How to be a Tanker Driver
What all do you need in order to be a Tanker Truck Driver
What you need to do to become a tanker truck driver and get a tanker job partially depends on what kind of loads you intend to haul. Tanker truck drivers are usually required to have a tanker endorsement on their CDL. There are two main types of tanker endorsements you can get:
N Endorsement: Any driver hauling over 1,000 gallons of liquid in tanker vehicles must pass the qualifying exam to receive this tanker endorsement on their CDL. This endorsement allows you to haul liquid loads but does not allow you to haul hazardous loads.
X Endorsement: An X endorsement combines the N endorsement with a HazMat endorsement and allows the driver to haul hazardous liquid loads. This endorsement requires drivers to complete a written exam and pass a TSA background check.
Drivers looking to get endorsements on their CDL can find many online endorsement practice tests to help them prepare to pass the written exam.
Even drivers who do not drive tanker trucks may still need to have a tanker endorsement on their CDL if they are hauling containers that carry liquids. If you are going to haul attached or portable tanks containing 1,000 gallons or more or to haul bulk containers over 119 gallons each that add up 1,000 gallons total, you must also have a tanker endorsement. This applies even if the load is carried in a dry van.
Training and Qualifications
Aside from having the proper endorsements on your CDL, learning how to become a tanker truck driver starts with getting your first job in the trucking industry and building up your experience. The more experience you have driving other large vehicles that require a CDL, the better prepared you will be to take on the additional challenges of hauling liquid loads.
What Skills Do You Need to Be a Tanker Truck Driver?
If you’re looking into how to become a tanker truck driver, you must have the skills to transport the liquids safely. These skills include managing surge, checking for leaks, turning safely, and correctly filling and emptying your tanks.
Aside from the technical skills needed to become a tanker truck driver and have a tanker job, there are also general trucking and personal skills that will make you a better tanker truck driver in the long haul:
Maintain a Good Driving Record: An excellent driving record not only shows your experience behind the wheel but also shows your ability to safely operate a large vehicle—even more important while hauling hazardous loads.
Keep Accurate Records: Keeping your logs up to date and organized shows that you care about the loads you deliver and that you’re responsible. Because of the increased regulations and requirements surrounding liquid loads, having these habits will help you take on additional responsibilities.
Develop Customer Service Skills: Although drivers spend a lot of time on the road alone, you are still expected to professionally interact with clients and should have the skills to do so.
Be Punctual: Great drivers are masters at time management. Delivering loads on time shows you are reliable.
Getting additional endorsements and experience early on will prepare you to take on more responsibilities and make more money in your trucking career.
How Much Can You Make Driving a Tanker Truck?
Many drivers look into becoming tanker truck drivers because tanker drivers make more money on average. This is because more experience and skill is required to haul liquid loads. The average salary for a tanker truck driver is around $60,000 but can range from around $40,000 on the low end to as much as $84,000 for certain tanker jobs.
Some companies pride themselves on offering higher-than-average pay for tanker truck drivers. An example is Schneider National, which pays an average of $81,000 per year to their tanker truck drivers—far above the national average of $60,000.
Find a Great Career as a Tanker Truck Driver
Learning how to become a tanker truck driver and finding the best truck driving jobs takes time and effort but is worth the reward: building a great career. Take the time early on in your trucking experience to earn tanker endorsements and take on opportunities that will give you as much experience and skill as possible. This will help prepare you to build your career and make more money as a tanker truck driver in a tanker job down the road.