Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers

Drive a tractor-trailer combination or a truck with a capacity of at least 26,001 pounds Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW). May be required to unload truck. Requires commercial drivers' license. Includes tow truck drivers.

Sample of reported job titles: Driver, Line Haul Driver, Log Truck Driver, Over the Road Driver (OTR Driver), Production Truck Driver, Road Driver, Semi Truck Driver, Tractor Trailer Operator, Truck Driver

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • Check vehicles to ensure that mechanical, safety, and emergency equipment is in good working order.
  • Follow appropriate safety procedures for transporting dangerous goods.
  • Inspect loads to ensure that cargo is secure.
  • Maintain logs of working hours or of vehicle service or repair status, following applicable state and federal regulations.
  • Secure cargo for transport, using ropes, blocks, chain, binders, or covers.
  • Maneuver trucks into loading or unloading positions, following signals from loading crew and checking that vehicle and loading equipment are properly positioned.
  • Report vehicle defects, accidents, traffic violations, or damage to the vehicles.
  • Obtain receipts or signatures for delivered goods and collect payment for services when required.
  • Drive trucks with capacities greater than 3 tons, including tractor-trailer combinations, to transport and deliver products, livestock, or other materials.
  • Check all load-related documentation for completeness and accuracy.
  • Read bills of lading to determine assignment details.
  • Collect delivery instructions from appropriate sources, verifying instructions and routes.
  • Drive trucks to weigh stations before and after loading and along routes in compliance with state regulations.
  • Couple or uncouple trailers by changing trailer jack positions, connecting or disconnecting air or electrical lines, or manipulating fifth-wheel locks.
  • Check conditions of trailers after contents have been unloaded to ensure that there has been no damage.
  • Perform basic vehicle maintenance tasks, such as adding oil, fuel, or radiator fluid or performing minor repairs.
  • Crank trailer landing gear up or down to safely secure vehicles.
  • Read and interpret maps to determine vehicle routes.
  • Operate equipment, such as truck cab computers, CB radios, phones, or global positioning systems (GPS) equipment to exchange necessary information with bases, supervisors, or other drivers.
  • Plan or adjust routes based on changing conditions, using computer equipment, global positioning systems (GPS) equipment, or other navigation devices, to minimize fuel consumption and carbon emissions.
  • Load or unload trucks or help others with loading or unloading, using special loading-related equipment or other equipment as necessary.
  • Remove debris from loaded trailers.
  • Follow special cargo-related procedures, such as checking refrigeration systems for frozen foods or providing food or water for livestock.
  • Inventory and inspect goods to be moved to determine quantities and conditions.
  • Wrap and secure goods using pads, packing paper, containers, or straps.
  • Install or remove special equipment, such as tire chains, grader blades, plow blades, or sanders.
  • Operate idle reduction systems or auxiliary power systems to generate power from alternative sources, such as fuel cells, to reduce idling time, to heat or cool truck cabins, or to provide power for other equipment.
  • Perform emergency roadside repairs, such as changing tires or installing light bulbs, tire chains, or spark plugs.
  • Give directions to laborers who are packing goods and moving them onto trailers.
  • Drive electric or hybrid-electric powered trucks or alternative fuel-powered trucks to transport and deliver products, livestock, or other materials.
  • Operate trucks equipped with snowplows or sander attachments to maintain roads in winter weather.

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Technology Skills

Hot technology Hot Technologies are requirements frequently included in employer job postings.

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
  • Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
  • Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

  • In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 88% responded “Every day.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 84% responded “More than 40 hours.”
  • Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 76% responded “Every day.”
  • Time Pressure — 69% responded “Every day.”
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 60% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone — 60% responded “Every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 42% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 45% responded “Very important results.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 52% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Spend Time Sitting — 44% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 47% responded “Every day.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 53% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 38% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Consequence of Error — 44% responded “Extremely serious.”
  • Contact With Others — 39% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 47% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants — 47% responded “Every day.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 37% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Deal With External Customers — 33% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 46% responded “Every day.”
  • Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 50% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 37% responded “Less than half the time.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 32% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 37% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Level of Competition — 35% responded “Highly competitive.”
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 36% responded “Every day.”
  • Outdoors, Under Cover — 34% responded “Never.”

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
Education
These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
Related Experience
Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.
Job Training
Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples
These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include orderlies, counter and rental clerks, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, and tellers.
SVP Range
3 months to 1 year of preparation (4.0 to < 6.0)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
State licenses
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

Skills

  • Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.

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Knowledge

  • Transportation — Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
  • Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 56%
     
    responded: High school diploma or equivalent requiredmore info
  • 19%
     
    responded: Less than high school diploma required
  • 15%
     
    responded: Post-secondary certificate required

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
  • Response Orientation — The ability to choose quickly between two or more movements in response to two or more different signals (lights, sounds, pictures). It includes the speed with which the correct response is started with the hand, foot, or other body part.
  • Depth Perception — The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
  • Rate Control — The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
  • Spatial Orientation — The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Night Vision — The ability to see under low-light conditions.
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Peripheral Vision — The ability to see objects or movement of objects to one's side when the eyes are looking ahead.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.

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Interests

Interest code: RC
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

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Work Values

  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

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Work Styles

  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$23.23 hourly, $48,310 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2020)
1,951,600 employees
Projected growth (2020-2030)
Average (5% to 10%)
Projected job openings (2020-2030)
231,100
State trends
Top industries (2020)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2020-2030 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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