Light Truck Drivers: Salary Overview
Light truck drivers operate trucks and vans that have a capacity of fewer than 26,001 pounds (Gross Vehicle Weight).
They typically transport merchandise and packages but may also be responsible for loading and unloading the vehicle.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage reported by light truck drivers in the United States was $34,730 as of May 2019, which means that half of all workers in this profession earned less than this amount while half earned more.
This is lower than the national average salary across all occupations- which in May 2019 was $39,810 according to BLS.
Salaries vary depending on a wide range of factors such as experience level, the industry of employment, region, skills, and local economy.
The same report shows that the bottom 10 percent reportedly earned less than $21,060 while the top 10 percent made more than $65,400 annually as of May 2019.
Light Truck Driver Salary by Industry
Salaries for this profession vary widely depending on the industry of employment.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the biggest employers for light truck drivers in 2019 were couriers and express delivery services, and automotive parts, accessories, and tire stores.
Salaries for light truck drivers vary widely between these two industries.
Those who worked for couriers and express delivery services companies reportedly earned $54,110 on average as of May 2019 while those who worked for automotive parts, accessories, and tire stores made less than half this amount.
The average annual wage for drivers employed by stores that sell automotive parts, accessories, and tires was only $25,130.
Light truck drivers employed in the field of truck transportation reportedly earned $43,150.
The average annual wage was calculated at $38,750 for light truck drivers who worked in the field of local messengers and local delivery and $38,470 for those who worked for merchant wholesalers of nondurable goods.
The report published by BLS shows that higher-than-average salaries were typically reported in industries that don’t typically hire many truck drivers such as the natural gas distribution field, electric power generation, transmission and distribution, and the postal service.
Light truck drivers employed in the field of natural gas distribution reportedly took home $64,600 per year on average.
The average annual wage was $58,980 for light truck drivers who worked in the field of electric power generation, transmission, and distribution and $55,520 for those who worked for the postal service.
However, as the numbers show, the industry with the highest level of employment for this profession, couriers and express delivery services, offers a salary that is close to the one offered by these high-paying fields.
Having good driving skills qualifies you for employment in a variety of sectors.
You can work for florists, for wholesalers of motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts and supplies, or even for promoters of performing arts, sports, and similar events.
The only things that limit you are the weight limit, the type of vehicle that you are allowed to drive, and the type of cargo that you can carry.
Better career opportunities may occur if you also get a commercial driver’s license which will qualify you for multiple types of vehicles, including CMVs that carry more than 16 passengers, carrying hazardous materials, and driving trucks that are above the 26,000-pound weight limit.
According to BLS, on average, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers earned more than light truck drivers.
The median annual wage reported by drivers of vehicles that weigh more than 26,000 pounds was $45,260 as of May 2019.
So getting a CDL license for heavier trucks can improve your earning prospects.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Light Truck Drivers. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.