Arizona CDL Truck Driver Salary Information
The majority of people who start out in the trucking industry (71%) have at least a high school education and some have been to college but did not get a degree. Working in the trucking industry isn’t simply about driving all the time. There are many other activities you might perform in a day that the variety will keep you from being bored. Following are a few:
- Inspect cargo for proper loading
- Report vehicle or equipment malfunctions
- Review documents to determine compliance
- Review work orders and schedules
- Maintain vehicles
- Map out routes
If you’re located in Arizona you’ve already got a fantastic place to perform your job: Indian pueblos, cliff dwellings, and a blue sky that goes on forever. Arizona is the only state in the U.S. that contains part of all four deserts: Chihuahuan, Mojave, Sonoran, and Great Basin. Besides the desert and its unusual animals, Arizona is home to the Grand Canyon, petrified forests and the saguaro cactus. Imagine the views as you drive through this state.
If you obtain an interstate CDL then you may find yourself venturing in to some of Arizona’s bordering states: Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, California, and Utah.
The most populated cities in Arizona are Phoenix, the capital and Tucson. These are also the hottest cities in the summer and winters are quite mild.
There are an estimated 23,310 truck drivers in Arizona with an average salary of $42,310 per year and an average hourly wage of $20.34. When comparing median figures, (exactly 50% above and 50% below) Arizona has a lower median salary $39,680 than the whole of the U.S. $41,340. But depending on what city you’re in, the median salary will fluctuate:
- Flagstaff $43,970
- Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale $40,170
- Tucson $40,550
In addition, it’s a great time to be a truck driver in Arizona because the 10-year projected employment increase for the years 2014-2024 is a whopping 18% for Arizona while the U.S. as a whole is only 6%.
Arizona CDL License Information and Insights
If you’re a beginning driver, before you can get your CDL you must get a CDL permit, which is good for 6 months. If you’re 18 years old, you can apply for an intrastate CDL that is valid within Arizona only. Until you are 21 you cannot transport any kind of hazardous materials or apply for the CDL license.
To save you time and money here’s the paperwork you should have with you before you pay any fees or take any tests:
- A Medical Examiner Certificate or ADOT card. Your physical exam must be recent and performed by:
- a licensed doctor of medicine
- doctor of osteopathy
- physician assistant
- advanced practice nurse
- or doctor of chiropractic
- Your Social Security card
- A valid operator license
- An acceptable form of ID like a driver’s license or passport
- Proof that your presence in the United States is authorized under federal law. Arizona law and FMCSA regulation 49 CFR 383.71 require you to do so. Contact the AZ DOT for a list of acceptable proof of authorized presence.
- Then, prove one year of driving experience in a vehicle other than a motorcycle. For out-of-state applicants, your out-of-state license must have been issued more than one year ago or you can provide a motor vehicle record (MVR) issued by another state that shows proof of at least one year of driving history and is less than 30 days old.
- Finally, successfully complete all applicable knowledge and skills testing. There are fees, but they are quite affordable.
Trucking Schools in Arizona
Truck driver training schools are abundant in Arizona. Some of the most well-known are:
The state has some very reputable companies based there. One of them is ABF freight, who operates in the LTL (less-than-truckload) space. Operating for over 94 years, they have become an industry leader in cargo handling and claims prevention.
Northland Trucking Inc started in 1978 and is one of the top trucking companies in Arizona. They have very loyal customers and that network is constantly expanding. That alone tells you a lot about their work. Their area of service is mainly intrastate and California and Nevada. A very tech forward company, their gadgets allow for instant tracking and tracing for a peace of mind.
Eagle KMC Transportation is a leading over-the-road transportation company in Arizona. Their headquarters is in Tucson, AZ. This company is great for a driver who is looking for OTR, regional, or tanker trucking jobs.
Central Arizona Freight is a premier LTL transportation provider. Their fleet has over 85 trucks, all equipped with the latest technology. Their main area of service is Arizona, California, New Mexico, and El Paso, TX, though they also offer national services. This company has been awarded the Chairman’s award for having the safest fleet!
System Transport is the leading flatbed transportation provider in Arizona. Their company began in 1972 with 1 truck and they now have a fleet of over 800. Their large fleet means their customers don’t ever have to worry about stability or reliability issues with them. They are also new CDL graduate friendly and offers new grads a chance at gaining more experience while also getting paid!
Common Types of Arizona Trucking Jobs
Once you earn your CDL, you’re finally ready to start your new career in the trucking industry. One way you can earn a larger salary is to earn additional certifications. Following are a few certifications that can add those extra $$ to your paycheck.
Doubles and Triples
To become qualified to drive a truck that has multiple trailers, you need a doubles and triples certification. Throughout the certification process, you’ll learn the skills to safely connect and maneuver the extra trailers.
When you’re certified to drive a tanker, you can transport liquids. In order to so you need to learn how to safely fill and seal your tanker for transport. Tanker certified drivers are in high demand. Since many of the liquids are hazardous not to mention explosive, you’ll want to get your HAZMAT certification as well.
When you add a HAZMAT certification to your CDL, you can transport dangerous goods including gasoline, oil, or flammable materials. Because this type of driving has additional risks and requires additional knowledge, this job usually earns a higher salary (SOURCE).
A Day in the Life of a Trucker
There are plenty of pros and cons to any job. Before you become a trucker think about what type you want to be. Are you single and want to travel the country? Or maybe you’re married with kids? There are all types of drivers in all sorts of relationships but it seems that those who love trucking can think of no other way they’d prefer to live their lives.
Here are seven points to think about before deciding to become a trucker:
- Many drivers like to get moving before the light, while others prefer to drive through the night. Any time you can avoid the majority of the driving population is probably a good idea. Most of the time OTR drivers don’t have a particular “start time” so they can decide when to begin their day.
- Working up to 70 hours over an eight-day period is not unheard of. However, there are rules that trucking companies must follow. After 70 hours, you have to take a full 34 hours off. Also, you cannot drive more than 11 hours in a day and once that day is over it’s followed by a 10-hour break.
- Some drivers are paid hourly, but most of the time, compensation is calculated by miles driven.
- You can earn a better salary if you become a trainer, or haul oversize freight or hazardous materials.
- OTR drivers almost never have to unload freight, but they do sometimes have to wait around while shipping and receiving departments unload and check paperwork.
- Most drivers are expected to cover 125,000 miles per year. That’s somewhere around 2,500 miles a week, 500 miles a day. It’s definitely something to consider. Do you really like driving that much?
- A day in the life of a trucker is not all gloom and doom. There are many perks like the possibility of seeing the country, sitting up higher than most drivers, and hanging with other truckers. Plus, today’s trucks have all the modern conveniences like comfort with ergonomically designed seats, temperature controre (SOURCE).
Arizona Trucking In The News
Trucker accidentally shoots self then blames it on someone else
In June, law enforcement officials say a truck driver who reported being shot while driving on I-10 eventually confessed that he had shot himself accidentally.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety made this statement on its Facebook page:
“During an investigative interview with the commercial truck driver, he admitted to state detectives, that he accidentally shot himself within the cab of the commercial truck and falsely reported having been the victim of a shooting. The investigation remains open.”
Several media outlets originally reported that the driver had been shot while driving on I-10 (SOURCE).