What’s the best truck driving specialization?

The first big step most drivers make when they decide to take their job to the next level is a specialization.

We asked our community of over 300,000 drivers what the best driving specialization is for truckers today. We highlight 16 of the best answers here. 


Overall, the best specializations according to our drivers are tanker, hazmat and refer with fuel coming in close.



Love my tanker! 

-Matthew King


Tanker, hazmat, dry van, flatbed.

 -Julie Clark 


I love pulling tanker the best.

-Lee Homme 


Who ever pays the most with the better benefits, you can haul anything.

-Robert Schied 


I've been pulling tanker for over 30 years, food grade and haz-mat. No axles to slide, wasting time sitting at a dock. Easy to unload.

-Bruce Wehner 


Heavy haul.

-Cody Ogden 


Doubled and tankers and even hazmat.
-BD Russ 


Reefer, everyone has to eat.

-Jason Purcey 


Tank and fuels.

-Ken See 



-Terry Batchelor 


Twick, hazmat, tanker.

-Pamela Ritchie 


Whatever works for the individual.

-William Stewart 


Cattle haul: still gets respect and law enforcement is loathe to stop you.

-Milton Kendrick 


I believe the best pay is for hauling radioactive waste.

-Mike Bell 


Everyone is saying tanker and they may be right, but I think it’s specialized heavy haul. Windmill blades, etc.. I’m probably wrong though.

-Dave Neadeau 





The quickest way to increase your pay in trucking is by obtaining specializations. These are dependent on further education after completing CDL school and have a high need across the nation. 



HazMat drivers, for example, have to receive specialized training in order to haul hazardous materials safely and efficiently. 



Flatbed trucks behavior is a bit different than trailers, which may influence the goods security. So you have to know what you are transporting and how the goods should be tied or packed very well. These are usually such types of goods as odd-shaped items or oversized freight. Flatbed jobs often assume the high trucker salary.



Other specialization that pay out well are heavy haul and tanker drivers as well as refrigerated truck drivers. 



Ask your dispatch manager or hiring manager what types of specializations would help you make money. Managers will know what opportunities are available in the company, and they may be able to share training resources or pay for a specialization test.



Having a specialization under your belt will set you apart from other drivers and make your skill set grow as well! 



The number one thing we hear from drivers when we ask them why they chose a life on the road is the great pay. There are a lot of drivers out there that think the only way to make more money in the industry is to stay long-term with a company or become an owner operator. Aside from specializations, there are two other ways to increase pay as a driver. These ways take more time, but have long term results. 



If You Stay Safe, You’re a Safe Bet:



When you maintain a clean record of safety, companies notice. The desirability of a driver with a strong record of safety far outweighs that of a driver who has had accidents in the past. They show how detail-oriented and cautious you are over time, which is especially important if an employer is looking to hire long-term. 



If your safety record has issues, you may only be accepted as a driver with companies that offer lower-than-average pay or less-than-exceptional benefits. A strong safety record is the most important part of a driver’s work history.



Keep Your Eyes On The Horizon: 



As you grow in experience and gain traction in the industry, you’ll want to keep your options open for higher paying opportunities. Even if you’re happy with your current job, it is good to know what else is out there. 



If you see offers that compete with yours and you would be willing to switch carriers for the extra pay or benefits, talk to your current carrier about it first. They may be able to match or exceed the competitor’s offer. If they are unwilling to compromise, it may be time to move to a better opportunity.



If you’re a driver that has won awards from carriers or industry organizations, you can use the recognition to increase your pay and find a carrier that fits best for you. 



There are plenty of ways to increase your income in the industry. Get a specialization, invest in yourself over time, gain experience, and keep a strong safety record. 



If you keep your eye open for opportunities and are ready to act when one shows itself, you’ll be able to get exactly what you want from trucking.