Career Options for the Best Paying Driving Jobs
There are a number of occupations that involve operating a vehicle. Although it's possible to work as a chauffeur or taxi driver, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that in 2016, those drivers earned a median salary of $24,300; ambulance drivers and attendants earned even less. Individuals interested in a driving career will find that there are other options with higher salaries to consider, some of which are listed below.
|Job Title||Median Salary* (2016)||Job Growth* (2014-2024)|
|Heavy and Tractor Trailer Truck Drivers||$41,340||5%|
|Delivery Truck Drivers||$30,580 (Light Truck or Delivery Services Drivers)||3% (Light Truck or Delivery Services Drivers)|
|Paving, Surfacing and Tamping Equipment Operators||$38,970||9%|
|Subway and Streetcar Operators||$64,680||5%|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Career Information for the Best Paying Driving Jobs
Bus drivers may drive tour, school, or city transit buses. Their primary tasks include operating the vehicle and taking passengers from location to location, and the BLS indicates their 2016 median annual salary was $31,920. Bus drivers are required to have a commercial license, good driving history and may also need to pass physical checks to qualify for this type of employment.
Heavy and Tractor Trailer Truck Drivers
Heavy and tractor trailer truck drivers need a commercial driver's license; they usually also need to complete a postsecondary truck driving program. They haul materials and may be responsible for transporting goods to different cities, states or countries. Their primary responsibilities include safely taking their cargo to its destination while complying with all laws and regulations, as well as addressing any mechanical issues that arise. The BLS reported that the median income of these drivers exceeded $40,000 per year in 2016.
Delivery Truck Drivers
Delivery truck drivers spend their days driving vans, trucks or comparable vehicles that do not exceed 26,000 pounds. They collect and deliver items people are shipping, and may be required to take payment for services, perform vehicle inspections and load their vehicles. On-the-job training and a valid driver's license are the basic requirements for becoming a delivery truck driver, and their 2016 median salary for was $30,580, per the BLS.
Locomotive engineers can earn more than $57,000 per year according to the BLS. They need to complete a few months of on-the-job training and earn locomotive engineer certification. These drivers operate commuter and freight trains, and they are responsible for making sure that the train travels at a safe speed. They must also follow their assigned route and report potential issues or delays as they arise.
Paving, Surfacing and Tamping Equipment Operators
The BLS reported that paving, surfacing and tamping equipment operators earned a median annual salary of $38,970 in 2016. These equipment operators spend their day operating construction vehicles designed for preparing the ground before construction. They may also pour concrete or other materials that are being used on roadways. Those interested in this type of work can consider attending a vocational school program, but may learn through on-the-job training.
Subway and Streetcar Operators
Subway and streetcar operators are responsible for operating subways and streetcars to transport people on predetermined routes. Their work involves ensuring the vehicles travel at a safe speed, slowing down as needed, reporting potential issues and helping passengers get out of the vehicle in an emergency. A high school diploma and on-the-job training are required to work in this field and these drivers can earn a median annual salary of over $64,000, according to the BLS.