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2024 Highest Paying Trucking Jobs (with Salaries)

May 24th, 2024

Lars Offerdahl

Lars Offerdahl

Lars has been in the trucking industry his whole working life. He started working in the shop when he was just 16 years old. Lars spent about 10 years in operations before moving to driver recruiting. He spent five years in recruiting before joining the ATS team as the vice president of driver recruiting. He currently serves as the vice president of van operations. No day is ever the same in the trucking industry and Lars enjoys the challenge that presents.

Are you ready to boost your CDL driver income and take your truck driving career to the next level?

The world of trucking is full of opportunities, but knowing which paths offer the highest pay and best stability is key. Whether you're hauling oversized loads or hazardous materials, some specialized trucking jobs can significantly increase your earnings.

In today's competitive market, many drivers find it challenging to make a profit with traditional routes. If you're one of them, it might be time to explore some of the highest paying trucking jobs this year. These roles not only offer substantial pay but also require advanced skills and experience, making them ideal for those ready to take on new challenges.
Join us as we dive into the highest-paying trucking jobs of 2024, uncovering what it takes to excel in these lucrative positions. From specialized team drivers to mining industry haulers, we'll guide you through the opportunities that can maximize your income and career satisfaction in the ever-evolving trucking industry. Whether you're a solo driver, hazmat truck driver, or team driver, there's something on the list for you. 

Anderson Trucking Service (ATS) has been in the trucking industry for over 65 years. We’ve watched the industry change and adapt as technology has improved and the demand for specific goods has increased. So, we understand how the highest-paying jobs have changed through the years as well.

The highest-paying trucking jobs in 2024 include: 


1. Specialized Team Drivers

Team drivers who work in specialized fields, like Department of Defense (DOD) team drivers or armored truck drivers, are paid high wages because they're hauling protected equipment. One driver may drive while the other acts as a guard.

Whether you’re hauling firearms, other self-defense equipment or straight-up cash, you'll need to undergo a thorough background check and meet security clearances. 

The SF-86, which allows you to work for the federal government or national security, is so intense that many drivers simply don’t even get through the entire process. It can take upwards of eight hours to fill out the application and it can take weeks for your background check to go through. 

You'll need to thoroughly answer questions about your citizenship, where you’ve lived, where you went to school and where you’ve worked. You’ll need to detail your psychological and emotional health, your drug use, your foreign and professional activities, your marital status, your financial records and your criminal record.

Not only will you need to provide information about yourself, but you will also need to provide details about close friends and your relatives. 

The thoroughness of the background check is to ensure you and those around you have good intentions. It is very easy to fail the process. 

While teams have to split the revenue, drivers can still make upwards of six figures each year. As long as you qualify for the position and can pass specific security clearances, team driving can be a very lucrative career for you. 

Check out the DOD positions offered at ATS, currently paying upwards of $6,500 to $8,000 per week.

Pay: Up to six figures per year

2. Oversized Load/Heavy Haul Drivers

Heavy haul drivers haul oversized loads. The freight is over-width, over-length, over-height and overweight. The bigger the freight and the heavier the load, the higher your income potential.

Heavy haul driving comes with a lot of pride, but it also requires drivers to have a lot of experience — sometimes upwards of ten years. Heavy haulers must follow different rules and regulations to avoid slowdowns and damage.

There are both federal and state regulations on size and weight limits that drivers need to follow. Regulations are always changing so heavy haul drivers need to keep up on best safety practices and securement training

Hauling equipment like pressure vessels, space shuttles and wind turbines requires a very experienced driver with impeccable maneuvering skills and hand-eye coordination. 

Being a heavy hauler requires not only a certain level of experience, but also a specific kind of driver. Hauling over-dimensional loads can feel like one giant puzzle — not just when the load is being secured, but when navigating tight turns. You need to be a patient driver who never tries to cut corners — doing so can ruin the cargo you’re hauling and cause major damage to your truck (and possibly yourself). 

Pay: An average of $96,532 per year

Related: How to become a heavy haul driver

3. Car Haulers

The level of expertise required to haul cars makes it a top high-paying trucking job year after year. Not only do you have to be an expert, but you also have to be patient and detail-oriented to ensure your loads are secure.

Car haulers drive either an enclosed trailer or an open-sided, double-decker rig that can carry up to nine vehicles. You may be hauling a private collector’s antique collection or you could be hauling brand-new cars to a dealership. 

Regardless of the type of cars you’re hauling, you’ll need to be a driver with a minimum of two years of over-the-road (OTR) experience and a spotless driving record. 

