A tractor-trailer driver is responsible for picking up and delivering goods and services from distribution centers and warehouses to different locations across the country as required. Tractor-trailer drivers manage the best route planning to prevent delays. They should also have extensive knowledge of the mechanical industry, inspecting the vehicle's condition regularly, repairing any inconsistencies, and replacing defective components to ensure smooth operations. A tractor-trailer driver must have excellent communication and organizational skills, responding to the clients' inquiries and concerns and escalating complaints to management for immediate resolution.

Tractor-Trailer Driver Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real tractor-trailer driver resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Maintain air brake certification and CDL with tank endorsement.
  • Maintain communication with dispatcher via GPS capable cellular phones.
  • Perform duties of that require as an owner operator OTR truck driver.
  • Attend annual re-licensing to learn about new laws and HAZMAT industry procedures.
  • Recognize for diligent work ethic; encourage by supervisor to acquire CDL license.
  • Verify security and condition of cargo, truck, while employing industry standard HAZMAT procedures.
  • Utilize GPS device to plan routes for the delivery of goods and services to different suppliers.
  • Maintain proper equipment operation through pre-trip and post trip inspections
  • Perform and record daily pre-trip inspections using company checklist and submit detailed reports after trips and deliveries.
  • Maintain open communication via CB radio for additional instructions.
Tractor-Trailer Driver Traits
Hand-eye coordination
Hand-eye coordination describes being skilled in using your hands when it comes to physical activity.
Physical health refers to the condition that one's body is in.
Visual ability is a strength of people who are able to picture ideas or thoughts.

Tractor-Trailer Driver Job Description

Between the years 2018 and 2028, tractor-trailer driver jobs are expected to undergo a growth rate described as "as fast as average" at 5%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So if the thought "should I become a tractor-trailer driver?" Has crossed your mind, maybe you should take the growth rate into account. In addition, the number of tractor-trailer driver opportunities that are projected to become available by 2028 is 99,700.

A tractor-trailer driver annual salary averages $58,249, which breaks down to $28.0 an hour. However, tractor-trailer drivers can earn anywhere from upwards of $42,000 to $79,000 a year. This means that the top-earning tractor-trailer drivers make $37,000 more than the lowest-earning ones.

As is the case with most jobs, it takes work to become a tractor-trailer driver. Sometimes people change their minds about their career after working in the profession. That's why we looked into some other professions that might help you find your next opportunity. These professions include a driver trainer, driver/mover, driver, and over the road driver.

Tractor-Trailer Driver Jobs You Might Like

Tractor-Trailer Driver Resume Examples

Tractor-Trailer Driver Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 35% of Tractor-Trailer Drivers are proficient in DOT, CDL, and OTR. They’re also known for soft skills such as Hand-eye coordination, Physical health, and Visual ability.

We break down the percentage of Tractor-Trailer Drivers that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • DOT, 35%

    Transported freight to companies nightly Provided professional customer service Completed all required DOT documents for assigned shift

  • CDL, 20%

    Maintained CDL Class A License, kept accurate time logs, and followed State and Federal Trucking Regulations.

  • OTR, 14%

    Know and understand Department of Transportation rules and regulation pertaining to the OTR Driver, equipment and cargo.

  • Customer Service, 4%

    Foster relationships with store management and personnel and provide superior customer service.

  • Post-Trip Inspections, 3%

    Performed daily pre-and post-trip inspections on equipment.

  • Job Sites, 3%

    Observe safety rules and regulations at customer job sites, facilities, as well as other HERC facilities.

Some of the skills we found on tractor-trailer driver resumes included "dot," "cdl," and "otr." We have detailed the most important tractor-trailer driver responsibilities below.

