If you are considering obtaining a commercial driver's license (CDL), you are about to open the door to several job opportunities. Commercial drivers make between $28,000 to $65,000 a year. Understanding what types of jobs you can obtain with a commercial driver's license can help you figure out if it is the right step for you.
Many people who have recently obtained their commercial driver's license start out with dry van jobs. Essentially, this is a job that places you in charge of dry goods. Non-perishable items are easier to transport for new commercial drivers who are just learning the ropes. Dry van jobs are easy because there is often less demand for quick delivery since the goods will not rot.
As you gain experience, you may also obtain a job driving a flatbed. Flatbed driving pays more than dry van driving. As a flatbed operator, you may haul a variety of equipment or vehicles from one location to another. Your trips may be either short or long distances, so it is best to keep in mind the demands of a longer trip when considering this option.
The demand for commercially licensed drivers who can operate tankers is often high because it is not a job for just anyone. A person who drives a tanker is often hauling various liquids, such as hazardous chemicals, which means you must be observant and careful anytime you are operating the vehicle. As such, a tanker driver often makes a decent income.
Freight drivers are also important and will receive a decent pay grade for their skills. Freight trucks haul both dry goods and perishables. In fact, there are refrigerated freight trucks specifically used to haul perishable items from one location to another. Freight truck drivers must know how to operate the temperature in their trucks in order to ensure the goods always receive the proper refrigeration. As a freight truck driver, you must also be able to manage your time responsibly so that you can deliver the product on time.
Over The Road (OTR) drivers with a CDL often receive the highest pay grade, averaging out at about $82,000 a year. Of course, you usually have to work your way up to become an OTR driver. An OTR driver operates cross-country, which means you will face a lot of demand from your job. You may find yourself away from home for several days or even several weeks, which is why these drivers are often paid so well.
As an OTR driver, you must make sure you adhere to the rules of the road, receive plenty of sleep, and still make your deliveries on time. However, there are many OTR drivers who find their job rewarding. They get to take in the sights as they travel and see many places throughout the country that others do not get to see if they are only driving locally or regionally.
If you are interested in obtaining your commercial driving license, contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles to find out more. There are also plenty of truck driving schools that will provide you the courses and ability to obtain your license for a reasonable fee.