Back to Trucking FAQ
Trucking can be a very lucrative career, but your earnings can vary greatly from state to state and it's important to have an idea of your location's relation to your potential wage when you're starting out in the business. More often than not, an employee's pay history has an effect on how much he or she is offered at a new position, so it's important to start out making the highest amount you can.
Hawaii is a state with a high cost of living where you would expect a decent wage, but truck driving jobs there pay an average of only $40,000 each year. Mississippi, on the other hand, is an economically depressed state with an average household income of only $36,650, but truck driving jobs in the state pay an average of $68,000.
In the five highest-paying states, truck drivers make, on average, at least $59,000. For Massachusetts and Washington, the average is $59,000; New York is $60,000; Wyoming is $61,000; and Mississippi is tops with $68,000. The five lowest-paying states for truck drivers range from $40,000 to $45,000. Hawaii is $40,000; Alaska $42,000; Wisconsin $44,000; and $45,000 for both Idaho and Nebraska.
Cost of living and the average prices for fuel should be taken into account when thinking about moving to another state for the potential of higher pay. Even the heftiest of pay increases can be eaten away by higher food prices, more expensive housing and higher area taxes and fees.
There are ways, however, to make more money within your current state: a change in specialty. Even with the field of trucking, there is a distinct difference in earnings depending on a driver's particular field. On average, trucking companies pay interstate drivers $53,000 while flatbed drivers earn an average of $60,000. Unlucky, however, are the boat haulers and vocational drivers who make less than $40,000 each year. Dedicated LTL drivers have it the best, though: Their average salary is the highest at $84,000.
Keep in mind that all these figures are just averages within a certain state or specialty, so earnings can be different among trucking companies in the same state or those that specialize in the same types of hauling.
Statistics Courtesy The Truckers Report.