Career Outllook

Employment of heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers is projected to grow 21 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average of all occupations.Trucker3

As the economy grows, the demand for goods will increase, and more truck drivers will be needed to keep supply chains moving. Trucks transport most of the freight in the United States, so as households and businesses increase their spending, the trucking industry will grow.

Global positioning system (GPS) technology and better routing can make trucks more productive, limiting the need for more drivers. Also, as fuel prices rise, some companies may switch their shipping to rail to lower costs.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Heavy and Tractor-trailer Truck Drivers,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/heavy-and-tractor-trailer-truck-drivers.htm (visited July 20, 2012).

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There are three major types of truck driver employment:

  • Owner-operators (also known as O/Os, or “doublestuffs”[1]) are individuals who own the trucks they drive and can either lease their trucks by contract with a trucking company to haul freight for that company using their own trucks, or they haul loads for a number of companies and are self-employed independent contractors. There are also ones that lease a truck from a company and make payments on it to buy it in two to five years.
  • Company drivers are employees of a particular trucking company and drive trucks provided by their employer.
  • Independent Owner-Operators are those who own their own authority to haul goods and often drive their own truck, possibly owning a small fleet anywhere from 1-10 trucks, maybe as few as only 2 or 3 trucks.