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Truck Driver

Truck drivers operate gasoline- and diesel-powered trucks, tractor-trailers, and similar vehicles to transport goods and materials over local routes or long distances.

Also Known As

Driver, Multi-Wheel Truck Operator

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Long-Haul Truck Drivers (7411.1) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Truck Drivers (H711) 
  • 2011 NOC: Transport truck drivers (7511) 
  • 2016 NOC: Transport truck drivers (7511) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Long-Haul Truck Drivers

2006 NOC: 7411.1

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
METHODICAL

Interest in copying to record cargo information, distance travelled, fuel consumption and other information in log books or on on-board computers, and to obtain special permits and other documents required to transport cargo on international routes; and in performing pre-trip inspections of vehicle systems and equipment such as tires, lights, brakes, and cold storage

OBJECTIVE

Interest in driving straight and articulated trucks to transport goods and materials; may drive as part of a two-person team or convoy, and may transport hazardous products and dangerous goods

directive

Interest in speaking to communicate with dispatchers and other drivers using citizens' band (CB) radios, cellular telephones and on-board computers; and in overseeing all aspects and functions of vehicle such as condition of equipment, loading and unloading, and safety and security of cargo

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Duties and responsibilities vary from one position to another. But, in general, truck drivers operate trucks and manoeuvre them in tight spaces. They:

  • Inspect brakes, tires, lights, horns, and cooling and refrigeration equipment before leaving the warehouse or terminal
  • Load trucks to maximize the use of space and distribute weight accordingly, and to ensure safety on the road
  • Secure loads by using approved blocking, padding and tie-down methods
  • Conduct security checks and inspections along the way
  • Make emergency roadside adjustments and repairs
  • Follow local and inter-provincial highway safety regulations
  • Ensure vehicle and axle weights meet regulatory requirements
  • Keep records of loads delivered and picked up, including arrival and departure times
  • Maintain vehicle log books including fuel consumption, mileage and ,hours of service

Some truck drivers specialize in operating vehicles such as:

  • Heavy trucks for overweight or oversized loads
  • Tank trucks which transport bulk liquids
  • Gravel trucks
  • Tractor-trailers (truck hooked to 1 or more trailers)
  • Forestry and logging trucks
  • Extended-length vehicles
  • Industrial trucks with special equipment (for related information, see the Oil and Gas Transportation Services Occupations occupational profile)
  • Garbage trucks (for more information, see the Municipal Recycling Truck Driver and Refuse Collector occupational profiles)
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg

Truck drivers often work long hours, primarily behind the wheel. They drive in all kinds of weather, traffic, and road conditions. Sitting for long periods of time can be hard on the back.

Truck drivers’ workloads and schedules vary depending on the goods being transported and the distances travelled.

Local truck drivers may start with a loaded truck in the morning and make deliveries all day, returning with an empty truck to the warehouse or plant at the end of the day. Or they may return to reload after each delivery.

Long distance truck drivers move goods between cities and across the continent. They often work long hours and travel at night. On relatively short runs, drivers may transport loaded trailers to nearby cities, pick up different loads for the return trip, and return to their starting points the same day. On longer runs, drivers may be away for a week or longer. Truck drivers are subject to regulations limiting hours of service, and must record their hours in a prescribed log book. Log books must be kept up to date and be made available for inspection when required by transportation department personnel.

Depending on the products being transported, truck drivers may or may not be responsible for loading and unloading trucks. When drivers are expected to unload, they may have helpers. Putting on tire chains or loading and unloading may require lifting over 20 kilograms.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Truck drivers need:

  • Good judgment
  • Good vision
  • Mental alertness and quick thinking
  • Interpersonal and customer service skills
  • Time management skills
  • The mechanical aptitude to make minor repairs
  • The ability to use on-board computer devices

They should enjoy:

  • Driving
  • Taking a methodical approach to recording information and obtaining required documentation
  • Talking to others involved in loading and receiving shipments

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Transport truck drivers

2011 NOC: 7511

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 100 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Sep 22, 2022 and Sep 25, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Tasks: Oversee condition of vehicle and inspect tires, lights, brakes, cold storage and other equipment
Tasks: Perform pre-trip, en route and post-trip inspection and oversee all aspects of vehicle
Tasks: Record cargo information, hours of service, distance travelled and fuel consumption
Certificates, Licences, Memberships, and Courses : Driver's License (Class 1 or A)
Documentation Knowledge: Driver logbook
Tasks: Tarping and ensuring safety and security of cargo
Tasks: Perform emergency roadside repairs
Tasks: Load and unload goods
Tasks: Operate and drive straight or articulated trucks to transport goods and materials
Tasks: Receive and relay information to central dispatch
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Minimum Education Varies

In Alberta, a system of classified driver licensing sets licensing requirements and medical standards, including drug screening, for handling specific types of trucks and combination vehicles. Trucking companies may hire only drivers who qualify under this system.