  • Hand-eye coordination can be considered to be the most important personality trait for a tractor-trailer driver to have. According to a tractor-trailer driver resume, "drivers of heavy trucks and tractor-trailers must be able to coordinate their legs, hands, and eyes simultaneously so that they will react appropriately to the situation around them and drive the vehicle safely." Tractor-trailer drivers are able to use hand-eye coordination in the following example we gathered from a resume: "maintain accurate and safe log book.load unload freight.communicate with brokers dispatch and coordination of loads"
  • Another trait important for fulfilling tractor-trailer driver duties is physical health. According to a tractor-trailer driver resume, "federal regulations do not allow people to become truck drivers if they have a medical condition, such as high blood pressure or epilepsy, which may interfere with their ability to operate a truck." Here's an example of how tractor-trailer drivers are able to utilize physical health: "license cdl a class with hazmat, triple-doubles, air brake, tanker endorsement one licenses and current dot physical card"
  • Visual ability is also an important skill for tractor-trailer drivers to have. This example of how tractor-trailer drivers use this skill comes from a tractor-trailer driver resume, "truck drivers must be able to pass vision tests" Read this excerpt from a resume to understand how vital it is to their everyday roles and responsibilities, "maintained education in successfully, handling hazardous materials; visually recognized colored labels and placards. "
  • See the full list of tractor-trailer driver skills.

    Those tractor-trailer drivers who do attend college, typically earn either business degrees or general education, specific areas degrees. Less commonly earned degrees for tractor-trailer drivers include general studies degrees or criminal justice degrees.

    When you're ready to become a tractor-trailer driver, you might wonder which companies hire tractor-trailer drivers. According to our research through tractor-trailer driver resumes, tractor-trailer drivers are mostly hired by United Parcel Service, DHL Supply Chain, and Herc Rentals. Now is a good time to apply as United Parcel Service has 445 tractor-trailer drivers job openings, and there are 37 at DHL Supply Chain and 26 at Herc Rentals.

    Since salary is important to some tractor-trailer drivers, it's good to note that they are figured to earn the highest salaries at Rite Aid, DHL Supply Chain, and Waste Industries. If you were to take a closer look at Rite Aid, you'd find that the average tractor-trailer driver salary is $77,860. Then at DHL Supply Chain, tractor-trailer drivers receive an average salary of $72,858, while the salary at Waste Industries is $71,529.

    View more details on tractor-trailer driver salaries across the United States.

    We also looked into companies who hire tractor-trailer drivers from the top 100 educational institutions in the U.S. The top three companies that hire the most from these institutions include Knight Transportation, Schneider National, and J.B. Hunt Transport Services.

    The industries that tractor-trailer drivers fulfill the most roles in are the transportation and retail industries. But the highest tractor-trailer driver annual salary is in the professional industry, averaging $66,952. In the transportation industry they make $63,471 and average about $63,318 in the retail industry. In conclusion, tractor-trailer drivers who work in the professional industry earn a 21.3% higher salary than tractor-trailer drivers in the manufacturing industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious tractor-trailer drivers are:

      What Driver Trainers Do

      Driver trainers are instructors who teach their clients how to drive. They are often considered experts in driving, and they are credible enough to impart their driving knowledge to clients. They teach their clients the basics of handling a car, the different actions one takes while driving, and the meaning of different street signs. They guide their clients during driving lessons and provide feedback so that their clients can improve. At times, driver trainers also handle driving tests and would rate the clients on their driving skills.

      In this section, we compare the average tractor-trailer driver annual salary with that of a driver trainer. Typically, driver trainers earn a $11,139 higher salary than tractor-trailer drivers earn annually.

      Even though tractor-trailer drivers and driver trainers have vast differences in their careers, a few of the skills required to do both jobs are similar. For example, both careers require dot, cdl, and otr in the day-to-day roles.

      There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a tractor-trailer driver responsibilities require skills like "job sites," "pallet jack," "fmcsa," and "appropriate safety procedures." Meanwhile a typical driver trainer has skills in areas such as "dexterity," "training programs," "defensive driving," and "customer orders." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

      Driver trainers really shine in the hospitality industry with an average salary of $51,276. Whereas tractor-trailer drivers tend to make the most money in the professional industry with an average salary of $66,952.

      The education levels that driver trainers earn is a bit different than that of tractor-trailer drivers. In particular, driver trainers are 3.5% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree than a tractor-trailer driver. Additionally, they're 0.3% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Driver/Mover?

