?

Are you curious about the average income that truck drivers make? Well, a career in trucking will prove to be worthwhile if you’re looking for a new career path or financial stability. Not many other jobs will allow you to reach financial stability in your life as quickly as truck driver earnings can. Also, a career in trucking is more accessible to all people because it requires CDL training from a truck driving school, instead of a college diploma. Trucking companies will even pay you training pay and offer sign-on bonuses as a way to encourage new drivers to join the industry.

How many jobs will give you all of this without paying any upfront tuition costs?

National average truck driver salary

So, how much does a truck driver earn? Four years ago, according to the BLS 2018 report (Bureau of Labor Statistics May), truck driver earnings were $43,000 a year or $825 per week. In 2019, those numbers moved to an average salary of $57,000, with a low of $37k and a top of $77k. Now, in 2022, the average truck driver’s salary is $71,000, meaning a truck driver makes $1,365 per week on average. So from 2018 — 2022, truck driver earnings jumped 65% in 4 years! The average salary is rapidly going up and is expected to keep going up.

Factors that impact truck driver pay

An average truck driver’s salary in the trucking industry can range a lot — as much as 35%! You’ve seen from the example above how much difference in pay can be between that of the highest-compensated and the least-paid truck driver. Many factors go into deciding how much a truck driver can make and bring home to the family.

Factors inside the driver’s control

Some factors are in the driver’s control such as education, experience, and job types such as regional drivers, team drivers, dedicated drivers, and high-risk professions such as ice road trucking. Learning about which job types pay better and working towards these will increase a truck driver’s pay. For example, team drivers are two drivers in the same truck working together by taking turns behind the wheel instead of a dedicated driver that is assigned a specific route and truck.


Your location can have a big impact on your salary as a driver. New York, Alaska, and Mississippi are all known for offering higher salaries to truckers than other nearby states. But it’s important to keep in mind that the cost of living in those locations can also be higher. The best locations offer both higher salaries and a low cost of living.


Just like any other job, experience plays a major factor in determining salary. As truckers gain more years on the road, they develop greater expertise in navigating routes, managing cargo, and handling unexpected challenges. This not only makes them more valuable to employers but also allows them to command higher salaries.


A truck driver with specialized licenses and certifications earns more than those who only have a standard commercial license. A truck driver can earn different licenses and certifications which allow the truck driver to earn more, like hazmat and tanker certification or oversized loads. Truckers with these licenses and certifications can command significantly higher truck driver salaries. For example, reefer truck drivers haul shipments that must remain at a specific internal temperature. They are paid more because of their specialized knowledge and when the shipment requires extra attention.


Distance traveled is a key factor in determining how much truckers can make. Long-haul loads usually pay more than short-haul loads. This is because long-haul loads are considered generally less desirable due to requiring more sacrifice and time away from home compared to short hauls.

Factors outside the driver’s control

Other factors are not as controllable by the driver such as location, starting pay, the amount of work available, and adverse weather conditions which would affect a driver’s ability to work depending upon the type of work. To make as much money as possible as a truck driver, the goal is to minimize the factors that are outside of your control and work towards improving the factors that are inside of your control, such as miles driven, acquiring certifications, and passing your inspections.

Different ways that truck drivers can be paid

Truck driver salaries are usually paid by the mile, per hour, per day, or per trip. Truck drivers that get paid per mile can choose to make more by driving more. Usually, work that is done locally will pay by the hour. Companies will give their drivers a minimum pay for the day so that there is always consistency in their earnings. Drivers that are compensated per trip will usually have a set percentage of the trip’s revenue that is agreed upon with the company they are driving for.

Truckers that perform specialized work such as flatbeds, tankers, and hazmat will be some of the highest-paid truck drivers because of the need to haul either dangerous material which requires a hazmat endorsement or commodities that require extra attention. At MigWay, we stick to simple dry van shipments to reduce errors during transit and to allow for easier entry for new truck drivers to start working with us. Dry van loads allow for easy on-and-off loading and unloading, minimal time spent at shippers and receivers, and allows truck drivers to keep their attention on what’s in front of them — the road and the drive to get to the final delivery.

How much does a truck driver make

How much does a truck driver make at Migway?

How much money can you make with a CDL at MigWay in 2022?

