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Top Careers In Driving

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 30, 2021

Guide Overview

What to consider before pursuing a career In drivingCareers in driving that pay well

Guide Overview

Overview of the top careers in driving

If you love staying behind the wheel and navigating roads and highways, a career in driving may suit you. Driving is a career with low barriers to entry, and it also offers decent benefits. Besides, driving can actually be fun, especially if you're a long-distance driver. You get to visit and see interesting places in your journey, which beats sitting at a desk for hours. We outline some of the most lucrative careers that involve driving in this article. 

What to consider before pursuing a career In driving

Even though becoming a driver isn’t as hard as, say, becoming an accountant, you still have to follow guidelines.

Here are some factors to consider before opting for a driving career:

Driving record

A clean driving record is crucial to success as a driver. In most cases, employers expect you to have few to zero traffic infractions or accidents. No one is going to trust you to drive safely if your driving record shows a history of unsafe driving practices. That means your driving license must be as clean as possible. Note that this doesn’t mean you cannot apply for driving jobs if your license has blemishes. However, you’d have to prove to a prospective employer that those infractions are exceptions, not regular occurrences.

License requirements

Not all driving jobs are the same; some require more skill and experience than others. For example, driving an 18-wheeler is significantly harder and more complex than driving a taxi. Since some driving jobs are more complex than others, you need a special driver’s license for them. The license will differ from the standard license you got before driving your first vehicle. You may have to complete certain tests and fulfill certain requirements to receive such licenses. Sometimes, prospective licensees must reach a certain age before they can get a particular license.

Personal attributes

Like every other job, driving requires you to have certain qualities to succeed. These qualities may, however, differ according to the driving job in question. Take, for example, a career in long-distance truck driving. You cannot be a good truck driver if handling fatigue and long work hours is a problem. Not only that, but you must also be willing to handle the absence of your family. Another example is that of a delivery driver. Depending on how brisk business is, you might have to make deliveries throughout the day. That translates into a hectic schedule, which only someone with high stress tolerance can manage. Always consider the mental and physical requirements of any driving job. Doing that helps determine if you’re fit for the job.

Careers in driving that pay well

Here are some of the highest-paying driving jobs:

Tanker driver

Average base pay: $64,786 per year

Tanker drivers are professionals in the transport industry who are responsible for transporting materials and goods from one place to another. Mostly, they have to transport liquid and sometimes flammable materials, like gasoline, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and other chemical products. Still, some tanker drivers deal with transporting harmless materials like water. To be a tanker driver, you must have exceptional driving skills, understand traffic rules, and be comfortable handling large vehicles. You must have some education, with most tanker driver jobs listing high school diplomas as the minimum requirement. A prospective tanker driver must pass the tests necessary to acquire a commercial driver’s license. In addition, he will require a hazardous material (HAZMAT) certification before transporting dangerous materials.

Crude oil driver

Average base pay: $82,529 per year

The crude oil driver is responsible for transporting oil products to various locations. As with others, this job mostly demands great driving skills, but there are other required competencies. A crude oil driver must be familiar with time logs, journey logs, and other records. Also, he should be able to assess oil to check if it fulfills quality requirements. If maintenance is an issue for you, this job is not ideal. A crude oil driver must be able to keep the vehicle in perfect condition. Otherwise, he risks flouting DOT guidelines. You’ll need a high school diploma or its equivalent for consideration as a crude oil driver. A commercial driver license (CDL) is also necessary. Crude oil driver jobs are some of the highest paid, perhaps because of the danger involved.

Over-the-road truck driver (OTR)

Average base pay: $55,942 per year

Over-the-road truck drivers are so-called because they typically spend days, and even weeks, on the road. They operate semi-trailers and other large rigs, transporting a wide range of cargo. Besides moving shipments from one place to another, OTR drivers also supervise the loading of cargo, sign documents, and also ensure their vehicles are in top shape. Many logistics companies hire OTR drivers for their long-haul services.

School bus driver

Average base pay: $32,110 per year

If you love interacting with children, a school bus driver job might suit you. School bus drivers transport students while they ensure these journeys are enjoyable and devoid of negative experiences. Aside from driving students, a school bus driver must inspect the vehicle regularly. If the vehicle has issues, the school bus driver has to get it serviced promptly. Employers often require applicants for this job to have a high school diploma and a CDL license.

Tow truck driver

Average base pay: $45,553 per year

When your vehicle breaks down, a tow truck driver has to move it away to wherever you want to repair it. A tow truck driver often operates heavy machinery and works in the tow yard. As they tow vehicles under different conditions, most employers require excellent driving skills and a valid driver’s license. Also, towing vehicle drivers must have a high school diploma or a higher educational qualification.

Taxi driver

Average base pay: $32,493 per year

A taxi driver transports passengers within a city. Despite the growth of ride-hailing services, taxis still play a significant role in the transport sectors of many modern cities. As a taxi driver, you get to meet and interact with different people daily. This can be gratifying, especially if you love interactions. While traditional taxi companies have strict schedules, rideshare services let you set your work hours. You don’t need a special license to be a taxi driver, as your standard driving license will do.

Delivery driver

Average base pay: $27,113 per year

The responsibility of a delivery driver is to distribute goods to various drop-off points. Delivery drivers have to record trip details, such as fuel consumption and road mileage. They must also ensure to deliver the inventory of goods to customers efficiently. To get a job as a delivery driver requires having a valid license and a clean driving record. Some employers may ask for a CDL license to hire delivery drivers.

Courier driver

Average base pay: $27,113 per year

A courier driver is similar to a delivery driver, only that they deal with a smaller amount of cargo. The courier driver typically delivers documents and packages on behalf of small businesses and individuals. As is common with other driving jobs, a valid license and violation-free driving record are important for landing courier driver jobs. You must have excellent driving skills and friendly behavior. Good time-management skill is also important for courier drivers. You have to make sure your deliveries are well within the agreed time.

Local truck driver

Average base pay: $55,676 per year

A local truck driver transports cargo to various locations within a pre-defined geographical area. Asides from loading and unloading cargo, the local truck driver has to record an inventory of goods and the distance covered. You may need a commercial driver’s license besides your regular driver’s license for this job.

Dump truck driver

Average base pay:  $48,084 per year

If you love rugged jobs, a career in dump truck driving may be ideal for you. Dump truck drivers mostly transport materials used in construction, e.g., dirt, rocks, sand, and gravel. Due to the difficult nature of this job, expert skill is required. A prospective dump truck driver has to pass several driving tests and possess a CDL to land this job.

Driving instructor

Average base pay: $45,411 per year

Driving instructors teach people how to drive. Being a driving instructor involves teaching individuals the basics of driving a vehicle and following traffic safety rules. Besides making money from teaching people to drive, driving instructors also help keep the roads safe. As expected, you must pass certain exams to become an instructor. You will also need to get the certifications to qualify as a driving instructor. A career in driving is great for anyone who loves a life on the road. Use this guide to learn about driving jobs that offer flexibility, decent remuneration, and opportunities to interact with new people.

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