Kansas CDL Truck Driver Salary Information
If you are a trucker in the state of Kansas you are in good company. There are currently close to 20,000 truck drivers in the state. Kansas is located geographically in the center of the U.S. bordered by four states: Colorado, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Nebraska.
Projected employment for truck drivers in Kansas between 2014 and 2024 is expected to increase by 8%, which is just a bit over the national increase of 6%. The average yearly salary for a truck driver in Kansas is $43,110. That’s quite good. However, if you are just starting out or if you’ve been on the job a number of years, your salary will vary. The lowest 10% is $26,890 and the highest 10% is $63,020 (SOURCE).
Wichita is the most populated city in Kansas yet doesn’t have the highest median salary neither does Topeka, the state capital. When looking at the median salaries of truck drivers in Kansas, the U.S. median salary is $41,340 with Kansas being fairly close at $40,370. Of course that changes as you move from city to city (SOURCE):
- Kansas City: $43,690
- Wichita: $40,740
- Topeka: $38,040
The average salary is figured by adding up all salaries and dividing by the number of figures you just added. The median salary is right in the middle of the list with 50% of salaries higher and 50% lower.
Researching Potential Kansas Trucking Employers
Benefits of Working for a Small Trucking Company
Whether you are a rookie or a seasoned professional looking for a new challenge, don’t forget about the smaller companies. It’s easy to look for the largest companies and think they have the most possibilities for future.
Maybe you’ve heard other drivers make negative comments about small trucking companies. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring job listings at small local companies. You never know how it might help your career.
Competitive Compensation Packages
In general, small trucking companies have more competitive compensation packages than national companies. National companies usually rely on company drivers. Often small companies split their loads between company drivers and owner-operators and this means less overhead. Less overhead and less employees mean fewer expenses so there’s more money left over, which if you are a savvy negotiator can go into your pocket.
Know Who You’re Working For
When you work for a local company, you’re more likely to know the company owner and other professionals within the company. You know what the company’s long-term goals are, and how you’re benefiting yourself, other drivers, and your local economy.
If you have a trucking position at a local company, your employer and managers see you every day and know how much you do for the company. If you have an emergency situation, they may be more flexible when you need to call in a favor. Also, because the company is smaller you build relationships with other drivers and hopefully have each other’s backs when someone is in trouble.
Who knows? You might really enjoy working for a small trucking company, especially if you like where you live. So don’t automatically go for the national trucking jobs without checking out the smaller companies, too.
Kansas CDL License Information and Insights
Basic Physical Qualifications
You are required to obtain a “Medical Examiner’s Certificate” to prove that you are physically capable of operating a commercial motor vehicle. Some of the requirements are as follows:
- Vision test. Eyeglasses or contact lenses are acceptable, but the use of corrective lenses should be noted on your Medical Examiner’s Certificate (and on your regular driver’s license).
- You cannot be a diabetic who requires insulin via needle injection.
- Hearing test.
- Blood Pressure: there can be no current diagnosis of high blood pressure that would interfere with your ability to operate a commercial motor vehicle safely.
- Conditions like sleep apnea may also be a disqualification.
Written and Knowledge Exams
To get a CDL, you must pass knowledge and skills tests. Study the Kansas CDL manual to help you pass the state exams. You still need a truck driver training class or program. The manual is not a substitute for learning. Formal training is the most reliable way to learn the skills needed to drive a large commercial vehicle and to become a professional truck driver.
Each person must take and pass a general knowledge test and any other tests that are appropriate for obtaining your job.
Skill and Road Testing
In addition to the knowledge tests, there is a hands-on skills test. When testing you must use the same class of commercial vehicle you need to be licensed for to do your job. The driving test has three parts (SOURCE):
- Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection
- Basic Vehicle Control
- On-Road Driving Exam
Types of CDL Licenses in Kansas
CDL licenses come in several classes. Depending on the type of CMV you drive for a living, the type will determine which class license you need.
Is for “combination” vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) over 26,000 pounds, and the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is more than 10,000 pounds. If you don’t have a job yet, get a Class A license because with a Class A CDL (plus any appropriate endorsements i.e. HAZMAT, Passengers, Doubles & Triples, etc.) you can also operate vehicles included in Class B, C, and D.
A single vehicle or combination vehicles where the GVWR of the single vehicle is more than 26,000 pounds. The vehicle being pulled must not be more than 10,000 pounds. A driver with a Kansas Class B CDL (plus appropriate endorsements) can also legally operate Class C or D vehicles.
Any single vehicle, or combination of vehicles, that does not meet the definition of Class A or Class B. Vehicles in this class are designed to transport 16 or more passengers including the driver, OR used to transport hazardous materials for the purposes of the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act and which require the motor vehicle to be placarded under the Hazardous Materials Regulations (49 CFR part 172, subpart F).
Private passenger, regular operator vehicles.
Kansas CDL Age Requirements
- You must be at least 18 years of age to drive within state lines (intrastate).
- You must be at least 21 years old
- Drive commercial vehicles across state lines (interstate)
- Haul hazardous materials (with proper endorsements)
Documents You Need to Bring When You Apply
You must be a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident to apply for a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP) or Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), per 49 CFR 383.71. When you apply, you must provide documents of identification proving your identity, lawful status in the U.S., Social Security number, and Kansas residency.
What Are The Tests?
Depending on what type of endorsements you need, you must take a test for each one:
- Hazardous Materials
- Air Brakes
- Doubles and Triples
- Combination Vehicles
- Tank Vehicles
- Passenger Vehicles
Kansas Trucking in the News
Kansas’s Sun Valley Trucking, located in Hutchinson, has so many Wilson trailers in its fleet that the national semi-trailer manufacturer asked the company to become an authorized repair center for its equipment.
“We own 150 Wilson trailers,” said Sun Valley president Keith Bauer. “What better person to partner with? They came out, inspected the place, and granted us authorization to become a warranty and repair center for them.” There are only two other authorized warranty centers in Kansas for the Iowa-based manufacturer, in Dodge City and Liberal.
“If a guy from North Carolina buys a Wilson trailer, and he’s coming through Kansas and has an issue he can stop here and get fixed it,” Bauer said. “We also do emergency roadside for basically anyone.”
“They will basically be our service center for central and eastern Kansas,” said John Wilkening, the Kansas sales representative for Wilson Trailer. “The next closest ones are in Oklahoma City and Grand Island, Nebraska.”
“They know our trailers very well and we were looking for somebody capable of doing service and warranty work for us,” he said. “We have confidence in Sun Valley Trucking to do the job right.”
Sun Valley Trucking started a mechanics shop to maintain its own fleet after the Kansas Truck Center closed. Then they started offering limited servicing for outside companies, in order to keep its shop employees busy.
“About 75% is servicing our own trucks, with 25% outside repair,” Bauer estimated. He believes Wilson repairs could grow to about 40% or 50% of the maintenance and repair business (SOURCE).