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How To Become A UPS Truck Driver

Jill Caren
By Jill Caren
Updated December 17th, 2023

So you want to become a truck driver, but prefer to stay local? Then learning how to become a UPS driver can help you see if it is a good option for you.

There are so many different types of truck driving opportunities, from interstate to regional to local. Driving for UPS keeps you local unlike many truck driving jobs that keep you away from home for weeks at a time. For many, this is a big deal so they can be close to their families and not have to be gone for long lengths of time.

Related: How long are truck drivers away from home?

UPS opportunities are out there and for some, it is a great career option – for others a great second job. Below are all the things you should know about working as a UPS driver before applying.

What Types Of UPS Truck Driving Positions Are There?

While most of us associate that big brown truck with UPS drivers, there are actually a few other opportunities out there. Each driver type has its own specific job duties and requirements too.

Package Delivery Driver

This is the most common type of UPS driver and the ones that drive the brown trucks we have grown to love. They will deliver packages to homes which might require some interaction with customers so some people skills will be required. This job does have seasonal and full-time opportunities.

Freight Driver

Freight drivers are usually delivering larger items to businesses or for commercial use. There may be some customer interaction so people skills are needed. This driver position does require a CDL license. It also offers seasonal and full-time opportunities.

Personal Vehicle Driver

This opportunity requires you to use your own car to deliver small packages to customers in your area. You will receive mileage reimbursement and these drivers do allow for flexible schedules making it a good second job.

Tractor Trailer Driver

Drive a big rig and move packages from one place to another as a UPS tractor-trailer driver. A CDL is required for this position and there is minimal customer interaction with this job. Seasonal and full-time opportunities are often available.

Do You Really Want To Be A UPS Driver?

Before you even think of applying, there are some things you should know about the job. It is a very physical position and you will spend long days driving, so if you are not in shape and if sitting too long is an issue – this job might not be right for you.

Other things to consider include:

  • Can you lift heavy packages? You will sometimes be lifting or pushing boxes that are up to 150 pounds.
  • Are you able to drive in all types of weather – including snow and rain? Weather does not mean you get a day off. The packages still need to be delivered.
  • Are you able to navigate busy routes and drive in congested city environments? Depending on where you live you may get some pretty tough routes that will require great driving skills and mental awareness.
  • Extreme heat is one of the more common complaints from drivers since their trucks are not air-conditioned. A few cases of UPS drivers dying from heat have been recorded so this is a serious issue.
how to become a ups truck driver to deliver packages

UPS Driver Requirements

Just like with pretty much any other job out there, you should have your GED or high school diploma to become a UPS truck driver. The more education you have the more opportunities you will have, no matter what career you choose.

Below are a few of the other requirements to be a UPS driver:

  • Valid and clean driver’s license
  • Must be 21 years of age or older
  • Must be able to drive a manual transmission
  • No DUI or DWI in the last 3 years
  • No license suspension or revoke in the last 3 years
  • Must be able to lift and lower packages up to 70 pounds
  • Physical stamina is a must
  • Must be able to work quickly and efficiently
  • Able to work in all weather conditions

As you can imagine, safe drivers are everything to UPS. Having a clean license is one thing – but it is just as important that you keep it clean. Getting a DUI after gaining employment can put your driving job at risk!

If you meet all of the above, you can go ahead and consider applying.

How To Become A UPS Driver

Typically each UPS center will have so many allotted positions available for drivers and will hire from within first. So, applying as an outsider might be a little more challenging than for some other positions.

Once a driver position comes available they will reach out to internal employees to see if there is any interest. Employees who are in warehouse positions or even administrative positions may be interested in the change of career, so they may apply and get hired.

If no one internally is interested then UPS will post the job publicly for outside people to apply.

Below are a few ways to try and get your foot in the door when driving opportunities come available.

  1. Apply For A Seasonal Job. Because they need so much extra help at certain times of the year this is a great way to get in the door and show them what you got! Typically a seasonal job may last 2 or 3 months and if you excel it can lead to other opportunities. You will want to start looking for seasonal jobs in early fall to ensure you get those coveted holiday routes. Once you land a seasonal route, this is your time to shine to land a more permanent opportunity.
  2. Apply For An Entry-Level Position. If it is not a seasonal hiring period and you need work, then try applying as a package handler, or any other entry-level position. This is an opportunity for you to get in the door at a base level and then prove yourself as a valued employee. When those truck driving positions open you can apply and hopefully have a manager attest to your performance.
  3. Apply For A Driving Job. As mentioned on some occasions UPS may not have been able to fill a truck driving position internally and it will be made public. If you do get lucky enough to catch a driver position that is open to applications – then go ahead and apply. This is usually done online through their website.

You can check the online UPS job portal to see what is available near you.

The Application Process

Once you find open positions, the next step is to actually complete an application.

You will be submitting an application through their website which means you will create an account and be walked through the application process.

The application will take about 15 minutes to complete and will include a large selection of questions about your work history, background, military service, and more. Once your application is submitted it will be reviewed and if they are interested, you will be called in for an interview.

As per the information we found from others who have been interviewed have said, the first interview is not a true interview – but an informational session. If you do pique their interest during that session they will invite you to the next, more formal round of interviews.

If there is a request for a drug test, you should be aware of the differences between a DOT and a non-DOT drug test.

How Much Do UPS Drivers Make

Big update August 2023! In an attempt to prevent a strike, the CEO of UPS has stated that full-time earnings for UPS drivers could be $170,000 a year. You can read the details here.

There is no actual database to find average or median salaries for UPS drivers. But below is some helpful information to give you some insight into what you might make as a UPS driver.

Depending on whether you drive your own car, UPS truck, or tractor-trailer; the salary range can vary greatly. Location plays a part as well!

There was a new UPS agreement created a few years ago that allowed for a progression of pay increases over a few years. for full-time package car drivers. The data below is pulled from sources like Indeed and Comparably.

  • UPS Personal Vehicle Drivers can make approximately $20-28 per hour in some locations. Because you are using your own vehicle they will also pay the standard rate per mile that the IRS has set to cover your vehicle expenses.
  • UPS Tractor-Trailer Drivers can average around $35 per hour. Many areas are also offering sign-on bonuses that can be several thousand dollars.
  • UPS Delivery Drivers (Brown Trucks) can average about $40 per hour after a few years of experience.

One driver actually created quite a stir on TikTok when he shared he was making $40 per hour.

Benefits are also pretty awesome with UPS which is really important these days. These include healthcare, pension, stock options, and generous vacation time. Because UPS drivers are part of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, they are represented well for pay and benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Jill Caren is an international SEO consultant and founder of 2Dogs Media. She is also a trainer, journalist, and speaker who helps brands increase their organic search visibility, traffic, and conversions. She is also the co-founder of Blue Collar Brain, a resource for those looking to enter a trade career.

She has been featured on MSN, Wealth of Geeks, Hubspot, SEO Powersuite, and other publications for her work as an SEO and advocate for skilled trades.