Nurse To Trucker

Topic 31392 | Page 1

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C B.'s Comment
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Hi guys! I just found this place and I have a lot of reading and research to do, but I thought I would start here and get your insights first.

I've been an ICU nurse for ten years, and everyone knows about the crap the healthcare industry has been dealing with lately. It has me thinking about totally getting out of healthcare altogether. I've always thought about a career in truck driving.

My son is older and my husband works on the river (28 days on, 14 off), so I don't think I would mind being away from home.

The biggest things I would have to consider before even thinking about the lifestyle would be pay and benefits, seeing as my current job has a pretty excellent package... but it comes at the cost of working us to the bone. I'm also sick of seeing people die every day. So, if you don't mind answering, what is your experience with pay in this current economy? What about health benefits?

ID Mtn Gal's Comment
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Welcome to Trucking Truth!

You will have to realize that's the first year as new driver, you will make less then those of us that have a number of years on the road. My First Year back in 2014/15 I made $36,000, and I ran a lot of miles but was being paid at 32cpm. I've been on the road over 7 years and it looks like I made a bit over $60,000...but I'm on my way home and hopefully my W2 will be there and I'llfind out for sure. I could go to another company and make more cents per mile, but I am very happy with my company and my $0.48 cpm.

As for benefits, what company has 401K but I'm 70 so no point in putting into that. They have insurance but I am a veteran and use the VA so there's no sense in having insurance. There'll be others along that can give you more in-depth detail about that. My 30 minutes is just about up and I need to push to my receiver cuz I deliver in the morning.

Take care!



Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Deleted Account's Comment
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Thank you for being there to help others when they need it most.

The biggest things I would have to consider before even thinking about the lifestyle would be pay and benefits, seeing as my current job has a pretty excellent package... but it comes at the cost of working us to the bone. I'm also sick of seeing people die every day. So, if you don't mind answering, what is your experience with pay in this current economy? What about health benefits?

Pay for an OTR driver their first year has gone up in recent years. Most drivers here have been reporting their first year earnings anywhere from $45k to $55k with a few lower and even higher. After a couple years of being maximizing your hours of service you could be $80 to $90k or more if you want to push yourself. That takes sacrifice though, you may opt to sleep at your pickup/ delivery location and skip a shower that day, get back to working as soon as you're legally able to (after 10 hours). The biggest thing to remember with most trucking jobs is you're paid by the mile. If your wheels ain't turnin u ain't earnin. For many people they dislike it. Your paycheck is directly affected by how productive you are. In most jobs your paycheck is based on how many hours you were there regardless of how productive you were at actually completing work. Personally, I'm not a fan of mileage pay but others love it.

Benefit costs/coverages are going to vary at each carrier like every industry. There are even companies (like Prime Inc) that the cost is higher your first year then goes down to about half of that your second year. My wife's (then girlfriend) dad worked for a smaller company and anytime she went to the doctor for an office visit it was $100 co-pay. Unfortunately most recruiters will not be willing to give out specifics for benefits costs or coverage until you're in orientation and hired. I tried to get a thread a few months ago during open enrollment with what benefits and costs are at the companies we drive for but it didn't gain much interest. You're going to find that of the OTR carriers that hire new drivers they'll offer the typical medical, dental, vision, 401k etc. Vacation time for most is a week or 2 after your first year. As an OTR driver generally you're generally expected to stay out a minimum 14 days at a time, and you're allowed to stay home for 2 days. Some carriers handle it differently but that's a rough idea of it.


Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Stevo Reno's Comment
member avatar

Making 60k ++ a year is easily doable within a year or 2 depends on who you get to drive for,and their cents per mile. At my first place just before I left was at 60 cents per mile big difference from the 48 cents I was at before they gave raises across the board to retain drivers. (CRST Team company) As far as health benefits, I don't opt to take insurance, since I really don't have a need for it, since I am pretty lucky to been healthy all my life, Don't get sick much, and really don't need doctors....YET lol Last flu bug I had was back in Sept 2014, nothing since (bro brought it home from his casino job) half a big bottle of Jack D's guzzled straight down, cured that bug the next day ! (and I'm NOT a drinker)

My new company I started with on Dec 2nd, at .59 cents per mile. doing about 3,000+ miles a week, most weeks. If I stayed here the whole year, making almost the same per week, I'd be on target to make over $75,000+, BUT I already started my early retirement at 62, taking my social security ( got 1st check Jan 12th) So, once I get to the maximum threshhold earnings of around $19,000 to not affect that S.S. monthly check,

I'm gunna leave this company on good terms of course, so "Just in case" I wanna return here I can lol. Moving to S.E. Asia, as soon as they reopen tourism to foreigners, and living out life there !

They're doing good by me, my 30 day $1,000 bonus came on time, plus an extra $500 I wasn't expecting ! And I see on my "Pending" amounts, on their app, I will get another $750 March 2nd, driver retention bonus @ 90 days, So I do like it here a LOT more !and they are a bit smaller (800+ trucks) Local Calif. drivers get paid an hourly rate, think $25 hour to start, not quite sure since I didn't wanna do that, I wanted and got more regional/dedicated runs from Calif to Tex/Okla, and back..

I'm netting anywhere from $1,300-$1,600 a week when I get in my 2+ loads. Looking back on my 1st month here of December, 2021 I took home $5,313.84, woulda been like $500-$600 more, but my first week I started on a Thursday, so only got my 1st load done lol I NEVER really made that kind of income as a mechanic for my 35 years as a mechanic !! I shoulda got into this gig 5+ years ago !

Dedicated Run:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."


Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

SeaDog's Comment
member avatar

I can relate to the new job change CB. I have been an electronics technician for 35 plus years and I, too, am looking at a major career change. Been looking at several companies (reefers, dry bulk and flatbeds and just don't know if this 56 year old carcass can handle slinging tarps. ZERO experience with big trucks other than following them out on the interstate in my 4 wheeler LOL. Got some fond memories of two drivers that picked up my family in Reno, NV and drove us completely across country to make my grandfather's funeral days later. Lot of respect for the "good" drivers out there. These guys gave my girls their CB handles that many years ago. Let's keep in touch! Scott AKA SeaDog

CB Handle:

This is the nickname people use on the CB


Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).


A refrigerated trailer.


Operating While Intoxicated

Anne A. (and sometimes To's Comment
member avatar

You could also read some posts from Don on here, CB ....

He went from a Nurse to a Trucker!!! (Search Posts by Member tab will yield.)

Best wishes!

~ Anne ~

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