Is Truck Driving A Good Career?

Truck Driver Career

Last Updated February 28, 2024

Jobseekers have likely heard about 2023 being a year of an impending recession (small business owners even believe we’re already in a recession). Yet, while the overall landscape of the job market has seen better days, that’s not entirely the case for the truck driving industry. In fact, even with the economy having slowed down, there is currently a noticeable truck driver shortage, meaning more open positions than available truckers.

Despite the positive job outlook for truck drivers, it’s important to have reasons to become a truck driver aside from just the money and stability that the job would provide. If you’re considering becoming a truck driver, you should ask yourself, “Is being a truck driver worth it?”

There are several good reasons to become a truck driver or start a trucking business, and doing so can prove a rewarding career for many. However, driving a truck for a living comes with some downsides. To help those asking themselves if truck driving is a good career choice, we’ve provided some of the most common reasons people either choose to become a driver or choose not to become a driver, along with some helpful truck driving career information below.

Reasons to Become a Truck Driver

Before answering the ultimate question of whether truck driving is a good career, let’s first explore the reasons to become a truck driver. After all, you likely want to know some of the benefits that you can enjoy through a career as a truck driver prior to diving headfirst into the industry.

Job Security

The demand for truck drivers is still relatively high in 2023 despite a sudden decrease in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Once you’ve obtained your CDL (commercial driver’s license) and become a company driver, you can feel comfortable with the fact that, as long as there are loads for you to haul and you’re transporting those loads safely and timely, you won’t have to give a second thought to someone taking your job.


The median salary for a company truck driver is $83,158, per Indeed. That’s well higher than the national average of $59,428. Becoming a company truck driver might not offer as lucrative of career earnings as becoming a lawyer or doctor, but you can make a very good living from driving a truck.

Minimal Requirements to Become a Driver

Unlike some professions, you don’t need several years of education and training or multiple degrees to qualify. Every truck driver simply needs to obtain a CDL, which usually takes just five to seven weeks.

Sure, there are a few requirements such as passing a driving test (which is included as part of acquiring your CDL), owning a high school diploma, and having a clean driving record, but these requirements are far less demanding and time-consuming than most professions.

Good Benefits

One of the most notable perks for truckers is the benefits. Because of the driver shortage, companies know they must offer appealing benefits packages to entice prospective drivers. You can expect a 401K, good insurance plans (life insurance, health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance), fair amounts of PTO, and other bonus opportunities, such as a sign-on bonus.

Freedom (Even on the Job!)

Truck driving comes with a lot of unexpected freedom. Whether you’re an introvert who prefers to work alone or someone who simply enjoys listening to music or a podcast while on a job, driving a truck provides those freedoms.

Plus, you don’t have to worry about micromanagement when you’re operating a vehicle. The main, sometimes sole objective of your day-to-day is hauling freight in a safe and timely manner. As long as you’re doing that, there aren’t too many restraints.

Travel Opportunity

One of the more obvious perks, a career in truck driving, particularly over-the-road (OTR) driving, means you’ll have the chance to travel the continent while on the job. Been wanting to visit sunny San Diego? Or maybe the beautiful beaches along the Gulf Coast? By becoming a trucker, you could cross some destinations off your bucket list – while on the job!

In some cases, you’ll be tasked with driving straight through these places, or you might just have one night to spare. But still, if you’re an avid traveler or at least want to see more of the country, this is a convenient career.

The Trucking Community

Despite the privacy that comes with spending time alone behind the wheel, you’d actually be hard pressed to find many sectors where workers have a better sense of community than trucking.

Load boards are one example of the sense of community in trucking. These online forums are used to match truckers with loads that fit their schedule, but truckers often utilize their own network among drivers and existing working relationships to get additional leads and recommendations for finding their next freight to haul. Furthermore, general forums on TruckersReport benefit drivers by providing insight on any and every topic.

Many truckers also have mobile applications to communicate with one another as well. A few popular trucking apps include TruckLoad, 123LoadBoard, and NextTruck.

Aside from forums and apps that allow truckers to communicate, there’s a sense of camaraderie that comes with this job and lifestyle. Truckers tend to have each other’s backs, because for the most part, everyone is performing the same tasks, no matter what company a driver works for. Therefore, it’s easy to have empathy for one another.

Opportunity to Become an Owner-Operator

If you’ve ever dreamed about owning your own business, you can do so as a trucker. An owner-operator in trucking is someone who owns their own truck and either drives it themselves or leases-on with a carrier. Owner-operators are tasked with the same responsibilities as that of a standard business owner, plus finding and scheduling their loads, purchasing the truck and necessary equipment, and more.

Many successful owner-operators begin as company drivers, meaning once you’ve got the hang of the trucking industry as a commercial driver, you may feel comfortable transitioning to be an owner-operator. There are many perks that come with doing so, including the potential to make a lot more money, but do be aware that you’ll have far more responsibilities on your plate. Additionally, a common barrier to becoming an owner-operator is getting the financing to fund your business venture, so you’ll either want to save while on the job as a company driver or looking into a funding option, such as freight factoring.

Reasons Not to Become a Truck Driver

It’s only fair to share some of the reasons why one may not want to become a truck driver. After all, spending up to 40 hours per week operating a vehicle is not for everyone.

