what is a truck driver?

As a truck driver, you pick up goods from one location and drive them to their destinations. You deliver a variety of items depending on the industry you work in. For instance, your job may involve delivering raw materials to a construction site or manufacturing company. As a truck driver, your primary focus is transporting cargo safely and efficiently. You use the recommended routes and ensure you meet the delivery schedule. Your job might also involve taking care of the receipt and delivery cargo.

Aside from driving trucks, you also perform other duties like loading and unloading goods. You are also responsible for vehicle maintenance, like cleaning the trucks and completing minor repairs before using the vehicles. Since you move cargo long distances, knowing all the traffic laws in Australia is essential. You also ensure your cargo doesn't exceed the recommended weight. Most companies and warehouses have weighbridges to measure the weight of the trucks as they leave the warehouses. Your job also involves dealing with timesheets and you carefully log safety incidents.

Truck drivers work for various industries that rely on road transport to deliver goods. Aside from transporting solid raw materials and products, truck drivers also use tankers to transport oil or liquid products.

truck driver jobs

average truck driver salary

As a truck driver, your average remuneration package is $75,000 annually. New truck drivers with minimal experience take home $50,000 annually, while experienced truck drivers earn over $100,000 yearly. Some employers provide additional allowances like medical and life insurance schemes for employees. Other companies offer bonuses and overtime pay to incentivise truck drivers. You may also enjoy non-monetary benefits like annual sick leave.

what factors affect the salary of a truck driver?

Your remuneration package fluctuates depending on your qualifications and experience. While truck drivers don't require formal education, having a Certificate III in driving operations improves your salary prospects. Driving experience also determines your earnings. With an exceptional driving record, you will likely earn more than a new driver with minimal knowledge of driving heavy trucks.

The industry you work in also determines your remuneration package. For instance, working in manufacturing or construction companies may attract a higher salary due to the complexity of the role. Transporting liquids like oils in tankers also improves your earnings since they are high-risk products. The vehicle sizes also influence your salary. Operating large vehicles is physically demanding and often attracts higher wages than driving medium-sized cargo trucks.

Want to know what you will earn as a truck driver? Check out what you are worth with our salary checker.

truck driver salary

types of truck drivers

Some of the types of truck drivers include:

  • heavy truck drivers: as a heavy truck driver, you drive heavy trucks to carry bulky goods or raw materials. You usually transport large equipment or machinery to manufacturing companies or a work site. Sometimes, you transport heavy loads in specially designed trailers attached to the truck. You rely on a pilot vehicle operator to stay safe on the roads.
  • tow truck drivers: you ferry damaged vehicles from the roadway to the mechanic's shop. The role involves working all hours, including nights. You also work in rigourous weather to assist stranded vehicle owners.
  • bulk liquid drivers: as a bulk liquid driver, you carry pressurised gases or liquids in large quantities in a tanker. The tankers are specially designed to transport the liquids safely. Bulk liquid drivers usually work for the chemical and mining industries.
  • livestock transport drivers: as a livestock driver, you transport sheep and cattle between farms or ports for export. Since you transport large numbers of livestock, you require experience transporting bulky goods and live animals. You will likely work in remote areas and should be familiar with driving on unsealed roads.


working as a truck driver
working as a truck driver

working as a truck driver

If you are looking for an outdoor career that allows you to travel, find out more about the work schedules and specific tasks involved in the role.



education and skills

Most employers provide on-the-job training, so you don't need formal qualifications. However, you should complete Year 10 education and obtain an unrestricted driver's licence from the state licencing authority. Your employer expects you to have an impeccable driving record. Since trucks are heavy vehicles, completing a Heavy Vehicle Competency Assessment test in your preferred vehicle category is necessary.

Completing a Certificate III or IV in driving operations through a TAFE institution or a registered training organisation is also helpful. The course equips you with truck-driving knowledge, from managing fatigue to basic maintenance tasks. You may need special licences when you drive cargo like hazardous liquids.

truck driver skills and competencies

Some of the qualities necessary for truck drivers include:

  • time management: as a truck driver, time management skills are important for maintaining your schedule and meeting delivery deadlines. You rely on time management skills to plan your transport routes and avoid unnecessary delays.
  • stress management: as a truck driver, you should maintain calm in emergencies and think clearly. For instance, in case of unforeseen bad weather or traffic accidents, it is important to keep calm and find quick solutions to minimise further delays.
  • mechanical skills: your truck may break down in transit or require an unexpected vehicle maintenance task. Having mechanical skills saves you the trouble of waiting for a mechanic to fix a minor problem.

FAQs about working as a truck driver

Here are the most asked questions about working as a truck driver:

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