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Earnings and salary for truck drivers vary by experience, location and long or short hauls. For instance, truck driving school students in Alabama and Texas will usually earn a bit less than students graduating from trucking driving school in Michigan or California.
What kind of salary do truck drivers earn?
Simply put, salaries for those working in the trucking industry is calculated differently than most jobs. Average truck driver salary is paid by using a mileage scale. When talking about trucking salaries, most people will tell you that for every mile driven, you earn a certain amount of money. The more miles a truck driver drives, the more they will get paid. Per mile pay for newly trained CDL drivers just graduating from trucking school can start at $.29 or more depending on the trucking company. What usually happens is, about every 3 months or so, the trucking company you work for will raise your mileage pay by about a penny. Even though it doesn’t seem like a penny would make much difference in a paycheck, by the end of one year, those raises will add up to give you a great yearly salary. For instance, a driver earning $37,000 a year will suddenly earn just short of $40,000 per year with a single cent raise!
The U.S Department of Labor breaks down truck driving salary by the median hourly earnings for tractor-trailer truck drivers and light or delivery service truck drivers.
For heavy truck and tractor-trailer drivers in May 2006, the median hourly earnings were $16.85. The middle 50% earned between $13.33 and $21.04 an hour. Most OTR drivers typically graduating from truck driving school and CDL training will usually find themselves making a truck driver salary between $35,000 and $45,000 per year.