Air brake endorsements are required for Class 1, 2 and 3 licences. Applicants for Class 1 licences must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a valid Alberta driver’s licence (not graduated driver licensing)
  • Satisfy medical requirements
  • Complete the Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program
  • Pass knowledge tests
  • Pass road test

Employers may prefer applicants with at least Grade 10 English and reading and writing skills. They may require drivers to have training in:

  • Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
  • First aid and CPR
  • Transportation of dangerous goods
  • Log books / hours of service
  • Load securement
  • H2S Alive
  • Fall protection

Drivers who haul to the United States must be at least 21 years of age and able to pass U.S. drug testing requirements. Employers generally prefer to hire drivers who do not have a criminal record and have no more than 6 demerits. They also prefer drivers who are insurable at a reasonable cost, which usually means they are 25 years of age or older.

Truck drivers must be able to manoeuvre trucks through narrow streets and alleys, into tight parking spaces and up to loading docks. They need a good understanding of traffic laws and trucking regulations in different jurisdictions. They also need to know how to conduct pre-trip, en-route, and post-trip load checks and inspections.

Many people get started in the trucking industry by taking training courses offered by public colleges or private truck driving schools. Program length, content, costs, and admission requirements vary. Truck driving schools may require students to have a clear driving record, few or no demerits, or a medical examination.

Before enrolling in a program, prospective students should visit several schools and compare the classroom facilities, the vehicles used for instruction and the qualifications of the instructors. Another good way to evaluate a school is to talk to former students and ask local trucking companies whether they hire graduates from that school.

For a list of driving schools in Alberta, please go to the Alberta Transportation website.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Truck drivers may work as employees or as self-employed contractors for:

  • Transportation companies
  • Manufacturing and distribution companies
  • Retail outlets
  • Moving companies

Some truck drivers start in entry-level jobs such as yard worker, dock handler, checker, or clerk. Once they acquire the required operator’s licence and a driving position becomes available, they advance to driving positions.

Many local drivers and a few long distance drivers have regularly assigned runs. Drivers who work for smaller companies are more likely to be assigned regular runs early in their employment. In large companies, drivers usually start on the “extra board,” where they bid for runs on the basis of seniority.

Once they have gained some experience, drivers may be assigned to long-haul or highway driving. As long as their driving records remain acceptable and they maintain good health, they may continue driving as long as they wish. Or they may move into related areas such as operations (freight handling, dock supervision, dispatching) or communications (tracking the movement of shipments and trucks).

Drivers who have business knowledge and skills may choose to purchase their own trucks or fleet of trucks. Many truck drivers are owner-operators who own their own vehicles and lease their services to other companies.

In Alberta, 79% of people employed as truck drivers work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment, especially in the industries listed above
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 7511: Transport truck drivers occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.3% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 585 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Wages in the trucking industry vary depending on the type of work, load and vehicle.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Transport truck drivers

2016 NOC: 7511
Average Wage
$29.54
Per Hour
Average Salary
$67,723.00
Per Year
Average Hours
45.9
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
11.7
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 7511 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $16.15 $35.00 $25.52 $25.00
Overall $19.50 $41.00 $29.54 $29.59
Top $22.00 $53.63 $34.34 $33.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Forestry, Logging, Fishing and Hunting
Transportation and Warehousing
Oil & Gas Extraction
Mining
ALL INDUSTRIES
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing
Construction
Public Administration
Manufacturing
Retail Trade
Business, Building and Other Support Services
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)
Wholesale Trade
Agriculture
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
63%
63%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
48%
48%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
12%
12%
Vacancy Rate
5%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Driver Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Alberta Transportation website, commercial driver training: https://www.alberta.ca/commercial-driver-training.aspx

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2019. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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