Key Types of Truck Driving Jobs

Key Types of Truck Driving Jobs

December 30, 2021

Truck driving is a massive industry in the U.S. and one of this country’s most demanding and essential jobs. According to the American Trucking Association, there are 3.36 million employed as professional drivers and 7.65 million working in a profession related to trucking. This accounts for 5.8% of the overall U.S workforce. Given the size of this industry, there is a wide variety of job titles and specialized job types and there are many routes a person can take to get involved with this profession. The opportunities are out there, waiting for you! Learn about different types of truck driving jobs and start exploring your options.


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Dry Van Haulers

Dry van haulers operate a 53-foot single trailer semi-truck, also known as a ‘dry van’. As a Dry van hauler, you are responsible for transporting dry, nonperishable, easy-to-move cargo. This trucking job is a common route for drivers just starting their careers. Dry van drivers are typically not required to unload the goods themselves.

Freight Hauler

Freight haulers operate similarly to dry van haulers, but their job can be more challenging. Freight haulers are expected to transport oversized cargo, hazardous, liquid materials, or anything that dry haulers cannot carry..

Flatbed Hauler

Flatbed haulers transport oversized or awkwardly shaped machinery, vehicles, or dry goods on open-air trailers. The cargo requires comprehensive knowledge about securing difficult cargo using chains, come-a-longs, straps, tarps, and other tools. They also need background knowledge about the goods they transport. As a result, flatbed haulers typically earn more than dry van haulers.

Tanker Hauler

Tanker haulers are one of the most sought out trucking jobs. As a tanker hauler, you are responsible for transporting liquids — hazardous or non-hazardous. Transporting liquids is reasonably difficult, and drivers are required to be well-versed in offloading liquids, record-keeping, transportation laws, and reading gauges. The most common tankers are Food Tankers, Fuel Tankers, Chemical Tankers, and Dry-bulk Tankers. Tanker Haulers are typically well-paid for the skill level needed for this job.

Refrigerated Freight Hauler

Refrigerated freight haulers transport products that are required to be kept at specific temperatures. The transported products include medical goods, food, body products or parts, and meat. The trailers used to transport these goods are also known as ‘reefers’. Reefers may operate locally or cross-country. Some hauls have freezer shipping containers, and drivers must meet particular time and distance requirements. Since the freight is temperature-controlled, drivers must know how to monitor temperatures and identify technical issues. This skill commands higher pay for refrigerated haulers than dry haulers.

Long-Haul/Over-the-Road (OTR) Hauler

Long-haul or over-the-road (OTR) drivers transport cargo across distances greater than 250 miles, and it is considered a long-haul if the trip can’t be made in one day. OTR haulers will transport goods across the continental U.S. If you find traveling appealing and sightseeing across the country, this is the type of trucking for you. Trips can require over a week on the road. For long OTR trips, it might require two drivers to share a cab, so they can switch off driving and get to a destination more efficiently.

Less Than Truckload (LTL) Haulers

LTL haulers typically transport small loads over short distances. It is common for LTL haulers to deliver multiple loads per day. As an LTL driver, you are often responsible for loading and unloading your shipments. These drivers earn less than long-distance drivers.

Hotshot Haulers

Hotshot haulers deliver goods locally or regionally and deliver multiple loads per day. Instead of a semi-truck, hotshot haulers drive a class 3 or 5 truck paired with a small trailer. Hotshot haulers are expected to deliver their goods as fast as possible

Auto Haulers

Auto haulers are specially designed for carriers transporting cars. Drivers are expected to have specialized training and experience moving expensive cargo. This skill commands higher pay for auto haulers than semi-truck driving.


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