Massachusetts CDL Truck Driver Salary Information
There is a lot of history in Massachusetts. In Boston, the Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile long path through the downtown area that passes 16 historic locations. In Charlestown you’ll find the USS Constitution, a historic battleship that President George Washington named after the Constitution of the United States.
Harvard is located in Cambridge and who could forget the witch trials in Salem? Henry David Thoreau wrote Walden while living in the woods in Concord. In addition to the history that permeates the state, the top industries in Massachusetts are restaurants, education, and hospitals.
Massachusetts is #3 on the list of top paying states for truck drivers. Only North Dakota and Alaska are higher. Massachusetts has a high density of people on its land – 867 people per square mile and maybe it’s all that supply and demand that makes for great pay for drivers. There are close to 25,000 drivers in the state and the average annual salary is $49,920. The average hourly rate is $24.00 (SOURCE).
When you look at the median salaries for drivers (median means that exactly 50% of the salaries are higher and 50% are lower), the median salary of the U.S. is $41,340 and for the state of Massachusetts is $48,050 (SOURCE). It gets even better when you break it down by area. The following are all higher than the U.S. median:
- Nantucket/Martha’s Vineyard: $52,370
- Boston/Cambridge: $50,840
- Peabody: $50,520
- Worchester: $47,480
- Taunton: $46,430
The projected increase in employment percentage for truck drivers in Massachusetts comes in lower 4% than the national projection of 6% according to that same source.
Types of Driver Jobs in Massachusetts
If you’re a new driver your choices may be a bit limited at first. You need to get a couple years of experience before you start looking for a specialized truck driving job. But for now you can plan ahead and learn the different opportunities that exist for truckers in Massachusetts and other states.
Dry Van Drivers
Try saying that three times fast. Most new drivers start as dry van drivers transporting the large single trailer vehicles you see on the highway filled with dry goods and non-perishable items. Most of the time, these jobs don’t require drivers to unload their trucks. Sweet!
Flat Bed Drivers
Flat bed trucks are easy to spot. They’re the literal flat metal frames that carry some type of oversized freight. Flat bed drivers need to know how to tarp and tie down their load securely. Not only for the public’s safety but for their own. Tarps can get slippery in the rain and one misstep can send you tumbling onto the ground. Also think of the accidents that could happen if a shipment became loose and pieces fell off the flat bed as it drove down the highway. Because you have to know what you’re transporting and understand how to properly tie down goods, flat bed drivers often have a higher salary.
Tanker drivers are usually in high demand, as this type of driving requires a great deal of knowledge on how to transport hazardous and flammable liquids. Also these drivers need to be ready to act in case of an emergency. As a tanker truck driver you may transport hazardous or non-hazardous liquids. If you’ll be transporting hazardous liquids remember you need to pass a written test, a background check, and be fingerprinted before you can have the H endorsement added to your CDL.
Refrigerated Freight Drivers
Some freight needs to be kept at a specific temperature. As an example, think about frozen foods, certain medical goods, and meat. Professional drivers that transport refrigerated freight are sometimes called reefer drivers, and no, they’re not transporting frozen weed. These drivers need to know how to set the truck temperature, check the freight on a regular basis, properly store items, and maintain consistent temperatures. Since this job has more responsibility, the salary is usually higher.
Freight haulers transport any goods not covered under dry van transportation. Basically it refers to the fact that you’re transporting oversized, liquid, or hazardous goods. Ensure you have the proper endorsement on your CDL if this is the type of job you want.
Massachusetts CDL License Information
You must meet the below requirements to be eligible for a commercial learner’s permit (SOURCE):
- Be at least 18 years of age to get an intrastate (Massachusetts only) transport CLP
- Be at least 21 years of age to earn an interstate (all states) transport CLP
- Have a Class D license that will be valid for the entire length of the commercial permit
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or legal presence in the country
- Have a valid Social Security number
- Be a resident of Massachusetts
- Not hold a driver’s license in another state
- Be clear of outstanding obligations to any state
- Meet minimum medical standards for the CDL
- Pass the CLP general knowledge exam
- Pass the combination vehicle exam, if applying for a Class A CLP
- Pass the hazardous material (H) endorsement exam or the passenger (P) endorsement exam, if applying for a Class C CLP
Commercial License Classes
Commercial motor vehicles are divided into 3 classes (Class A, B, and C) based on size, weight, and function. You must have the proper class of CDL to operate the corresponding commercial motor vehicle. In addition to Class A, B, and C, you may also need endorsements on your CDL depending on the type of truck you’ll be driving.
Tests for Classes A, B, and C
- General Knowledge Written Exam
- Combination Endorsement Written Exam
- Road Exam
Endorsements and Type of Exams
- H – Hazardous Materials – written exam*
- N – Tank Vehicles – written exam
- P – Passenger Transport – written and road
- T – Doubles/Triples – written exam (not in Class B or C) – Allows the customer to pull double or triple trailers. This endorsement is only available for Class A driver’s licenses. However, it is not a requirement for obtaining a Class A license.
- X – HazMat and Tank Vehicles – written exam
- L – Air Brakes – written and road
- S – School Bus – written and road
There are two requirements you must meet before obtaining or renewing a Hazardous Materials Endorsement.
1. Apply for and successfully pass the TSA’s Security Background Check. This is a requirement for all Hazardous Materials Endorsement applicants. It may take approximately 60 days to receive the results.
2. Take and pass the Hazardous Materials Endorsement exam. You can do this at the same time you obtain or renew your CDL.
Call 1 (877) 429-7746 or go to https://universalenroll.dhs.gov/ to begin the process.
One more test! You have to pass a Department of Transportation (DOT) physical exam. The examination must be conducted by a licensed “medical examiner” listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) National Registry. A DOT medical examiner’s certificate is generated when you pass the examination. Medical examiner’s certificates (MEC) are valid for 2 years (SOURCE).
Massachusetts Trucking in the News
Massachusetts truck driver loses job after giving Tampa residents plywood. A long-distance truck driver from Massachusetts says he never thought a plywood delivery to a Bay Area Home Depot would cause him to lose his job. Unfortunately that’s what happened after Tim McCrory gave away a truckload of plywood he should have delivered to a Home Depot store but was too late to be loaded onto shelves and sold before Hurricane Irma hit.
McCrory was working for Western Express, a Nashville-based trucking company and had picked up 15 pallets of plywood in South Carolina. He was supposed to deliver the load to the Home Depot but on the way, his truck got a flat tire, and he had to wait seven hours for a replacement so he could drive the rest of the way.
According to McCrory, he arrived at his destination around 9 p.m. but the store had already closed ahead of the storm. McCrory said a manager told him he couldn’t complete the delivery until Tuesday, so McCrory decided to wait out the storm in his vehicle.
Around 2:30 a.m. Saturday, McCrory says an off-duty police officer came by, searching for plywood. The officer told McCrory he had been working to prepare others for the storm and had not had time to secure his own home until then.
McCrory said that’s when he realized there was an urgent need in the area for plywood. Meanwhile, word spread among law-enforcement and first responders – who came in search of plywood. McCrory says they helped off-load his truck and handed plywood out to others in need.
“With the hurricane coming, I couldn’t just sit there and do nothing,” he said. McCrory says he knew he could lose his job, but also knew he could potentially help save lives.
Western Express said McCrory was not fired for his good deed. The company’s CEO, Paul Weick said McCrory left on his own. (We all know what that means.) “I’m glad people got something they needed, but at the same time, you can’t have people give away things that aren’t theirs,” Weick said.
The company doesn’t plan to investigate further since McCrory is no longer employed there and the companies involved are writing off the cost of the plywood. McCrory said 960 pieces of plywood had been given out by 6:30 a.m., helping secure as many as 200 households (SOURCE).