What are the highest paying CDL jobs

man in truck

Trucking is a vast arena with seemingly limitless opportunities, each bringing its own basket of challenges and rewards. It’s important to understand the compensation landscape and understand who is highest paid truck drivers if you’re considering entering the industry or are a current driver seeking new prospects. But before we deep dive into this facet, let’s first unravel which trucking jobs offer the biggest bang in terms of salary.

If you can stomach being away from family for long periods of time (sometimes weeks on end), then these highest paying trucking jobs might pique your interest. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most top paying trucking jobs available — we will look into making mid-six-figure salaries! From hauling valuable cargo that requires extra security measures to driving oversized loads that require special permits.

Large load hauler

The job of an oversized load hauler is nothing short of challenging. They undertake the transport of enormous machines, homes on wheels, and parts for wind turbines. With exceptional skill, experience, and a specialized permit, they navigate through highways, cities, and sometimes narrow back country roads with these gigantic loads.

Given the weighty responsibilities that come along with this job cannot go unnoticed. Hauling heavy-duty machinery is not for the faint-hearted truck driver! Therefore it’s no wonder that similar jobs are some of the highest paid trucking jobs in the industry- earning around $60k-$80k p.a., which may differ from person to person based on their skills and experience levels.


Hazmat driver’s are considered as one of the top paying driver’s of commercial vehicles on the road, therefor it’s worth exploring how much do hazmat truck drivers make. This sector deals with impacting chemicals or substances which require care while being transported from one place to another. If you’re working in this field, you might know about how things could get complicated easily; designing routes becomes precise, requiring precisely scheduled stops & also certain rules need to be followed by Federal laws, including strict labeling requirements, etc. Communication among your teammates plays a big role as well because you have valuable materials at risk!

These Hazmat Drivers operate trucks carrying dangerous cargo with potentially life-threatening and environmentally impactable goods. Typically, gas, liquid, and radioactive substances are included in their shipments.

Due to the elevated risks and mandatory additional training and endorsements needed for Hazmat drivers’ jobs, they tend to earn higher wages than average. On measurement on a standard 12-month basis, hazmat trucker salary is usually over $70k annually- which is a considerable salary. With experience, even more, significant revenue can come as a reward – making this type of work attractive from a financial perspective alone!


Owner-operators who own their vehicles can earn the highest potential income in the trucking industry. Yet, they assume added responsibilities like maintenance costs, insurance, compliance with regulations, and business administration. In return for taking on these extra duties/ expenses, though, comes more significant earning potential because they’re wholly in charge of their enterprise.

It’s tough to give an average estimate for owner-operator earnings since it varies based on several factors, such as contract types secured, business savvy, and location. However, generally, the anticipated annual income lies between $100K to $150K. Moreover, affluent owner-operators make even more than this amount.

Team drivers

Another driving option is team drivers like two operators working in conjunction and alternating between rest cycles and driving shifts, effectively enhancing cargo shipment turnaround times. Team drivers earnings are higher-than-average salaries due to efficiency within their work well; teams tend to finish jobs faster (when compared with solo drivers). These salaries range from $70K up to $100K per driver depending upon overall responsibilities spanning across company size/type that hired them/cargo type/distance covered etc.

Specialized Freight Drivers

If driving goods transport trucks feels monotonous and dull, then specialized freight driving might be an addition to your thrilling career. It involves carrying valuable (read: expensive) items like works of art or medical equipment that require special handling – a trucker’s version of the ‘delicate balance’ act. A high degree of professionalism is mandatory in this line of work, as delivering these unique items unscathed requires experience, expertise, and discipline. Specialized is another niche driving job that pay well, and you can expect to earn anything between $70k to over $100k annually.

Trainer Drivers

Another option for seasoned drivers is “training” newbies. You guessed it right! This role is considered as another best earning driver jobs since you are imparting knowledge on safety procedures, regulations, and industry nuances to the freshers taking their baby steps into trucking. Of course, reaching them up-to-snuff is essential for safe transportation; hence this role carries immense responsibility, reflected in better earnings too than regular truckers. Top trainers take home more than $80K yearly, with those working at specialized training programs receiving significantly more compensation – who would want us in their hands if they don’t know what they’re doing!?


To sum up, the trucking industry has plenty of roles to suit individuals with varying skills, risk tolerance, and income expectations. While salary may be an important consideration when selecting a job in trucking, it should not be the sole deciding factor. Higher pay often comes with additional responsibility, increased exposure to risk, or extra requirements.

In addition to earnings potential, other considerations such as job satisfaction, work-life balance, and long-term career progression opportunities should also carry weightage in your decision-making process regarding your chosen path in this industry.

In essence, then – Just like any other aspect of life, sometimes picking lesser-trodden paths brings more significant rewards. So are you keen on gearing up for a journey worth relishing?