Here are some reasons truck driving may not be a good career, which should be weighed accordingly based on your professional goals, personality, and interests.

  • Being a truck driver includes prolonged periods of sitting.
  • Operating a commercial truck requires full focus while on the job. You must be 100% on at all times when behind the wheel of such a large, and potentially dangerous, vehicle.
  • Company drivers may find it hard to move “up”, with limited opportunities for promotions after reaching a certain point.
  • As a truck driver, you’re alone most of the day, although for some, this might not be seen as a negative. Plus, if you have a family, it could be a difficult career to manage given the amount of time spent away from home and on the road. This isn’t a career for homebodies.
  • There’s potential to get accustomed to an unhealthy lifestyle as a trucker. For example, if you don’t plan meals ahead, you may be required to eat quick, unhealthy meals based on your scheduled routes and delivery times.

Working as a Truck Driver in 2023

While trucking jobs are plentiful, there are some significant challenges for truck drivers in 2023. COVID-19 led to a sudden drop in demand, and more truckers are retiring than being hired, leading to the current driver shortage. This has affected existing truckers, as 74% have said they’re concerned about having to work longer hours due to the shortage. Demand and spot rates are also down this year in particular, with drivers noting that finding loads for their trucks being particularly challenging.

However, this cycle may be bottoming out, with demand recovery coming soon, probably in early 2024. Plus, while it’s not exactly the easiest time to be in the trucking business, we know that jobs are more in demand than many other industries, and there remains money to be made.

Related: Trucking Industry Trends, Statistics, and Outlook for 2023

Job Outlook for Truck Drivers

The current employment situation for truck drivers is positive, but what does the long-term outlook reveal?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the delivery truck driver and driver/sales worker sector finds itself well-positioned long-term. From 2021 to 2031, the industry is projected to grow by 11%, significantly higher than the average occupation. Regarding strictly heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, states with the highest level of employment per capita are, in order, Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida, and California.

Additionally, the trucking industry – which had a market size of $217.3 billion in 2022 – is expected to grow at a 3.0% compound annual growth rate through 2027. A likely increase in market size should also bring an increase in opportunities.

In Summary: Pros and Cons of Truck Driving

To recap, here are the advantages and disadvantages you should consider before starting the process of becoming a truck driver.

Pros Cons
Freedom and solidarity on the job Required to sit still for long periods of time
Job security is typically strong May be difficult to earn promotions in title and pay after a certain point
Benefits are usually very good, though based on the company Not ideal for those that do not enjoy being alone for large portions of the day or who prefer to be at home than on the road
The opportunity to travel and see the country while on the job No opportunity for mental breaks when operating a motor vehicle, especially a truck
The trucking community is tight-knit Potential to slip into an unhealthy lifestyle

Is Truck Driving a Good Career?

Ultimately, the answer to this question depends on what you value in a career and lifestyle. While considering the answer, weigh the positives with the negatives, perhaps by making your own pros and cons list, to determine if truck driving is the right career for you.

If you don’t like to sit still, are a homebody, and don’t like extended road trips, you would probably be better off looking into another career.

Contrarily, if you enjoy traveling to new destinations, don’t mind being by yourself, and are looking for a career that’s relatively easy to break into, driving a truck for a living could be the perfect fit.

Trucking Career FAQs

Is truck driving hard?

The answer to this question is very much subjective. A career as a truck driver would be hard for someone who doesn’t like sitting and being alone for extended periods. If you enjoy your alone time and enjoy a good road trip, you probably won’t find truck driving too difficult!

Is being a truck driver worth it?

You should ask existing truckers if being a truck driver is worth it to get firsthand knowledge and perspectives. Many truck drivers find that the pay is worth it, but there are certain requirements you’ll have to fulfill before you can get behind the wheel. This includes obtaining your CDL (commercial driver’s license), obtaining a trucking authority (if you want to be your own boss – you do not need an authority if you plan on being a company driver), and completing training.

The answer to this also depends a lot on the company you’re driving for and your schedule. If you decide to become an owner-operator, the pay can definitely be worth the work, but you’ll have added responsibilities you wouldn’t have as a company driver.

Are truck driving jobs in demand?

Yes, truck driving jobs are very much in demand in 2023. In fact, there are far more open trucking positions than truckers. This is forecasted to continue throughout the next decade, as the industry is projected to grow by 11% through 2031, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, while jobs remain in demand, spot rates are down in 2023, and truckers have noted that finding freight to haul has been challenging. This cycle is expected to bottom out soon, though. Overall, as with most industries, the trucking industry offers both positives and negatives at the moment. But if you want to become a trucker, you should feel optimistic about finding an open position.

How does being a truck driver work?

Being a truck driver first involves obtaining your CDL (commercial driver’s license) and ensuring you meet all minimum requirements, such as age, passing tests, and completing training.

Truck drivers transport goods from one location to another, working either as company drivers or owner-operators (an owner-operator is essentially a trucking business owner). This may or may not include finding and scheduling loads to haul as well, depending on if that’s handled by the trucker or the company they work for. Regardless, being a truck driver requires a strong and careful driving ability and standard organization skills, plus good attention to detail. The perks that come with it include more freedom and flexibility than many jobs, the opportunity to travel the continent, and typically very good benefits.