How To Become an Intermodal Truck Driver

Truck driving is one of the most important aspects of the economy. Truck drivers are responsible for transporting goods throughout their journey on the supply chain all the way to our front doors. However, not all truck drivers are the same. There are many different types of truck driving jobs. Truck driving differs based on distance, equipment, cargo, and more. There are truck drivers who specialize in carrying freight long distances, and other types of truck drivers who specialize in filling in the missing links between other modes of freight transportation. The later form of trucking is called intermodal truck driving. Let’s take a closer look at what an intermodal truck driver does along with intermodal truck driver qualifications, responsibilities, and benefits. This guide concludes with a resource for taking the next step in your trucking career.


What is an intermodal truck driver?

An intermodal truck driver hauls freight short distances between other forms of transportation, warehouses, and distribution centers. An intermodal truck driver picks up freight that is packed in a shipping container. The driver does not need to handle the freight. They only need to load and unload the container.


Intermodal Truck Driver Qualifications

Intermodal truck driving is a skilled and specialized profession. To qualify for the job, individuals need to meet minimum requirements and possess specific skills. Drivers can work to meet additional qualifications to increase their earning potential. Here are intermodal truck driver qualifications:



An intermodal truck driving career requires a high school diploma or GED. However, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree is not required.



Intermodal truck drivers are required to hold a commercial motor vehicle license (CDL). The minimum requirement to become an intermodal truck driver is to hold a CDL Class A license.



While prior experience is not required, your level of experience will impact your pay. Familiarity with the freight logistics industry can be helpful as there are many guidelines and best practices to follow.


Special Endorsements

Intermodal truck drivers can acquire special licensure endorsements that allow them to haul specific types of freight and increase their income. The special endorsements can include training and certifications to haul oversized loads, hazmat, and many other unique types of freight.


Communication Skills

Intermodal truck drivers need strong written and verbal communication skills to manage their responsibilities to multiple stakeholders. They need to communicate with other carriers, freight brokers, and shippers and provide proper documentation.


Industry Expertise 

Industry experience is not required, but it is certainly helpful. If an applicant is new to the industry, it is critical that they familiarize themselves with the freight industry as quickly and thoroughly as possible.

Intermodal Truck Driver Responsibilities

Intermodal truck drivers are responsible for hauling freight between legs of the journey. Often this consists of carrying loads between rail yards or ports and customers. Their responsibilities include:


  • Safely transport the freight to and from locations
  • Maintain proper and thorough documentation of all transportation transactions
  • Communicate with the relevant parties to provide status updates and report incidents
  • Adhere to regulatory requirements
  • Load and unload shipping containers
  • Inspect the trucks and equipment


Intermodal Truck Driver Benefits

There are many benefits to a career as an intermodal truck driver. Let’s take a look at just a few highlights.

No Higher Education or Student Loans Required

You do not need a college degree to become an intermodal truck driver. Although you do need to obtain a license, you do not need to invest a serious amount of time or money to launch your career as an intermodal truck driver.


Excellent Pay 

The average national salary for an intermodal truck driver is $59,485. The starting salary is often around $35,000, and the highest earners report making around $85,000.


Efficient Loading and Unloading 

Intermodal truck drivers haul freight that is packed in shipping containers. For the most part, drivers can utilize the drop-and-hook method to pick up and drop off containers. This means that drivers do not have to waste time waiting around for a loading dock.


Frequent and Flexible Time at Home

Intermodal truck drivers have the flexibility to schedule frequent time at home. They can often choose the lanes they want to run and design a schedule that meets their needs.

QFS Transportation Intermodal Truck Driver Jobs

QFS Transportation is always searching for experienced drivers across the entire nation. If you are interested in hauling for QFS, fill out a job application. As one of the largest and fastest-growing companies with over 60 terminals across the country, our dedicated team gives our Owner Operators what they need to succeed. This includes a dedicated safety team, a mobile app for drivers, road-home balance, and your choice of lanes to run.