Delivery Driver Jobs in the US

Do you need to learn the requirements for becoming a delivery driver? Read an informative guide about delivery driver jobs in the U.S. today.

Delivery driver job descriptions vary in the U.S. depending on the cargo transported in the vehicle. Some delivery jobs transport packages and goods. Others, such as jobs driving company vans or shuttles transport people from one location to another. Delivery truck and van drivers also earn varied incomes across the U.S. depending on the cargo transported and specific employer payrates. Do you need to learn the requirements for becoming a delivery driver in the U.S.? Read ahead for an informative guide about delivery driver jobs in the U.S. today.


What Does a Delivery Van Driver Do?

The answer to the question of what a delivery driver does might seem obvious to many people. Several potentially unexpected nuances exist in this job field, however. Understanding these nuances is an important part of deciding what type of delivery job is right for you. Delivery drivers, also referred to as carriers in some fields, operate specified types of vehicles to transport cargo from one location to another. While cargo is often physical goods and packages, it is also sometimes people. The latter is the case when operating a medical transport unit, airport or hotel shuttle or company rideshare van. 

Job duties include always using safe driving techniques and obeying all applicable traffic laws. Depending on the job you might also be required to load and unload the cargo you are transporting. For example, the latter duties are typical for United States Postal Service (USPS) Carriers or Amazon, Fed Ex and UPS delivery drivers. Job duties also include the use of navigation devices (GPS), record keeping (logging) and familiarity with the quickest and safest routes available in your service area. Some delivery jobs also require base-level mechanical knowledge and skills, especially pursuant to vehicle safety inspections and nominal repairs. Finally, while not all delivery driver jobs require special licensing - some do. Regardless of special licensing status requirements, delivery vans and trucks are larger in size than many non-commercial vehicles and often require specific operational training and experience to handle safely.

Additionally, delivery drivers are responsible for vehicle cleanliness, especially when transporting people or food. When food is transported, it must also be handled safely, cleanly and in compliance with applicable regulations. If payment is due upon delivery of certain items, the delivery driver is also responsible for collecting payments. This means an ability to maintain accurate financial records and create a professional rapport with customers and clients is also part of the job for some delivery drivers.

What Do I Need to Become a Delivery Van Driver?

Certain requirements are applicable to becoming a delivery van driver in the U.S. today. Regarding general education, most companies require drivers to possess a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalency diploma such as a GED. Every employee is required to have a valid U.S. state-issued driver’s license. Some delivery jobs require drivers to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) as well.

Any drivers transporting chemicals or food need comprehensive knowledge of the items they are handling. This is especially true pursuant to safety protocols, potential allergic reactions (and treatments), cleanup methods and permissible transportation routes. Different navigation systems are similar but not all the same. Understanding usage fundamentals of general navigation systems along with knowledge of how to use the specific navigation system installed in your delivery vehicle is also required.

Physical Requirements

Certain physical requirements for a delivery van driver job vary per position, while others are like those required for everyday safe driving. For example, healthy reliable vision is required to drive on U.S. roadways. Delivery van drivers need excellent vision and might even be required to undergo professional vision screening and receive medical clearance to drive for certain companies. Hand-to-eye coordination must also meet certain standards. These standards are applicable to general vehicle operation and the ability to react quickly and safely to specific scenarios when driving. This is also true for parking, backing up and navigating through parking lots and other tight areas trafficked by pedestrians and other vehicles.

Delivery drivers transporting physical goods and cargo are required to possess the physical attributes necessary to load and unload packages as necessary. This includes carrying packages up and down steps or ramps. Each company will outline overall job requirements including the maximum weight drivers are expected to lift on the job.

Experience Requirements

Many companies are willing to train the right candidates provided their driving records, criminal background checks and drug screenings come back clean. This means many deliver driver jobs are available to applicants with no previous experience. These jobs therefore make excellent second-jobs or positions for workers who were laid off or are transferring from other career fields. Candidates looking for higher salaries, management positions or advancement potential are commonly required to have three-to-five years’ experience in the field and exemplary employment records. 

How Much Does a Delivery Truck Driver Make?

Delivery truck drivers earn hourly wages, annual salaries, or a combination of both. Sometimes tips from customers and clients are also earned. For example, if you drive a delivery van for a flower company or medical transport company you might receive tips from customers or passengers with each trip. Wages vary based on location, company policies, experience level and more. Long-distance van drivers might transport packages and goods or people for a variety of purposes. Jobs are available driving sports teams to and from event locations. Jobs are also available driving high school marching bands to and from competitions or church members to various festivals and missionary destinations. 

Driving big-rig trucks are usually salaried positions with certain compensation bonuses factored in for on-time or ahead-of-time delivery schedules. Fed Ex delivery drivers earn between $2,800 and $4,000 per month on average. Average hourly wages for USPS mail delivery drivers ranges between $13 and $25 per hour. Median annual pay for delivery drivers is just under $28,000 per year overall, although couriers and messengers average just over $50,0000 per year.

How to Become a Delivery Truck Driver

The first step to become a delivery truck driver is to graduate high school or obtain an equivalency degree. It is necessary to obtain your driver’s license and maintain a clean driving record. Operating specialized or larger vehicles might require you to also obtain a CDL, HAZMAT endorsement or both. Certifications and driver safety courses are available to bolster your salary and hiring potential. Applications for delivery truck or van driver positions can be submitted online at specific company websites and popular nationwide job board websites, including: