# How Much Money Can I Make If I Get a CDL?

## A Short Cut

A note from our CDL expert:

“I was able to jump past the starter job step because my brother worked for a company that was willing to hire me, even though I didn’t technically qualify. I know some other people with similar stories. They got jobs at “better companies” without having the required number of years of experience because a friend got them in the door.”

Who do you know that is in the industry? What contacts do you have? Ask around.

## A Note About the Oil Fields

Work in the oil fields is boom or bust. You can make $10,000 per month, month after month. Then everything slows down so much, you can barely make the payment on your pickup truck. In the summer of 2019, the oil fields were jumping: West Texas, Southeast New Mexico, North Dakota, East Montana, West Pennsylvania, etc. Right now (2021), the oil fields are dead. Some of those oil field drivers have relocated and become “ramp drivers”. In the oil fields,$90,000/year to \$120,000/year is doable, until it isn’t. Any change in demand happens suddenly. For months (or years), you could be working long shifts, six days on/two days off. Suddenly, the schedule could have you working eight hours a day, three days out of seven. There is no use in arguing with dispatch if there isn’t any work. And every company in the patch will be in the same boat. All the “help wanted” signs will come down at the same time.

If you go the boom-and-bust route, save your money, and have a backup plan. Maybe move back home and get a job delivering some of those shipping containers?

Also, oil field work is hot, dusty, and dangerous. Recruiters there won’t even look at your resume unless you have two years of “recent, verifiable” experience.

You can make great money with a commercial driver’s license. Expect the first year to be a year of gaining experience, with small to moderate pay. In your second year, you can start making some bank. Driving long term can be hugely rewarding.