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.
Do you want to be one of the highest-paid truck drivers in the country or even the world?
Are you looking to make the next move in your trucking career?
If you want to be one of the highest-paid truck drivers in 2024 and beyond, you may need to refine your skills andtake a risk hauling oversized or hazardous loads.
We're navigating a tough market. If you're struggling to make a profit at your current trucking job, it might be time to switch up your career path and pursue one of the top-paying trucking jobs this year.
While no industry has been untouched by the down market in recent years, the following jobs will provide great pay and stability.
These driving positions typically pay more because they carry high risks and liability, they require experienced drivers and they require a special set of skills.
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.
By the time you’re finished reading this article, you’ll have a much better understanding of the types of trucking jobs that will pay you the most and why. You'll be ready to take the next steps to pursue that career path.
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.
Heavy haul drivers haul freight that is over-width, over-length, over-height and overweight. The bigger the freight and the heavier the load, the higher your income.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.