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Working as a CDL Driver

CDL stands for Commercial Driver's License. Drivers in possession of this certificate transport goods and stock in trucks of various sizes from distribution centers to any required delivery destination. The job is pretty straight forward in theory, but not lacking challenges in practice.

Drivers load the truck safely and deliver to the given destination, making sure the cargo is intact and the vehicle is functional. Any and all of these factors may pose potential obstacles to the completion of the task. They have to meet delivery deadlines, inform clients about delays, and document transactions. And they have to stop and rest on non-negotiable terms.

As a CDL driver, you have to know your vehicle and operate it safely, knowing what to do when it breaks down, and more importantly, knowing what to do to prevent mishaps. Experience on the job is always a value, as well as an organized mindset, stamina, compliance with road rules, and yes, the inevitable interpersonal skills. Although, if anyone should be able to get away with being a grouch, it is a truck driver.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a cdl driver. For example, did you know that they make an average of $25.67 an hour? That's $53,396 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 5% and produce 99,700 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a CDL Driver Do

There are certain skills that many cdl drivers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed hand-eye coordination, physical health and visual ability.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a cdl driver, we found that a lot of resumes listed 17.2% of cdl drivers included dot, while 14.3% of resumes included cdl-a, and 13.5% of resumes included customer service. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the cdl driver job title. But what industry to start with? Most cdl drivers actually find jobs in the transportation and retail industries.

How To Become a CDL Driver

If you're interested in becoming a cdl driver, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 10.0% of cdl drivers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 1.4% of cdl drivers have master's degrees. Even though some cdl drivers have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a cdl driver. When we researched the most common majors for a cdl driver, we found that they most commonly earn high school diploma degrees or associate degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on cdl driver resumes include diploma degrees or bachelor's degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a cdl driver. In fact, many cdl driver jobs require experience in a role such as driver. Meanwhile, many cdl drivers also have previous career experience in roles such as truck driver or delivery driver.

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Average Salary$53,396
Job Growth Rate5%

CDL Driver Career Paths

Top Careers Before CDL Driver

Driver
20.0 %

Top Careers After CDL Driver

Driver
25.1 %

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a CDL Driver

CDL Drivers in America make an average salary of $53,396 per year or $26 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $77,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $36,000 per year.
Average Salary
$53,396

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
Washington, DC
Salary Range51k - 87k$67k$67,211
New York, NY
Salary Range50k - 83k$65k$65,380
Portland, ME
Salary Range48k - 76k$61k$61,183
Omaha, NE
Salary Range44k - 81k$61k$60,548
Kansas City, KS
Salary Range44k - 81k$60k$60,417
Philadelphia, PA
Salary Range46k - 77k$60k$59,851
$38k
$87k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
CDL Drivers-Great PAY, Benefits, Vacation
CDL Drivers-Great PAY, Benefits, Vacation
Walters Recycling and Refuse
Walters Recycling and Refuse
01/31/2021
01/31/2021
$57,20001/31/2021
$57,200
Regional Cdl-A Driver
Regional Cdl-A Driver
Cargo Transporters
Cargo Transporters
01/31/2021
01/31/2021
$57,39301/31/2021
$57,393
Regional Cdl-A Driver
Regional Cdl-A Driver
Cargo Transporters
Cargo Transporters
01/31/2021
01/31/2021
$57,39301/31/2021
$57,393
Regional Cdl-A Driver
Regional Cdl-A Driver
Cargo Transporters
Cargo Transporters
01/31/2021
01/31/2021
$57,39301/31/2021
$57,393
CDL Driver-Seasonal
CDL Driver-Seasonal
Land O'Lakes Inc.
Land O'Lakes Inc.
01/30/2021
01/30/2021
$45,91401/30/2021
$45,914
See More Recent Salaries

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CDL Driver Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a CDL Driver. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a CDL Driver Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless CDL Driver resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

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CDL Driver Demographics

Gender

male

88.1 %

female

8.8 %

unknown

3.1 %

Ethnicity

White

64.1 %

Hispanic or Latino

17.6 %

Black or African American

12.2 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

64.0 %

Carrier

6.2 %

French

5.1 %
See More Demographics

CDL Driver Education

Degrees

High School Diploma

43.8 %

Certificate

14.6 %

Associate

13.5 %
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a CDL Driver

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 17.2% of cdl drivers listed dot on their resume, but soft skills such as hand-eye coordination and physical health are important as well.

Best States For a CDL Driver

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a cdl driver. The best states for people in this position are Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Rhode Island. Cdl drivers make the most in Connecticut with an average salary of $73,706. Whereas in Massachusetts and Vermont, they would average $71,749 and $70,195, respectively. While cdl drivers would only make an average of $69,979 in Rhode Island, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Kansas

Total CDL Driver Jobs:
3,778
Highest 10% Earn:
$105,000
Location Quotient:
2.02
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Delaware

Total CDL Driver Jobs:
748
Highest 10% Earn:
$110,000
Location Quotient:
1.13
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Vermont

Total CDL Driver Jobs:
483
Highest 10% Earn:
$108,000
Location Quotient:
1
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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How Do CDL Driver Rate Their Jobs?

Zippia Official Logo

5.0

Truck DrivingJune +0000

5.0

Zippia Official LogoTruck DrivingJune +0000

What do you like the most about working as CDL Driver?

Making money to sustain an affordable life. I wish I could drive locally but that doesn't seem to be the case without OTR experience for some odd reason. Show More

What do you NOT like?

Driving nights I really wouldn't want to drive at night. Because, sometimes I get tired and sleepy. But with the proper amount of rest I could do it. Just given the right chance if possible. Show More

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Top CDL Driver Employers

1. PepsiCo
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$40,763
CDL Drivers Hired: 
276+
2. Werner Enterprises
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$68,517
CDL Drivers Hired: 
211+
3. Lowe's
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$86,532
CDL Drivers Hired: 
196+
4. C.R. England
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$64,028
CDL Drivers Hired: 
168+
5. Waste Management
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$58,165
CDL Drivers Hired: 
160+
6. Schneider National
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$72,148
CDL Drivers Hired: 
149+

CDL Driver Videos

Updated October 2, 2020