South Carolina business is booming. Government is the largest business in the state, employing an estimated 19% of the state’s non-farm workforce. Many industries help employ truck drivers, too. The SC automotive industry is third in the nation and home to more than 250 automotive and automotive-related companies including the large BMW plant located in Greer.
There are over 100 aerospace-related companies. Boeing expanded its operations in SC to create a second final assembly line for the 787 Dreamliner. The recycling market is really expanding with more than 500 companies that broker, collect, and transform materials into new products (SOURCE).
South Carolina is also home to the seventh largest container port in the U.S. – the Port of Charleston.
Perhaps The Palmetto State will soon change its name to Hauling Heaven.
South Carolina CDL Truck Driver Salary and Job Growth
The trucking industry is expected to grow 9% between 2014 and 2024 whereas the U.S. growth comes in a bit lower at 6%.
South Carolina is also home to hundreds of years of history. Fort Sumter is another sea port in the state known for two battles during the Civil War. The USS Yorktown is a 5-acre aircraft carrier used by the Navy during WWII.
When you want to kick back and enjoy life there’s Hilton Head Island, Fripp Island, Kiawah Island, Isle of Palms, and more along the SC coast.
The average salary for a truck driver in South Carolina is $41,110 per year and an average $19.76 per hour. The average high salary is $61,110 and the average low is $26,260. Your salary will fall in there somewhere depending on your driving record and experience. Cities with the largest populations are often the best place to find a job. There’s more opportunity. These are the top 5 for SC:
- Columbia: 129,272
- Charleston: 120,083
- North Charleston: 97,471
- Mount Pleasant: 67,843
- Rock Hill: 66,154
Median wages vary, too depending on the city:
- South Carolina (state median): $38,340
- Spartanburg: $41,250
- Florence: $41,060
- Charleston: $40,540
- Greenville: $38,200
- Columbia: $37,840
- Myrtle Beach: $30,230
South Carolina CDL License Information and Insights
When you apply for a commercial driver’s license (CDL), you need to provide information on any previous driver’s licenses, such as:
- Your commercial learner’s permit (CLP)
- If you’re moving from a CLP to a first-time CDL
- Renewing a CDL or CLP
- Transferring your out-of-state CLP or CDL to South Carolina
- Upgrading or downgrading your CDL class or endorsement(s)
The SCDMV will check your driving history in other states looking for any traffic violations you committed over the past ten years using the Problem Driver Pointer System (PDPS) and the Commercial Driver License Information System (CDLIS).
These checks happen whenever you apply for an original CDL, renew a CDL, retest for a CDL, or move from a CLP to a CDL. Your CDL may be suspended or revoked if there are unresolved or disqualifying violations.
You will not be able to hold a commercial driver’s license if you have committed any of the following:
- Drove a commercial vehicle without a CDL
- Drove a commercial vehicle without a CDL with you
- Drove without a required endorsement
- Drove a commercial vehicle with a revoked, suspended, or canceled CDL
- Caused a death through the negligent or criminal operation of a commercial vehicle
Medical Examiner’s Certificate
If you’re a commercial driver, you must maintain a medical examiner’s certificate that complies with FMCSA regulations. The medical examiner you use must be a professional listed on the FMCSA’s National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.
Every time you apply for a CLP, a CDL, upgrade or renew a CDL license, change your address, or order a duplicate CDL, you must submit proof that you are medically qualified to drive. You can fax your certificate to 803-896-2676 or scan and email it to the SCDMV if it’s replaced before you need a new CDL.
Social Security Verification
The SCDMV uses the Social Security Number Verification System to verify your name, date of birth, and social security number against your Social Security Administration (SSA) record. If the information you provide doesn’t match your SSA record, you will need to correct or verify the information with the SSA before we can issue you a CDL (SOURCE).
This will happen whenever:
- You’re applying for your first commercial learner’s permit (CLP) or CDL.
- You’re a new resident switching your out-of-state CLP or CDL for an SC CLP or CDL.
- You’re applying for a change in CDL class A, B, or C.
New Drivers in South Carolina
A little known trucking job that’s ideal for beginning drivers goes by many names – yard truck switcher, yard hostler, yard driver or trailer jockey. To be considered for a yard truck switcher position you need to have a current Class A CDL. Some employers may hire drivers who are working on getting a CDL and those who have recently earned one but have little commercial driving experience.
Operating & Inspecting Equipment
You need to be able to maneuver a semi with a trailer, and able to back the trailer up to dock doors, even when there are other trailers on both sides. Be prepared to perform pre- and post-trip inspections on tractors and trailers.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Sometimes you’ll have to clean out trailers before or after you move them. If you’re working with refrigerated trailers, you should know how to monitor and adjust the temperature for each load’s specific requirements.
As a yard driver you need to be physically fit since you’ll be climbing in and out of tractors to hook, unhook and inspect trailers. The job is definitely not sitting throughout your shift because you’ll be doing a good deal of walking, lifting, bending and you’ll be exposed to the elements.
Yard drivers usually have a set schedule so you’ll always know when you’ll be working. Because many warehouses and trucking companies are 24/7 operations there are different shifts available (SOURCE).
South Carolina Trucking in the News
In South Carolina almost half of commercial drivers are over 52 years of age and many of the state’s trucking companies have driver shortages. What’s a company to do? The need for more drivers is critical, and the problem is not confined to South Carolina only.
Some incentives to get new drivers include scholarship programs and tuition reimbursement for training. Also an assessment of the state’s technical colleges to ensure there are enough instructors in the CDL courses.
One big way the General Assembly can assist with the issue is by having public agencies use their truck fleets for entry-level jobs for newly licensed CDL drivers. Because government agencies have limited liability, with supervised, in-state drivers who generally don’t travel at top speeds, they could hire these inexperienced drivers and provide them with invaluable skills.
However, insurance can be difficult to get for entry-level CDL drivers due to their lack of experience. It’s the old Catch 22; Drivers can’t get experience, and companies can’t hire them, because they can’t be insured.
The truck driving industry in South Carolina almost always has numerous openings because trucks transport 84% of manufactured freight in the state (SOURCE).