Career Change

Learn the Career Path of a UPS Tractor-Trailer Driver

Learn the Career Path of a UPS Tractor-Trailer Driver

Considered working as a tractor-trailer driver for UPS? This interview will take you down the career path including the ups and downs you can expect in the position, what it takes to land the job, what you can expect to earn and more.

I'm a feeder (tractor-trailer) driver for UPS. I have worked in this capacity for the last 11 years, but have been with UPS for 36 years.

As a feeder driver, I shuttle trailers filled with packages between UPS facilities. One common misunderstanding associated with my job is that many people think big trucks are difficult to drive when pulling double trailers. I have done this job for so long I do not notice any difference in the weight or maneuverability of driving the bigger rigs.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I would honestly rate my job a 10. I'm perfectly content with my position at UPS, in dealing with my co-workers and supervisors, and with the hours I work each week. I don't know too many people who can say the same about what they do for a living, and I'm very appreciative of the type of company I work for as well as the people I work with.

Driving a tractor-trailer is not a job I could say really moves my heart; however, I do believe I'm in the right place. I think that is clear since I have been with the company for so long. What does move my heart is that I get to do a job each day that I actually enjoy doing. My position is pretty straightforward, so I do not believe there is anything unique about what I do. I perform the same job function and drive the same routes every day unless I am told otherwise.

I started my career at UPS on a part-time basis while I was in college. If I could go back and re-do that part of my life, I would have continued with my college education and become a CPA. Since there are no do-overs, I do my job to the best of my ability each day.

The most difficult lesson I have had to learn while working this job is how to simultaneously juggle a marriage and family. Consequently, my marriage ended because I worked the overnight shift and slept most of the day. I feel like I missed out on watching my children grow up.

The single most important thing I have learned outside of school about the working world is it is important, if not vital, to maintain your integrity. There is no better feeling than walking into work knowing your bosses trust you with company equipment, the value of the packages you are shuttling, you will be diligent on the road and drive safely, and you will arrive at your destination on time.

I get up and go to work each day because I have financial obligations that must be met, and because I like to eat! I'm thankful to have a job, and as I mentioned, I enjoy getting up and going to work each day not because I have to, but because I want to.

As a driver, I am constantly confronted with challenges on the road. One of the biggest challenges I'm faced with each night is I must drive defensively because many people do not pay attention to what they are doing. I want to scream when people pass me or cut me off too close, and sometimes I do. Sometimes people pull over so close I cannot even see their tail lights over my hood.

Like any other, my job does come with its own unique set of stressors. At the top of the list would be dealing with other drivers. To deal with that, I make sure that I have had enough sleep so I am alert on the road. I do believe as I have grown older and gained more experience with the job and the shift hours I work, I am now able to maintain a healthy balance in my life. This was not possible early on in my career.

A rough salary range for this position is about $70,000 per year. Factored into this quote are the many overtime hours we work throughout the year. Since I have worked at UPS for 30 years, I am entitled to six weeks of vacation each year. I am very satisfied with that and believe it is enough.

In order to gain employment in this capacity, you must possess a high school diploma at the minimum. You must also be able to pass defensive driving classes and have a clean driver's license.

If I had a friend who was applying for a position such as mine, I would make sure he knew it had the potential to be difficult depending on the shift he worked and whether or not he had a family. The position can be consuming if you work a night shift and then have to sleep for the better part of the day. These hours make it difficult to do anything else.

If I could write my own ticket, I would be a professional golfer; unfortunately, I'm not that good. is a job search engine that finds job listings from company career pages, other job boards, newspapers and associations. With one search, they help you find the job with your name on it.

Tractor trailer image from Shutterstock