This post was last updated on July 19th, 2019
If you are thinking about becoming a truck driver, there are a number of different career tracks you can pursue. One of those is work as a dump truck driver. Dump truck drivers operate large vehicles to transport loose materials in an open hydraulic bed. They typically operate at construction sites, but may also work in other environments such as mining operations or storage facilities. Materials they transport may include coal, gravel, sand, crushed rock, or paving materials.
The thought of operating a dump truck is an exciting one; it may take you back to childhood when you played with plastic trucks and dreamt of operating large equipment someday when you grew up. But do dump truck careers pay well? Are they among the best trucking jobs? Will you be able to build a future for yourself in this occupation?
Dump Truck Driver Salary According to the BLS
It is always good to start by taking a look at the official data. Dump truck drivers fall under the category of Heavy and Tractor-trailer Truck Drivers as designated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS keeps comprehensive records of the pay scale for truck drivers in this category.
According to BLS data, the 2015 median pay for all drivers in this category was $40,260 per year, which comes out to $19.36 per hour. The majority of drivers work full-time.
Keep in mind that this data is for all truck drivers in the heavy-duty category. That includes dump truck drivers, but also encompasses other truck drivers as well.
The lowest 10% of truck drivers in this category earned less than $26,240, while the highest 10% earned more than $62,010.
You can compare that $40,260 to the total for all occupations, which is $36,200, and the total for all motor vehicle operators, which was just $34,170.
In short, many people who drive other types of motor vehicles for a living actually make less than the median annual wage for all occupations. But those who drive heavy-duty trucks like dump trucks tend to make more.
Additional Data on the Dump Truck Driver Pay Scale
While the information from the BLS is useful, it is not all that specific. So it helps to take a look at some of the other salary figures which are reported by independent websites.
How much do dump truck drivers make in a year according to other websites?
Indeed.com reports that dump truck drivers make an average of $31,000 per year.
PayScale.com reports hourly pay rates. According to this website, the average hourly wage of a dump truck driver is around $15.52 per hour. The site also reports that the hourly pay for beginning drivers is not much different from the hourly pay for experienced drivers.
There may also be hourly tips and overtime. The overtime ranges from $15.54 and $29.78. Tips are marginal. When bonuses and profit sharing are added into the mix, the total annual pay may range from $25,351-$52,695.
Since $40,260 was the median pay reported by the BLS, it is safe to assume that the majority of dump truck drivers do earn a lower salary, perhaps closer to the $31,000 reported by Indeed.com. Remember, this is just a tad lower than the national average for all occupations.
Some experienced dump truck drivers who work in certain environments or regions may make more money. For example, if you haul coal, you may be able to earn more, because a coal mine is a high-risk environment. You also might earn more if you enter a supervisory role. Certain employers may pay better than others as well, and much also depends on your role in the company (contractor vs. employee).
What Are The Highest Paying States For Dump Truck Drivers?
A survery of industry resources shows that the state with the highest pay for trucking jobs is in Mississippi, followed closely by Wyoming and New York.
The salaries reported for these states are $68,000, $61,000 and $60,000 respectively. Keep in mind however that these numbers include all trucking jobs, not just dump truck driving.
The bottom line is that you can earn a middle-income salary as a dump truck driver, but you should not expect to get rich doing it. You also need to be aware that while you can climb up the ladder, there isn’t a whole lot of room for growth.
Still, dump truck driving can pay you enough to live comfortably doing something that you are passionate about. The BLS reports that this field is growing at a rate of 5%, which is as fast as average. Between 2014-2024, that represents 98,800 new job openings. So if you dream about operating the open hydraulic bed of a dump truck at a construction site or a quarry, maybe this is the time to think about enrolling in trucking school!