It should come as no surprise that different types of cargo require different types of trucks. Likewise, different trucks require truckers with different qualifications and licensing. Whether you are a veteran trucker looking to learn more about available jobs, looking to become a trucker yourself, or just interested in the trucking industry, you may want to learn about the types of trucking jobs in the U.S. and beyond. Although jobs can vary beyond those listed below, this post includes the most common truck driving jobs you’ll run into.
Types of Trucking Jobs
The most recognizable type of truck, dry vans, are the standard used to transport non-perishable goods. Most rookie drivers start with a dry van, as other jobs typically require more skill and experience.
Flatbed trucks are frequently seen hauling unique cargo. Given the flexibility of the trailer, these trucks are used when cargo cannot easily be hauled in a traditional dry van. Drivers are more experienced because they must be able to ensure that cargo remains securely tied down throughout their entire trip.
Any liquids, from gasoline to water, are hauled in a tanker. Since the center of gravity is frequently changing in these trucks, drivers must be highly experienced and are subsequently paid more for their services. Tankers can haul either hazardous or non-hazardous material.
Refrigerated Freight (Reefer)
Commonly referred to as reefers, refrigerated freight trucks closely resemble standard dry vans. The cargo they haul must be kept at specific temperatures. Frequently, this cargo is made up of food products or medical supplies. The drivers of these trucks are not only responsible for ensuring that their load reaches its destination, but also for keeping it at its required temperature.
LTL, or less-than-truck-load, doesn’t actually refer to a specific type of truck but rather a type of delivery. LTL freight drivers make multiple stops throughout the day without carrying a full truckload. Since their cargo is usually not as large, LTL drivers are often expected to load/unload their own trucks.
Local, Regional, and OTR
Similar to LTL, Local, Regional, and OTR do not refer to any types of trucks. Each of these terms refers to a unique type of delivery. For example, local drivers usually only make deliveries within their specific city. While regional drivers may venture somewhat further, they are also usually restricted in the distance that they drive. Both of these are common for drivers with their Class B CDL license type, as they often only require drivers to drive within one state. However, OTR, or over the road trucking, often requires drivers to transport cargo further distances. While OTR is a great way to earn extra money, local and regional driving may be best for drivers who want to return home frequently, if not every night.
During the course of your career or just your time on the road, you may run into other types of trucking jobs as well. However, this provides a basic overview of some of the most common trucks and jobs that you will see. If you are interested in finding trucking jobs in any of these areas, browse our available jobs listings!