Job Facts about Tanker Truck Driving Jobs

Tanker truck driving jobs are a bit different than the more common tractor-trailer hauling jobs. They require more skills, but the financial reward for tanker truck driving is also greater. This article will briefly look at the training and requirements for tanker truck drivers as well as the work environment.

The Work of Tanker Truck Driving Jobs

Tanker trucks are powerful vehicles that haul liquid or semi-liquid cargo in long metal containers. Examples of liquid cargo can include fuel, food products and chemicals. The cargo can often be dangerous. The liquids can be flammable, corrosive, poisonous or even explosive. Handling such cargo requires extensive safety training. Driving trucks with a heavy liquid load also requires a different touch than hauling dry goods like lumber or furniture.

Experienced tanker truck drivers are much in demand for their specialized knowledge and skills. This demand can also translate into more pay.

Training and Education

A tanker driver will need to obtain a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) from a certified truck driving school. Many vocational and trucking schools across the country offer on-the-road training for drivers. However, a tanker driver needs extra training for handling liquid cargo safely. You must pass the Tank Vehicle Examination before you can get a tanker CDL. The exam focuses strenuously on the safety aspects of driving a tanker truck.

Many companies that run tanker trucks will offer their own training for the job. An entry-level driver (who usually has experience driving other types of trucks) will often be paired with a veteran tanker driver, who acts as a mentor. Because of constant advances in technology, driver education is an ongoing process.


The pay for a tanker truck driver can vary greatly. A lot depends on if you work directly for a company as an employee or if you are an independent trucker (own your rig and can choose your own jobs). The length of the truck route also plays a part. Some tanker routes can be local or in-state, while others will take the driver across the country and even into Canada or Mexico. The longer routes are grueling but pay more. 

The average tanker truck driver who is a company employee averages about $40,000 to $50,000 a year. An independent tanker driver can make more because of picking the jobs to take. The independents often take the very long and difficult routes and can make into six figures. But they must also pay all the repair and maintenance costs on their trucks.


The tanker driver's lifestyle again depends largely on the kind of route they drive. An in-state driver can expect to be home more than one driving a transcontinental route. The focus on safety remains constant no matter the size of the route. The tanker driver must spend more time than the typical truck driver checking his cargo. This is in addition to maintaining the rig itself. It is demanding and physical work that can be monotonous, especially for long-route drivers.

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