5 Transportation Careers With Surprisingly High Earnings

Job seekers who love to travel, rejoice! Transportation jobs can provide a steady paycheck while fulfilling the nomadic sense of wanderlust. What’s more, some transportation careers come with surprisingly high salaries. 

Captains, Mates and Pilots of Water Vessels

These transportation professionals ensure the smooth operation of ships and water vessels, such as ferries and tugboats. These vehicles carry cargo and / or passengers across international and domestic waters. Due to the location-specific nature of the job, this career is best suited for those who live near major bodies of water. 

Captains, mates and pilots of water vessels must obtain a license issued by the U.S. Coast Guard and can expect to earn, on average, approximately $40 per hour, depending on the industry.

Bus Drivers

Bus drivers transport groups of people to places such as airports, schools, work, travel destinations. Some drivers transport children to school, city dwellers to work, or elderly and disabled people to appointments while others transport tourist groups, sports teams or celebrities. 

Bus drivers are required to pass skills tests to acquire and retain a commercial driver’s license. These safety regulations help keep the rate of bus accidents low. Transit and intercity drivers typically earn around $20 per hour while school and special client drivers earn approximately $15 per hour.

Airline and Commercial Pilots

Job seekers looking to take to the skies should consider a career in airline or commercial piloting. Airline pilots carry cargo and passengers and generally work on a set schedule. Commercial pilots may work on rescue and firefighting missions, charter flights, crop dusting or other jobs requiring flight. 

Airline and commercial pilots must obtain a commercial pilot’s license from the Federal Aviation Administration. Airline pilots earn an average of just over $127,000 per year while commercial pilots earn approximately $77,000 per year.

Refuse Truck Drivers

Refuse truck drivers operate refuse and recyclable materials trucks to collect waste from commercial and residential clients. These drivers may operate automated hoisting devices on the trucks to raise bins and dump waste into the truck. 

Operating a garbage truck requires a commercial driver’s license. Drivers can expect to earn approximately $18 per hour, depending upon the location. 

Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers

These drivers are responsible for driving tractor-trailers full of goods, livestock or other items from one location to another. Most tractor-trailer truck drivers are long-haul drivers with routes spanning multiple states and operate vehicles of at least 26,000 pounds of GVW (gross vehicle weight). 

As with other transportation careers, drivers are required to hold a commercial driver’s license and most attend a professional truck driving school. The average wage for a tractor-trailer truck driver is approximately $20 per hour.

Outlook for Transportation Jobs

Transportation jobs are expected to grow approximately 5 percent by 2024. Increasing demand for transportation professionals makes this industry an attractive one for job seekers.



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