You Could Make More Money With a CDL

The Commercial Driver’s License is your key to the trucking industry, and there are lots of ways to earn in trucking! Drivers have to prove that they are able and responsible enough to drive a semi across the country before they can start earning, and that’s where the CDL comes in.

Those looking to get their CDL must first take the state CDL state exam, which covers trucking essentials. Test takers have to answer questions about things like road signs and best trucking practices and must demonstrate their ability to drive a truck to a trainer. For those that are able to pass the exam, though, there are a lot of opportunities for money in their new career path!

Carrier companies determine how much their drivers earn, so make sure to ask questions and check with carriers before applying to trucking jobs! Class A CDL holders can look forward to a great starting pay in addition to company benefits and bonuses.

How Much Do Truck Drivers Make?

It mainly depends on things like your work ethic and the carrier company you sign on with. Here are some figures to give you an idea:

Solo Truck Driver – When you’ve gained the skills to drive a truck on your own, you could make $40,000 – $45,0001 your first year on the road!

Team Driver – Two CDL drivers can take turns driving one truck, and that means longer distances in a shorter amount of time for cargo. Team drivers can make $50,000 – $75,0001 a year!

Dedicated Driver – A dedicated driver makes runs for one specific company only. Dedicated drivers can make $45,000 to $65,0001 in a year.

Trainer – After a driver has spent a few years on the road, they can apply to train new CDL drivers and can make $60,000 to $80,0001 a year.


Each carrier company will have its own set of benefits for CDL drivers, and that’s something you should check before applying to a carrier. Some trucking companies offer benefits like

  • Paid vacation
  • Paid sick time
  • Medical and dental insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Job security
  • Flexible schedules
  • 401k retirement plans and more



While they aren’t guaranteed by each carrier company, many top carriers offer bonuses to their drivers. Trucking bonuses could include money for:

Monthly mileage – Drivers could earn extra money for driving a certain amount of miles in a month and for driving it with their carrier.

Sign-on bonus – Carriers might offer sign-on bonuses for drivers who choose to work with their company.

Fuel efficiency – By conserving fuel as you drive, you show your carrier that you’re a cost-conscience truck driver. That’s very important to carriers (think of all the money spent on gas!) and many reward their drivers for saving fuel.

Safety pay – Proving that you can safely drive a tractor-trailer means more than good business, it means saving lives! Carriers strive for safe driving and may offer bonuses for proven safety out on the highways.

Layover pay – Drivers could be delayed by something that’s completely out of their control. Layover pay is a way that carriers compensate their drivers for lost time.

Clean DOT inspections – Clean Department of Transportation inspections are good for both the driver and the company. Carriers know this, and many pay bonuses to their truck drivers for clean inspections.

Referral bonus – Having a friend sign up for your carrier company could lead to even more money from your carrier!

Comprehensive Truck Driver Training at AIT

Top carriers want to see drivers with safe experience or drivers who come out of great truck driving schools. That’s not the only reason why AIT is a good fit! Here, industry experts teach trainees trucking essentials and show them how to drive a truck in a real driving environment!

Trainees who choose AIT also get the advantages of carrier choice and our Job Placement assistance program. Meet top industry representatives and learn how to look for trucking jobs that offer great opportunities for money.

Ready to get your career in the trucking industry underway? Contact an AIT representative today or click hereto find a campus near you!

1wage info supplied by Werner Enterprises


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