Flatbed | Regional | Refrigerated | Dedicated | Tanker | OTR | Auto

Over The Road Jobs

Driving over-the-road is an excellent opportunity to explore the country. Truck drivers average 600 miles each day. A truck driving career offers a great deal of freedom. Many drivers have driven a million miles or more. Drivers are paid per mile. Companies also offer medical benefits, vacation time and sometimes other benefits such as 401(k) programs or life insurance.

How to Find a Job

Drivers must complete a training program. The training is offered by community colleges, truck company schools and private truck driving schools. Businesses and companies frequently post job notices with training providers. Some companies will pay for the training in exchange for working for a committed amount of time, usually one year. Community colleges sometimes have job placement services.


After training, commercial drivers must have a Class A CDL license and a medical card. A written and skills test must be taken. Those hauling hazard materials must also have special endorsements.

OTR Employment

The types of OTR jobs available are quite amazing. Dedicated routes keep drivers busy and allow them quality family time. There are also opportunities that keep drivers on the road for a month before taking some time off. Drivers can choose how they wish to run.

The types of hauling done vary greatly. Two employment opportunity websites, Career Builder and Indeed, posted 11,219 and 89,215 truck driving jobs respectively. Companies are looking for drivers to haul steel and other heavy cargoes on flatbed trucks. Hazard materials and tank drivers are needed. The pay for hazmat and tankers is usually better than most other driving jobs. Dry vans haul anything imaginable. Refrigerator trucks are driven for companies that need produce and food products that must be refrigerated or frozen. Oversize and specialized loads are also handled by truck drivers.

Team Drivers

More money can be made if drivers team. The goal is to have a truck operating nonstop. A nonstop truck is a lofty goal. Few people can run nonstop without any time at home. The runs for teams average 1500 miles. Pay per mile is the same for teams as for solo drivers. Individual team drivers can drive about 150 more miles per haul than a solo driver.


Owner-operators are considered self-employed goods transporters. They may haul freelance or lease their equipment to a single company. The pay for owner-operators is higher because they are issued 1099s for the work they do. Owner-operators are responsible for their own Social Security and Medicare benefits. No withholding tax is taken from their pay. Estimated and year end income tax are the responsibility of the owner-operator. Because they are self-employed, all job related expenses can be deducted from gross income when tax preparation is done.


When purchasing a semi for over-the-road hauling the condition of the tires on either new or used vehicles is one of the first concerns of the buyer. Good tires can be driven an average of 8500 hours. Single wide tires and wheels that are oil bath sealed on non-drive axles will help with fuel economy.

Fuel is the biggest trucking expense. Owner-operators pay nearly half of their intake on fuel. The design of a truck can decrease fuel consumption. Aerodynamic designs should include increased airflow over the trailer and across the cab. Resistance is lowered, and less fuel is needed. Hybrid engines reduce fuel reliance for takeoffs. Automatic transmissions have computer controlled shift logic that also aids in fuel economy.

Where to Buy

Semis are expensive investments. Used vehicles are often purchased. Freightliner trucks have a good reputation among OTR drivers. They are built for longevity, durability and efficiency. Fuel economy technology is used. Efficiency is maximized with the use of Detroit components.

Other respected makes are Kenworth, Western Star and Volvo. Kenworth access is readily available. Western Star is well insulated, making it useful in very cold or very warm climates. Volvo makes well-built models. One drawback of Volvo is parts must be ordered directly from dealers. That can cause loss of drive time if repairs are needed.

Truck Driver Unemployment Rate

Almost every U.S. product spends some time being transported by truck. The flexibility of trucks makes them more useful than ships, planes and trains at times. Big items such as automobiles to small items like canned foods are transported by truck. The drivers who operate the vehicles have no trouble finding employment if their driving record is in good standing. Seven point two percent of drivers are considered under-employed or classified as part-time drivers. Part-time work is often by choice. Being totally unemployed is a rare circumstance for a driver with a clean DMV record who wants to drive.