Did you know that of all the modes of shipment in the commercial transportation industry, the trucking sector dominates the field with 83.7% of the revenue? The rail industry comes in at a distant second with only 5.6% of the total revenue. The air sector is third with 3.2%, and the oceanic freight sector is barely in the running with only 1.4% of all revenue being transported by ships. As you can see, the trucking industry isn't going away anytime soon. In fact, the trucking industry alone collects 650 billion dollars in annual revenue each year. That's 5% of the nation's GDP! The trucking industry also pays out 35 billion dollars in federal, state, and highway use taxes per year and will grow by 21% over the next ten years. Not many career fields can promise you such great job security without a four year college degree like the trucking industry can.
Speaking of job security, in May of 2013 there was an estimated 1.5 million heavy truck and tractor trailer drivers earning an average median salary of $38,700 a year, which calculates to roughly $18.61 an hour. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that truck drivers who were at the lower end of the pay scale still made $25,330 a year and truck drivers who were at the high end of the pay scale made $59,620 per year. How many other jobs can boast such a wide range of salaries without a four-year or two-year college degree? Not many. So, where are more truck drivers employed than anywhere else? Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Illinois. The state of Texas hired 157, 260 truckers in 2013 while Illinois employed an estimated 66,050 truck drivers. But, don't think you will have to relocate to one of these five states in order to find a decent truck driving job. The entire east coast is full of states that have an average 40,210 to 157,260 working truck drivers. If you're looking for the states with the highest concentration of truck driving jobs in the U.S. look no further. North Dakota boasts 15,310 trucking jobs with an average median salary of $47,580 while Arkansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Wyoming follow closely. Truck drivers in Alaska have the highest median salary at $53,440, while truckers in North Dakota, Massachusetts, District of Columbia, and Wyoming make an average $47,000 a year. If you were to look at a map of the United States showing the areas where the most truck drivers are employed, you would see that truck drivers are heavily employed from Texas all the way over to Pennsylvania and Florida, and all the way up to Michigan. Califonia and the Pacific Northwest also employ many truck drivers. Which areas have the least amount of working truck drivers? The midwestern states. That is why truck drivers in these states make more per year. Here's one more thing to consider. U.S. intracontinental truck driving jobs cannot be outsourced.
Here are some more fascinating facts about truckers. The total distance traveled by truck drivers per year is 93.5 million highway miles? To put that in perspective, that's 256,197,260 miles per day, 2,965 milers per second, and 3.7 million times around the earth or 195,713 round trips to the moon! That's a lot of truckin'! Of course, with all those miles it would be nice to get good gas mileage. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen. On average, long haul trukcs can carry 300 gallons of fuel, but can only travel eight miles per gallon. That's about 6.8 gallons of fuel an hour at 55 miles per hour. That means it would take a class 8 tractor trailer 44 hours and 347 gallons of fuel to travel from Los Angeles to New York City. Of course, with a 300 gallon fuel tank, you would only have to stop for gas one time. With all those miles to travel, one of the perks of long haul truck driving is being able to see the beauty and splendor of the United States countryside and getting paid to do so!
Now that you know just how important the trucking industry is to the U.S. economy, how much the average truck driver makes a year, and how many total miles truck drivers travel on average per year, I want to end this article with one last statistic. The value of shipped goods that the commercial trucking industry transports per year is $139,463,000,000. That's $382,090,411 per day and $4,422 per second! That is how valuable the trucking industry and the truck drivers themselves are to the citizens of the United States. Think about this, if you will. Almost every facet of our economy is dependent upon the trucking industry, from food to fuel, medicine to machinery, cars to clothing, and construction to manufacturing, they are all delivered and dependent upon the commercial trucking industry. To put it another way, if it wasn't for truck drivers, you wouldn't have a bed to sleep on, soap and shampoo to clean yourself with, clothes to get dressed in, food to eat for breakfast, a toothbrush and toothpaste to brush your teeth with, a car to drive to work in, gas to fuel that car, a computer to work on, food to eat for lunch, a car to drive back home in, a refrigerator, stove and microwave to store and cook dinner with, plates and utensils and a table to eat on, chairs to sit on, and a television to watch the game on while you sit in your sofa and drink your ice cold beer that was transported by truck drivers. Of course, I left a lot of stuff out but, you get the picture. Oh, I almost forgot, you wouldn't have a house to live in either, unless it was made out of something other than bricks, concrete, wood, metal, or stone. Remember, if you bought it, a truck brought it.
So, back to the original question. Why should you pursue a career in commercial truck driving? Well, now that you know how important the commercial trucking industry is to the U.S. economy, how good the job market is, and how much truck drivers can make without a college degree, maybe the real question you should be asking yourself is, "why shouldn't I pursue a career in commercial truck driving?". That's a question that only you can answer. If you do decide that you want to pursue a career in commercial truck driving, getting the proper training is your first step. Not only is the commercial truck driving job market ripe with possibilities, the steps you have to take to enter the job market are easier than you might think. To be certified to operate a commercial motor vehicle, all you need is a commercial drivers license, adequate physical health, and the ability to operate a commercial motor vehicle. That's it. Of course, getting your CDL is a whole different story. It takes specialized knowledge and training to pass the required tests, and that training is usually obtained at a private or company-sponsored truck driving school. Most truck driving schools will give you the CDL training you need to pass the required CDL tests and obtain your commercial drivers license within a few months.
I hope this article has helped to answer the basic questions you may have about pursuing a career in commercial truck driving.