      A driver/mover is responsible for preparing and arranging items for delivery from the distribution center to assigned destinations. Driver/movers assist with loading and unloading merchandise using various warehouse tools and equipment. They also inspect the packaging of items, ensuring that the products are free of any defects and immediately escalate damaged items to the management. A driver/mover checks the accuracy of inventory reports to determine the correct quantity of the delivered items before and after shipment to prevent client misunderstandings and complaints.

      Now we're going to look at the driver/mover profession. On average, driver/movers earn a $31,614 lower salary than tractor-trailer drivers a year.

      Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Tractor-trailer drivers and driver/movers both include similar skills like "cdl," "customer service," and "pallet jack" on their resumes.

      While some skills are similar in these professions, other skills aren't so similar. For example, several resumes showed us that tractor-trailer driver responsibilities requires skills like "dot," "otr," "post-trip inspections," and "job sites." But a driver/mover might use skills, such as, "equipment inventory," "stamina," "paperwork," and "truck inspections."

      Driver/movers may earn a lower salary than tractor-trailer drivers, but driver/movers earn the most pay in the professional industry with an average salary of $31,005. On the other side of things, tractor-trailer drivers receive higher paychecks in the professional industry where they earn an average of $66,952.

      On the topic of education, driver/movers earn similar levels of education than tractor-trailer drivers. In general, they're 1.2% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.3% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Driver Compares

      Drivers are responsible for safely transporting people, packages, or goods from one destination to another. They should be familiar with the different routes that may be taken to reach the desired goal. They should be expert navigators and may use navigation apps to help them along the way. They should also be familiar with the basic mechanics of the vehicle they are using and the proper maintenance and cleaning needed to ensure that the car is running well. Drivers are expected to have excellent customer relation skills, a strong sense of direction, and superb organizations.

      The third profession we take a look at is driver. On an average scale, these workers bring in lower salaries than tractor-trailer drivers. In fact, they make a $29,280 lower salary per year.

      Using tractor-trailer drivers and drivers resumes, we found that both professions have similar skills such as "dot," "cdl," and "otr," but the other skills required are very different.

      As mentioned, these two careers differ between other skills that are required for performing the work exceedingly well. For example, gathering from tractor-trailer drivers resumes, they are more likely to have skills like "fmcsa," "tractor trailer," "necessary information," and "reefer." But a driver might have skills like "clean driving record," "customer orders," "company vehicle," and "communication."

      Additionally, drivers earn a higher salary in the transportation industry compared to other industries. In this industry, they receive an average salary of $39,160. Additionally, tractor-trailer drivers earn an average salary of $66,952 in the professional industry.

      Drivers typically study at similar levels compared with tractor-trailer drivers. For example, they're 0.6% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 0.1% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of an Over The Road Driver

      Over the road, (OTR) drivers are the truckers driving the big semi-trailer truck that hauls all types of goods to their destinations across the states. Their journey typically begins with loading the freight onto the trailer, requiring them to lift heavy materials and load the cargo properly to avoid shifting while in transit. They often sleep in the sleeper berth at a truck stop to eat, freshen up and refuel. They are allowed to go on a 30-minute break after an eight-hour drive.

      Now, we'll look at over the road drivers, who generally average a higher pay when compared to tractor-trailer drivers annual salary. In fact, the difference is about $3,635 per year.

      According to resumes from both tractor-trailer drivers and over the road drivers, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "dot," "cdl," and "otr. "

      While some skills are shared by these professions, there are some differences to note. "job sites," "heavy equipment," "necessary information," and "building materials" are skills that have shown up on tractor-trailer drivers resumes. Additionally, over the road driver uses skills like federal motor, semi, customer relations, and bol on their resumes.

      In general, over the road drivers make a higher salary in the manufacturing industry with an average of $70,959. The highest tractor-trailer driver annual salary stems from the professional industry.

      The average resume of over the road drivers showed that they earn similar levels of education to tractor-trailer drivers. So much so that the likelihood of them earning a Master's Degree is 0.3% more. Additionally, they're more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree by 0.0%.