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Over-the-Road Trucking Pay Explained

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Today, there are many people who are interested in the freedom that over-the-road jobs can provide. Over-the-road trucking, sometimes called OTR trucking and long-haul trucking, refers to the transportation of cargo from coast to coast. 

Some OTR drivers are limited to specific regions, while others are responsible for driving across the entire country. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about over-the-road jobs, including job requirements, average pay, and factors that influence salary.

Entry-Level OTR Trucking Pay

The average entry-level truck driver should expect to earn about $44,000 per year. If you are interested in landing a job as an entry-level OTR truck driver, you need to have the right experience and skills. Most OTR truck drivers are required to have a high school diploma. If you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), it can help boost your application, but it is not a requirement.

Average OTR Trucking Pay

The average over-the-road trucking pay can vary significantly from state to state. The average OTR truck driver earns about $64,670 per year.

Average OTR Trucking Pay in Michigan

In Michigan, the average over-the-road trucking pay is $55,000. The pay can vary from $23,000 to $92,000 per year depending on a number of factors.

Factors That Influence OTR Pay

Factors that can impact over-the-road trucking pay include:

  • Education: The more education you have in the field, the more money you can make.
  • Experience: Similar to education, the more years of experience you have, the more money you can demand.
  • Miles: Typically, if you drive more miles, you’ll potentially make more money.
  • CDL: If you have a CDL license, or have been to professional truck driving school, you are more likely to be paid more than the entry-level salary.

Another factor that influences pay is the type of over-the-road job that you take on. 

Types of OTR Drivers & Their Average Salaries

There are several different types of OTR truck drivers, including:

  • Solo OTR Driver: A Solo OTR driver is a freelance driver who picks and chooses who to work with. Solo drivers usually make $40,000 per year.
  • Dedicated Driver:  A dedicated driver works with a specific company and moves their merchandise, usually repeatedly running the same routes. A dedicated driver should expect to make $65,000 per year.
  • Specialized Driver: A specialized driver typically covers high-risk industries, including hazmat runs and oversized hauls. They might also handle ice-road trucking, and should expect to make $80,000 per year.
  • Team OTR Driver: A team OTR driver completes longer trips, usually splitting the driving with someone else to give themselves a chance to rest. A team OTR driver should expect to make $150,000 per year.
  • Trainer: As the name suggests, a trainer is responsible for instructing new drivers and should expect to make $80,000 per year.
  • Owner/Operator: If you own and operate your own trucking franchise, you can make more than $100,000 depending on the success of your business.

Find OTR Truck Driver Opportunities at TSI

Are you looking for over-the-road jobs? Turn to TSI! We’re a family-owned and -operated trucking business offering a wide range of over-the-road driving opportunities. We even offer a six-week training program for entry-level drivers. You can view our full list of opportunities here. To learn more about life at TSI, and what it’s like to work for us, please visit our FAQ page.