Car haulers need to load and unload vehicles from the trailer, which requires perfection not only in spacing when you load and unload, but in strapping and securing the vehicles.

This is a perfect driving job if you love cars. 

Pay: $70,000+ per year (but some owner-operators make an average of $228,575 per year)

4. Private Carrier Drivers

There’s a reason being a truck driver for a private carrier — like Walmart, Pepsi or Sysco — is one of the most coveted positions around. And we’re not talking about hauling a load or two of excess freight for them here and there. We’re referring to company drivers who drive a dedicated route solely distributing goods for that particular company.

Because they’re only hauling their product, private fleets don’t have the overhead costs a for-hire trucking carrier would. They make their freight lanes and distribution channels. 

However, don’t expect to get a job with a private fleet straight out of driving school. Private fleets expect their drivers to have a clean driving record backed by years of experience. If you have moving violations and preventable accidents on your record, you’ll probably need to find a different driving position. You may be out of the running if you have a criminal record too. 

Pay: $110,000+ (in the first year)


5. Hazmat and Tanker Haulers 

Hazmat hauling, or hauling hazardous materials, in a tanker can be a dangerous job. More often than not, drivers are hauling flammable liquids and corrosive substances in a tanker. Sometimes they haul hazardous materials in dry vans. 

Hazmat drivers are not only responsible for hauling the load, but they also have to load and unload the hazardous materials. This can put drivers at risk of exposure to the fumes from caustic and explosive materials, such as gasoline, when they are piping out materials. 

Hazmat haulers require a special skill set. Loads should be handled with the utmost care and extra precautions must be taken to ensure loads are hauled safely and legally. Drivers not only need to be safety-oriented, but they also need to be adaptable. 

Due to the danger of the job and high liability, hazmat drivers are among the highest-paid truck drivers. Drivers need special endorsements on top of their CDL. A hazmat endorsement will allow you to transport hazardous materials. To drive a tanker, you will need either an N endorsement to haul over 1,000 gallons or an X endorsement which gives you both the N endorsement and the hazmat endorsement.

While some tanker drivers aren’t hauling dangerous materials — they’re hauling supplies like milk or water — hauling liquids can be difficult to transport, so drivers earn more.

As a hazmat hauler or tanker driver, ensure you find a reputable company that will pay you what you’re worth. per year

Pay (Hazmat Truck Drivers): $100,000 per year

Pay (Tanker Drivers): $88,824 per year

Related: Are you cut out for hauling hazardous materials?

6. Mining Industry Drivers 

Truck drivers working in the mining industry play a crucial role in transporting materials like coal, minerals, rocks, and other extracted resources from the mines to processing plants or storage areas. They operate specialized heavy-duty trucks to carry large loads over rough terrain. They may work on mining sites or at industrial locations.

Mining industry drivers have to follow strict safety protocols due to the hazardous nature of the mining environment. They also must comply with regulations and guidelines related to transportation and environmental protections set by both the mining company and governmental bodies. 

The job comes with a list of risks. Not only do you have to operate heavy equipment, but rugged terrain and confined spaces can make driving a challenge. Certain materials can be hazardous and expose you to harmful dust, fumes, and chemicals. 

Pay: Upwards of $95,000 per year


What About Ice Road Truckers?

You may be wondering why ice road truckers aren’t on our list of the highest-paying trucking jobs in 2024. We did this intentionally. While, admittedly, ice road truckers can make a lot of money, it's very dangerous and comes with a long list of restrictions.

Drivers not only need to have excellent driving skills in extreme winter weather, but they’ll also need to be able to drive in Canada. Many companies prefer Canadian citizens for this reason. You'll spend most of your time driving in northern Canada and Alaska. 

Television has popularized this type of driving, but only a small fraction of drivers who pursue the ice road trucking lifestyle secure this job. 

Start Your High-Paying Trucking Career Today

In the evolving landscape of trucking jobs, certain specialized roles offer lucrative opportunities for skilled CDL drivers. From hauling protected equipment as a team driver to transporting hazardous materials or mining industry materials, these high-paying positions demand expertise, experience, and often, security clearances or endorsements.

While these roles promise substantial incomes, they come with specific challenges and risks, such as navigating strict regulations or hauling hazardous materials.

Do any of these positions sound like they’re the best next step for you? If so, make sure you take the time to thoroughly research the trucking companies you're curious about working with. After all, it isn't all about pay; respect, good equipment, and stability are important too.

If you're looking to get started with a great, high-paying trucking career today, check out the opportunities at ATS for DOD team drivers and heavy haul drivers