CDL drivers have a lot of great opportunities to work in a rewarding career that empowers them to earn a good living doing what they love most: driving. As an oil field truck driver, you’re entering one of the trucking industry’s most in-demand sectors.
Of course, the one caveat to the high oil field truck driver pay is that you need to live close to oil fields for this to be a job option.
If you live in Texas, New Mexico or some of the larger oil-producing states, you can enter this industry and get a leg up in driver pay. However, if you live in a state, such as Virginia, which only produces three thousand barrels of oil annually, there’s very little demand for an oil field truck driver. You would be better off as an OTR tanker driver in those low oil-producing states.
Average Oil Field Truck Driver Salary
Oil field truck drivers have a salary that ranges from $24,500 to $101,500. A median oil truck driver’s salary is between $45,000 and $74,200. Nationwide, most oil field truck drivers earn over $74,000 or around $36 an hour in their position.
States with higher oil production volumes have much more competition, but the increase in competition doesn’t mean that pay is higher.
- New York City’s oil field truck driver salary is about $12,500 higher than the national average, but there’s little demand in the area. Landing one of these higher-paying jobs may be difficult in NYC.
- California pays significantly more than most states, with five of the top ten paying cities being in the state.
However, a state, such as Texas, has significant demand for oil field drivers. Demand is high because the state produces the most volume of oil in the country, and this means higher job security even if the salary cannot meet the high rates seen in New York City.
States With the Highest Oil-Producing Volumes
Every state has some demand for an oil truck driver, but a list of the most producing states from highest to lowest is:
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- West Virginia
- South Dakota
Once you go beyond these states, the remaining produce less than 210,000 barrels of oil per year, making the demand in these states much lower. Texas is the state with the highest production of over 1.7 billion barrels of oil – more than the next 10 states combined.
How Much Experience Do You Need to Drive in the Oil Field Industry?
Demand for qualified drivers is higher in some states than in others. Most trucking companies specializing in hauling oil will want drivers to have 1 – 2 years of experience. However, due to the extremely high demand for truckers, some companies are willing to take on CDL drivers that are straight out of trucking school.
You’ll find positions available for many different sub-sectors in the oil industry, such as:
- FRAC driver
- Oil route service driver
- Waste oil driver
You may even find local routes, where you deliver gas to customer locations, too.
However, if you want to position yourself to be an oil truck driver with the greatest chance of being hired, the skills listed below will help.
What Does It Take to Be an Oil Field Truck Driver?
To work as an oil field truck driver, you’ll need a CDL A, but that’s just the start of the skills and endorsements you’ll need to work in this field.
If you want to work in the oil fields, you’ll need a HAZMAT endorsement. Oil and gas are dangerous to work with. The HAZMAT endorsement will ensure that you understand how to inspect your vehicle properly, transport cargo, load/unload, couple/uncouple and more.
Oil field truckers should also have some basic mechanical skills. Many drivers can fix their own rigs (to a degree) when needed. At the very least, you should know how to change a tire or perform basic mechanical work. Often, drivers work in isolated locations where it can take a while for help to arrive. Having these skills can help you get back on the road more quickly or stay safe in the meantime while help is on the way.
Truckers in this field have to be quick on their feet and decisive. They have to feel comfortable working in harsh conditions and performing dangerous tasks. Those with passive personalities may not do so well in this field.
It’s also helpful for oil field truckers to be fit and healthy. Working in the oil fields is hard work, even for truckers. Having a higher level of strength and stamina can certainly give you an upper hand in this line of work.
Oil field truck driver salaries are high, with immense demand in some states and very sparse positions, in states, such as Virginia. If you live in one of the high oil-producing states, you’ll find that a career in the oil transportation industry often gives ample home time, great benefits and decent pay.