Maybe you’ve heard of TikTok sensation Clarissa Rankin, a 36-year-old mom, who changed her life and career after getting her CDL and working as an independent truck driver.
“Having your own truck comes with a lot of freedom,” Rankin, a Charlotte, NC resident, said. Before beginning her career in trucking, she studied criminal justice only to find few opportunities to apply her education. With options seemingly limited, she turned to substitute teaching where she was bringing in less than $2,000 per month – not exactly the financial goals she had in mind for herself and her family.
After encouragement from her husband, who previously drove a truck, she pivoted to the freight transportation industry and now hauls spot loads found on apps such as TruckLoads, running the Eastern Seaboard as far north as Massachusetts and as far south as Florida. This pivot has allowed her family to become financially comfortable while Clarissa enjoys tremendous work-life flexibility.
In 2021, she reportedly generated $144,000 in revenue from trucking, and took home $73,000 after expenses. In addition, she earned an additional $36,000 from TikTok.
While shaking things up in this predominantly male industry, she also acknowledges that she wasn’t immediately offered a suitable driving position after passing her CDL requirement.
Over the last 10 years, the number of women working in freight transportation has increased substantially at entry level; however, women currently only hold about 7% of truck driving jobs.
“I’m not, like, your everyday truck driver,” she says. “I’m so girly. I love to get that expression on people’s faces like, ‘Can you really drive that?’ and I’m like, ‘Yes, I got this, honey.’”
Truck Driving is considered one of the most secure careers due to the year-over-year shortage of active CDL professionals and organizations such as Women in Trucking have been strong advocates for building a gender-inclusive environment.