Job Description of a Refrigerated Truck Driver

Sep 22, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a refrigerated truck driver. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

Refrigerated truck drivers are the professionals who perform long-haul deliveries of items that need to be kept refrigerated and frozen. These drivers will always need to possess a commercial driver's license, and may find themselves driving close seventy hours a week.

Essential Information

Refrigerated truck drivers transport materials that have to be kept cold, either locally by transporting frozen items to grocery stores or by transporting across the country. The driving hours can be long, and many drivers are away from home for extended periods. Some companies offer in-house training, while others hire graduates of commercial truck driving schools or vocational programs. This career requires a commercial driver's license (CDL), which calls for a written examination and a driving test.

Required Education Varies; some employers offer training, while others prefer someone who has completed a truck driving program at a school
Licensing Must possess a CDL
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 5% for all heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers
Median Salary (2018)* $43,680 for all heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

A refrigerated trucker driver is a specialized transportation worker. The cargo carried by these types of truck drivers is sensitive and kept at a specific low pre-determined temperature. This puts an increased amount of importance and stress upon refrigerated truck drivers to arrive to their destination on time in order to ensure the cargo does not spoil or ruin due to normal or hot temperatures.

Long-haul deliveries for refrigerated truck drivers can mean being gone from home for extended periods of time. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), these drivers are required to plan their own routes and may work with another driver to expedite the delivery process ( The BLS also notes that local refrigerated truck drivers typically work in a specific area and may be required to handle paperwork and payments.

The regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) allow drivers to work more than 40 hours per week; however, they must choose to work either less than 60 hours in any seven-day period, or less than 70 hours in an eight-day period (

Job Requirements

The BLS states that some employers prefer truck drivers with formal education while others accept applicants with just work experience. Formal training programs are available at community colleges, vocational schools, career schools, truck-driving schools, as well as from employers, and can prepare graduates for the required CDL testing.

Refrigerated truck drivers learn how to operate and maneuver large transportation trucks in these programs. They also study the regulations and compliance laws for cargo and transportation.

The licensure process for the CDL involves a written examination and a live driving exercise. A refrigerated truck driver who already has this license may still need to go through a company sponsored training program when hired. This training procedure is an informal process that tests a refrigerated truck driver's understanding of the field along with any specific company policies.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS,, the employment of heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, including refrigerated truck drivers, is expected to grow by 5% between 2018 and 2028. The BLS also reported the median annual salary earned by such drivers as $43,680 in May 2015.

Refrigerated truck drivers, as their name describes, drive specialized vehicles that keep cargo cold at a pre-determined temperature. These drivers always need to possess a CDL, and many need to complete a formal driving program. This job market is growing as fast as average, however, drivers who find employment in this field may earn a median salary of $43,680 a year.

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