What Is the Best CDL Specialization?

CDL specialization

Obtaining a CDL (Commercial Driver License) opens new doors for people who wish to make a career out of driving a vehicle. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires a nationwide minimum age of 21 for obtaining a CDL. 

However, that rule applies only if you plan on crossing state lines. If not, you can obtain your CDL at the age of 18. Once you have your license, it’s time to consider what job pays the most. Still, pay isn’t everything. 

If you want to find the best job, you’ll have to consider work conditions, risks and many other factors. The main reason is that the best-paying jobs usually come alongside greater risk for both the vehicle and the driver. With that in mind, here are a few of the best CDL specializations you should consider before starting your driving career. 

Things you need to know

Starting a driving career isn’t as easy as it may seem. There are various specializations and endorsements you have to consider. Each CDL specialization requires additional training, aside from requiring a specific CDL class. 

Moreover, some endorsement may include criminal background checks, sex offender background check, like for the school bus endorsement (S), aside from the regular health check. 

These things are important to keep in mind so you can plan your next move forward. Once you’ve done your research, you can opt for one of the specializations and kick start your career. 

Private Fleet

Retail giants, such as Walmart, for example, have their own trucking fleets. The average requirement for this job position is the T (Doubles and Triples) endorsement. Although Walmart conducts extensive background checks and have higher than usual requirements, they also have higher than usual salaries. Truckers can earn around $70,000 to $85,000 per year working for a private fleet. 

Ice Road Trucker

You’ve probably seen the TV show regarding the profession of ice road trucking but there’s more to it than they show on TV. This can be a very well paid job for just a couple of months of work. Ice road truckers can earn anywhere between $20,000 to a staggering $250,000. However, the risk that comes with this job is extremely high and the type of endorsement you’ll require depends on the type of load you’ll carry. 

CDL specialization

Tanker Hauler

One of the most lucrative CDL professions certainly includes the tank hauler. The main difference between driving a tanker and a regular load is that you’re transporting a liquid load. That means you’ll need the N endorsement (Tank Vehicle). Tank truckers earn around $70,000 per year. 

Hazmat load

Hazmat truck drivers are similar to tank haulers. The only difference is that hazmat truck transport dangerous and hazardous materials. This job has more risk involved than the regular tanker but it pays more. You’ll need the H endorsement (Hazardous Materials) and you can earn up to $1,000 per week. Depending on the state, you may have to undergo a background check by the Transportation Security Administration. 

Hazardous tankers

If you can’t decide between tank hauling or hazmat trucks you can do both at the same time. This is a very risky endeavor but the pay can go well above $100,000 per year. You’ll need the special X (Tank Vehicle with Hazardous Materials) endorsement that replaces the usual H and N endorsements.  

School bus driver

Driving a school bus is one of the safest jobs in the driving industry. Relatively short and specific routes make this job quite seamless. There’s little to no risk involved and you can earn around $40,000 per year. You’ll need the P (Passenger Vehicle) endorsement and the special S (School Bus) endorsement to qualify for this job. Aside from background checks, you’ll have to pass a road test. 

Team Driver

Team truck driving is one of the highest paying jobs in the US. The main benefit of this job is that two people can team up so that they can drive longer and transport more cargo. That way one driver rests while the other drives and vice versa. 

This is a good way to exploit a loophole in federal regulations. Which endorsement you’ll need depends on the load you carry but it’s usually down to T endorsement at most. Each driver can earn more than $50,000 per year so if you’re driving with a spouse, for instance, you have a great salary for a low-risk job.

Utilizing your CDL for a profitable career is always a good way forward. There are various specializations to explore and the only thing that’s left to do is to find the best one for you. Contact us!

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