MigWay works with OTR drivers with a commercial driver’s license (CDL), at least 2 years of experience, and a clean driving record. We start drivers off at .65 cents per mile (CPM) and give drivers an opportunity to consistently earn .70 cents per mile that they drive through a performance bonus. At .70 CPM, MigWay’s company drivers are top performers which can be found in the highest-paid tier in the example we mentioned above. Though MigWay is based in North Carolina, our drivers live all over the states.

How much do truck drivers make a week at Migway?

A truck driver that plans to run 2,000 miles per week at .65 cents per mile will make around $67K. Our performance bonus allows experienced truck drivers to make an extra $7K. For our guys and gals that like to keep the wheels turning, let’s say 3,000 miles a week at .70 cents per mile (with the performance bonus) which is $2,100 a week or $109k a year. To put this into perspective, driver-trainers on average are estimated to make around $80K, and working for Walmart as a delivery driver will earn you about the same as a driver-trainer would.

Our mission statement is to build a great company and to enrich the lives of our employees. Not just office and shop staff — but drivers! We pay them ultra-competitive rates towards their average OTR salary to show them that we care about our drivers and understand their sacrifices and commitment. So if you enjoy truck driving and the nature of the trucking lifestyle, reach out to recruiting to learn how working with MigWay could be the job opportunity that can help you get what you want out of life. Come see for yourself how our company drivers earn the annual salary of owner-operators, or independent contractors, that have their own equipment without all the headaches and hassles of repairs and bookkeeping.

Other pay incentives

Curious about how you can make good money as a truck driver? Truck driver salaries and bonuses earned on top of the truck driver salary, like referral bonuses, are continually increasing over the past few years to give truck drivers the option to choose how much they make. Companies are always creating ways to encourage people to start truck driving by offering help to earn money and find jobs. For example, due to the driver shortage companies like Werner Enterprises announced a driver pay package of over $20 million in 2021. Listed below you will find a few accessorials pays that trucking companies offer.

Referral Bonus

To give truckers more opportunities to earn more, trucking companies offer them more ways to earn than solely driving. Programs such as bonuses paid for referring new hires to work for the company are popular due to the current truck driver shortage in the trucking industry. When a driver refers their friends and family, MigWay pays a bonus of $2,000 over the first 6 months that a referred driver works.

Safety Bonus

Safety is paramount and a top priority for everyone in the industry — the driver, the dispatcher, and the CEO. Companies will offer safety bonuses that allow truckers to receive a bonus towards their pay if the driver can show that they are taking care of their equipment and following all rules and regulations set. On top of a safety bonus, we also pay our drivers for passing inspections — up to $300 per instance! This is to ensure that our drivers have no reason to be anxious about the status of their equipment and log books during an inspection.

Performance Bonus

The performance bonus gives truckers an extra incentive to reach a goal set with the company on a certain amount of miles to hit that week or a monthly mileage bonus. Not only is this good for the truck driver’s pay but it also gives drivers a goal to strive for and a feeling of accomplishment when they meet that goal.

Fuel Efficiency Bonus

Many companies offer bonuses based on how much fuel a driver uses per mile. By implementing simple practices, truck drivers can not only earn more money but also benefit their company and the environment. Simple practices such as limiting idling time, avoiding sudden acceleration and braking, and keeping their tires properly inflated.

Detention Pay

Since truck drivers have to wait at shippers and receivers for their cargo to be loaded and unloaded, this eats into the precious time they can be driving and earning. While this is an inevitable part of the job, it’s only fair that truckers receive compensation for this waiting time. Though it isn’t an extra way to make money, it does help to alleviate the cost of the driver’s downtime while waiting to be loaded and unloaded.

Layover Pay

When unexpected events occur, layover pay helps to mitigate any financial strain for the driver. This pay kicks in whenever the driver is unable to drive for reasons beyond their control, such as a truck breakdown or an issue with their shipment. While it may not make up for the inconvenience of being stuck while out on the road, it offers drivers some peace of mind knowing that they will be paid for the day of work.

volvo truck

Here at MigWay

The beauty of the truck driver position is that a truck driver’s career path is not restricted to making money on the road indefinitely. Having a love for trucks or enjoying the nature of the work can help truck drivers earn more money by becoming driver-trainers and educating new drivers later on in their careers. A truck driver can choose to become an owner-operator or independent contractor, choosing which routes, loads, and hours you drive can set you on the path of buying your own truck, doing business for yourself instead of a single company, and being one of the highest-paid truck drivers — an owner-operator! There are many mega-carriers in trucking that started their operations with one truck, just like MigWay out of North Carolina!

