Typical over-the-road, dry van driving jobs will tend to be on the lower end of the truck driver's pay scale, but are excellent starting points for new drivers to establish their career.
Some regional, local, and dedicated jobs may pay a little higher, or offer more attractive perks for drivers, and generally the greater the hassle or risk, the higher the pay.
The real high-paying jobs are in the specialized & niche market-type jobs, like log trucks & car carriers, and even things like driving for NASCAR racing teams, or tour buses and trucks for music artists and other traveling performers.
Safe drivers who run hard can make an excellent salary in general, even if they're only in a OTR dry van position.
That said, there are certain types of jobs and scenarios that will push that salary higher, from extra pay for things like tarping, etc., to specialized jobs like cattle haulers and logging trailers, and of course ice-road trucking.
Wiki - What Kind Of Truck Driving Jobs Pay The Most Money?
Generally, hauling the more specialized classes of freight, or niche market, will tend to pay more. For OTR drivers, dry van loads will normally pay the least, but require the least amount of hassle, experience, and/or risk.
Wiki - Types of Specialized Trailers In Trucking
Aside from the main categories of trailers in the trucking industry, there are a few types that are very specific in their use. They will often require specialized training and more experience. These types of jobs usually pay higher wages.
Wiki - How Does Trailer Type Affect Truck Driver Pay?
Generally, the more complicated, risky, or involved the load is for the driver, the higher the pay rate will be.Different types of trailers and freight will require different levels of attention, experience, and effort by the driver.