What are CDL jobs?
CDL stands for commercial driving license. CDL jobs are positions that require a commercial driving license to operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). There are multiple types of endorsements and classes for commercial driving licenses. Each job will require a specific class or endorsement on your CDL. Classes and endorsements are determine by the type of vehicle and its weight and the cargo you haul.
ProTip: When applying for driving jobs make sure that you carefully review the requirements for license class and endorsements needed. Determine the type of license you will need based on vehicle in our CDL Class Guide:
Do you need your CDL before you apply?
The short answer is no, but it depends on the position. It's important to know that not every driving position requires a CDL. There are many driving positions that do not require a commercial driving licence because the vehicle you will be driving is not classified as a commercial motor vehicle or is under weight restrictions that require a commercial license. There are also many employers that will help new drivers obtain their commercial license.
Truck Driver Salary: Truck drivers with no CDL can make salaries comparable to truck drivers with their CDL. Salary can vary greatly depending on the hiring organization and driver experience
Truck Driver Salary Information Sourced
Employers that provide you with CDL training / license programs will require you to work for their company for a certain length of time and or specific amount of miles driven after you graduate. Sponsored license programs have one major positive ; you will not have to pay for the training. The value of this is in the thousands of dollars.
Companies that provide CDL training: C.R. England, Roehl Trucking, and U.S. Express
It also comes with negatives, especially if you end up not liking the employer. You will be legally tied to either work for the employer or pay back the cost of the license program. Worse yet, if you do break off your employment agreement you will have interest to pay back as well. Often times the legal agreement states that the cost of the school is to be treated as a loan.
ProTip: If you choose to get your CDL through an employer sponsor program make sure to read the fine print.
Truck Driver Salary
The salary for a truck driver can vary greatly. The average salary reported in at just over $59,000.00. Factors that can increase this salary are the type of class license you have and what endorsements are on your license. Additionally, your location can play a big role in how much you make. The more demand a state has for drivers the more they are willing to pay.
States with the highest demand for drivers are usually located toward the middle of the United States of America. They serve as the headquarters for trucking companies because of optimal travel routes to both coasts. Some states average a salary of over $80,000.00 for their drivers.
Truck Driving Lifestyle
The difference between CDL jobs and most other career choices is that you must live where you work for extended periods of times. While most career choices allow you to come home nightly, a career truck driver makes their truck home.
All CDL jobs have different routes, different areas of the country that they serve, and most importantly they will have different policies and regulations for home time. Find a CDL job that allows you to find a quality mix between driving and home time. Keep in mind that more desirable positions are harder to get and may offer less salary. Typically, positions that have less home time offer higher compensation.
ProTip: Truck drivers do more than just drive. CDL jobs require that you also: plan routes, secure freight, interact with customers, and inspect your vehicle.
Since you will be sleeping in your truck you will have to find bathroom facilities, take showers, and eat meals in different places often. Many truck stops have upgraded significantly over the last decade and offer most of the amenities you will need.
Things you can expect as a truck driver:
- Being away from home for a week or more
- Excellent salary, benefits, and employment security
- An amazing community of people
ProTip: The road doesn't have to be lonely. When looking for a CDL job check into the companies pet policy. Many offer a program that will allow you to bring your pet with you on the road.
Are truck driving jobs right for you?
Truck driving is an extremely rewarding career. Trucks move commerce and that powers America. The salary for truck drivers can be life changing. Truck driver salary figures are coming in at record highs.
CDL jobs are in high demand. This means that employers are offering great pay but also amazing employee benefits. This includes benefits like: 401k, health benefits, signing bonuses, and tuition reimbursement.
You will need to ask yourself if being on the road for extended periods of time will work for your lifestyle. If it does then this career option may make sense for you. It is very hard to deny the benefits that come with this career.
If you think that CDL jobs are right for you and you would like to explore them in more detail check out these links to my favorite trucking employers: