Oklahoma encompasses the intersection of three of America’s major highways – I-40, I-35, and I-44. These major highways make for a fantastic career in trucking. Whether you want to drive locally delivering to a set number of clients each day and going home at night, or if you want to work in an oilfield driving a tanker truck, over-the-road to see the country, or dedicated to one specific company like Wal-Mart, Albertson’s or any other big name companies, the choices are plentiful in Oklahoma.
There are more than 10,300 trucking companies located in the state and most of these are small, locally owned businesses that serve a wide range of supporting businesses. A regional driving job could take you into neighboring states including: Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, and Missouri (SOURCE).
There are only 57 people per square mile in the state of Oklahoma, but there are populated cities and these are where you want to start your job search if possible:
- Oklahoma City: 579,999
- Tulsa: 391,906
- Norman: 110,925
- Broken Arrow: 98,850
- Lawton: 96,867
Oklahoma Trucking Salary Information and Job Growth
Growth in the trucking industry between 2014 and 2024 is estimated to increase by 10% in Oklahoma while the rest of the U.S. is at 6%.
The average truck driver salary in Oklahoma is $42,040 per year. Of course, your salary will depend on several factors including years of experience and type of experience. If you are just starting out there are trucking companies that will train you for free when you come and work for them. It’s a great way to get started. If you have your own rig and charge by the hour, the average rate is $20.21. Average low salary is $26,970 and the high is $61,540.
The median salary for a driver in the U.S. is $41,340 but less in Oklahoma at $40,090. Median is the salary number exactly in the middle of all salaries – 50% are higher and 50% are lower. Median salaries for a few of the larger cities are (SOURCE):
- Tulsa: $39,580
- Oklahoma City: $38,480
- Lawton: $38,020
Here are a few trucking statistics that are related to Oklahoma trucking (SOURCE):
- Trucks carried 86% of total manufactured tonnage in the state.
- More than 75% of communities depend on trucks to move their goods.
- Oklahoma paid around $529.4 million in federal and state roadway taxes. That’s 41 % of all taxes and fees owed by Oklahoma motorists, yet trucks represent only 16% of vehicle miles traveled in the state.
CDL License Requirements in Oklahoma
Before you can drive a semi-truck, school bus, or other commercial motor vehicle in Oklahoma you must have an Oklahoma commercial driver’s license (CDL).
Determine the license class you need. It depends on what type of vehicle you’ll be driving:
- Class A: A combination of vehicles where the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle and trailer combine to equal 26,001 or more pounds AND the trailer’s GVWR is 10,001 or more pounds.
- Class B: A single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds. These vehicles can pull a trailer as long as the GVWR of the trailer is less than 10,001 pounds.
- Class C: A single vehicle with a GVWR less than 26,001 pounds, which requires a Hazardous Materials or Passenger endorsement.
Get a CDL Manual from the FMCSA website or pick up a copy from any Department of Public Safety testing facility. Apply for the CDL in person at any testing facility. Be prepared to take the written knowledge tests. You can make an appointment online for the application and written tests.
Proper Paperwork You Need For A CDL in Oklahoma
When you arrive to take the test, ensure you have the following paperwork to meet the requirements of a CDL. You will need to bring proof of U.S. citizenship which could be one of these things:
- Valid U.S. Passport
- Certified copy of a birth certificate
- Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) issued by the U.S. Department of State
- Certificate of Naturalization issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
- Certificate of Citizenship issued by DHS
Oklahoma lawful permanent resident requirements:
- Valid Permanent Resident Card, issued by United State Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS)
- Proof of Oklahoma residency
- Valid Oklahoma Class D driver license
A DOT medical card, if you plan on driving interstate (outside Oklahoma) with CDL vehicles. Self-certify which type of CDL driver you intend to be: Class A, B, or C.
Take the required written tests for your class of license and any endorsements you need. Once you’ve passed all the necessary written tests for your license type and endorsements, you’ll be issued paperwork to take to a tag office to print a CDL permit.
Oklahoma likes to put the pressure on – if you don’t pass the written tests the first time, your CDL Permit fees increase. Each day you retake one or more written tests, your permit fee increases by $4.00.
Oklahoma Trucking Related News
An Oklahoma lawmaker is working to fix an issue for the trucking industry that was created when lawmakers removed an exemption related to a 1.25 percent tax on motor vehicles.
Now, Oklahomans purchasing a vehicle will have to pay a 1.25 percent tax in addition to the 3.25 percent excise tax. Removing the exemption will generate $123 million within the next fiscal year.
Sounds great for government, but one Oklahoma state representative says the measure has a negative and unexpected impact on the trucking industry. Majority Floor Leader Jon Echols said he would file legislation to clarify that the removal of the exemption should not apply to the purchase or transfer of semi-trucks.
“We certainly want to protect the trucking industry in Oklahoma because of their contribution to job growth and economic development here,” said Echols. “We want to continue to be a primary destination for both large and small companies to tag their long-haul transportation vehicles. We will look at a legislative fix in the coming months, and I believe the Governor and Senate will support that effort.” (SOURCE)