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Average Salary: $38,200

Expected Lifetime Earnings: $1,595,000

Trucking dough is good dough as noted. There's the high risk road in being an independent. It takes C&C (capital and cahones). Wanna buy your own truck? Try $200,000 and more for the fancy ones. Add another $25,000 for the communications and other tech equipment that many buyers demand. Add insurance and all kinds of other risks and…it's…a lotta risk. And independent truckers often don't have totally packed schedules with buyers all over the country so they will often have to drive a "dead leg"—where the truck is empty and they are making no money and just burning gas and tires.

And then there's the lower risk road: But even the work-for-mega-trucking-company route has few or no guarantees. Even truckers who are mega employees must pay union dues, cover many of their own costs, and are subject to the whims of mechanical failures, weather delays, pissy clients, and other challenges. That is, for most drivers, if the truck isn't rolling, the driver isn't paid (much—like, as in 20 bucks a day if they sit around the shop all day waiting for the right part that never arrives to fix that noise in the engine).