If you asked us, we would tell you that we believe that driving a truck as a career path for your future is an incredibly wise decision. With pay depending on your performance, different directions for growth, rising demand for good drivers, and little barrier for entry, the trucking industry can be a home to many people who are unaware of all that it is able to provide them and their families.

Why Millennials and Gen Z Make Great Truck Drivers

In recent years, the job market in the trucking industry swayed in favor of drivers. There is a growing need for more truck drivers. Millennials and Generation Z, also known as Zoomers, may be the perfect candidates to fill the gap. There are many advantages to becoming a truck driver. Let’s take a look at the benefits that come with this profession.

Benefits of Truck Driving Jobs for Millennials and Gen Z

It’s hard to decide what is the “best industry” to start your career. The trucking industry offers many advantages that make it an appealing career choice. Here are some reasons why the trucking industry is at the top of our list.

Job Security

The trucking industry is a crucial part of the economy. Truck drivers are responsible for delivering goods and products across the country. If there is a need for these products, there is a need for truck drivers. Job security is generally high in the trucking industry.

Over the last several years, a driver shortage has put truck drivers in control of the industry. A shortage of drivers may not sound like a positive thing, but there is always a high demand for truck drivers. This leads to better job opportunities, higher pay, and more flexibility for drivers.

Flexibility and Freedom

Some truck drivers choose their own routes. This allows for a great deal of flexibility in their work. This can be particularly appealing to individuals who value independence in their careers. Some may even find jobs that stay in their local community.

Truck drivers also have a level of freedom that is hard to find in other careers. They are responsible for managing their own schedule. They can typically choose the routes they take and the pace at which they drive. This means that they can plan their trips around their personal preferences, whether that’s taking the interstate or a scenic route. Between deliveries, drivers can stop at interesting landmarks. They take time off to rest and recharge while soaking in the beauty of nature.

Salary and Benefits

According to , the average truck driver salary in 2022 was $81,000 per year. Out of 776,000 salaries reports, the range falls between $53,000 and up to $126,000 per year. This is a solid salary, especially if you don’t have a college degree. Truck driver salaries depend on level of experience, type of freight, and amount of miles ran. Additionally, many trucking companies offer competitive benefits packages. These include health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off.

Travel and Adventure

One of the biggest advantages of being a truck driver is the opportunity to travel. Most millennials and Zoomers crave adventure and exploration. Truck driving can offer a unique way to see the country. Truck drivers are constantly on the move. They deliver goods and products to various locations across the nation. They get to see new places, experience different cultures, and try new things.

Non-Office Environment

Truck driving is a non-office job. Individuals who dislike sitting at a desk all day may find this career to be a refreshing change. Many millennials and Zoomers want careers with more flexibility and independence. Truck driving certainly fits the bill. Instead of typing away behind a desk all day, truck drivers are out on the open road. They get to experience the freedom of the outdoors. This can be a more stimulating environment for those who want to get out of the office and try something new.

Technological Advancements

The trucking industry evolves over time. Advancements in technology have made the job easier and more efficient. This includes things like GPS systems, electronic logging devices, and safety features. At Swift we have the latest model trucks and gear to keep drivers moving.

Bring a Friend to Work

Many Millennials and Zoomers are choosing the trucking industry so they can bring a partner along for the ride. Most trucking companies have a rider policy that allows the driver to bring someone along with them. Driving the highways alone can be lonely. Some drivers take advantage by inviting their wife, husband, mom, child, or anyone along to see the country. Swift even offers a dog policy which allows drivers to bring their dogs as a companion on the road. It’s one of the only jobs where every day is bring your dog to work day!

Why You Should Consider a Trucking Career

Of course, like any industry, the trucking industry has its challenges. If you are willing to put in the time and effort, truck driving is a rewarding career choice. Truck drivers enjoy the job security and flexibility that they get. Most trucking companies offer competitive pay and benefits. And you can’t beat the opportunity for adventure and travel while getting paid! It’s easy to see why the trucking industry is one of the best industries to work in.

Truck driving is a good career choice because it offers travel, freedom, and independence. It is hard to find that anywhere else. It also provides a steady income and a sense of purpose. Millennials and Zoomers should consider truck driving as a practical career choice.

There is growing career potential in becoming a truck driver as the industry evolves. Every day, more young people take advantage of the many benefits that come with it.

If you’d like to start a fulfilling trucking career at Swift Transportation, your opportunities are endless! Visit our job board to see a full list of active truck driving positions across our various lines of business.

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