Earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL) opens the door to many different career paths. Not all of these have to involve truck driving and you may work as a CDL school instructor, dispatcher, highway maintenance technician, et cetera. Even within the realm of trucking, there is a great deal of variety. Different types of trucking have varying home time, pay, and lifestyles associated with them. There are three broad categories based on the length of routes: local, regional, and over-the-road (OTR).
Local Truck Driving
Local drivers haul freight within a relatively small geographic area. Your workday will usually last between 8 and 10 hours and you will typically be home every night. You may have a dedicated route that you drive every day, or it may vary depending on the customers that need deliveries. Driving can sometimes be more difficult and you will often need to back into loading docks and make multiple stops per day. The major benefit of local truck driving jobs is the consistent home time.
Types of Local Trucking:
- Pick-up and delivery (P&D) jobs for less-than-truckload (LTL) freight
- Some delivery trucks
- Specialized hauls
Regional Truck Driving
Regional routes are within the radius of a few states. The lifestyle and day-to-day responsibilities are often fairly similar to OTR jobs. Home time will depend on the company, but many regional jobs get drivers home every weekend. This is a good middle ground between local and OTR, both in terms of home time and pay. Dedicated routes are common for regional jobs, which means you will get used to a specific routine of driving. Some drivers consider this a benefit, whereas others prefer more variety.
Types of Regional Trucking:
- Linehaul LTL drivers
- Full truckload for various types of freight; may include refrigerated (reefer) trucks, tankers, flatbed trucks, etc.
OTR Truck Driving
OTR is what most people think of when they think of trucking. These drivers are on the road for multiple weeks at a time and travel coast-to-coast. There are some dedicated OTR routes, but it is common to have more variety in what loads you are assigned. These types of trucking jobs have high earning potential and the best truck drivers work hard at becoming more efficient to maximize their pay.
Types of OTR Truck Driving:
- Various types of freight, similar to regional trucking
- Solo driving jobs
- Team driving jobs
- Owner-operator trucking
Find Your Niche in the Trucking Industr
At HDS Truck Driving Institute (HDS truck driving school), our job placement assistance team can help you determine which jobs would be the best fit for you. We give our students the skills they need to succeed regardless of the type of trucking they pursue.