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Career Information for a Degree in Transportation and Distribution

Transportation and distribution is generally a program that teaches students about the different systems used to send and deliver goods to places around the world. Continue reading for an overview of the programs, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

Not all jobs in the transportation and distribution industry require a postsecondary education, however in some cases having completed a degree might stand out on a resume when searching for employment, as does previous work experience. This holds particularly true for both transportation specialists and distribution managers, which are common positions in this field. Rising to more advanced positions, such as a logistics manager, typically requires a bachelor's degree and industry experience.

Essential Information

Degree programs in transportation and distribution teach students how transportation systems can be utilized to ship people, cargo, manufactured items and other goods, as well as how distribution systems work within a company or organization. Specific subjects studied by transportation and distribution students might include import/export law, transportation logistics and freight claims.

While degrees in this industry can prove beneficial for jobseekers, not all jobs require more than a high school education and on-the-job experience, so earning bachelor's degrees or graduate degrees in this field may not be necessary for all careers. There is a wide variety of career options in the transportation and distribution industry, including transportation analysis, distribution management, or logistics management.

Career Titles Transportation Specialist Distribution Manager Logistics Manager
Education Requirements High school diploma or GED High school diploma or GED Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) +3% for all first-line supervisors of transportation and material-moving machine and vehicle operators* +2% for all transportation, storage and distribution managers* +2% for all logisticians*
Median Salary (2016) $50,989 for all transportation supervisors** $65,462** $62,655**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com.

Career Options

Transportation Specialists

Transportation specialists are in demand in both state and federal government. They fulfill a wide variety of functions, including project leadership, logistics analysis and research. Transportation specialists working for the federal government use their research abilities and transportation knowledge to make recommendations to lawmakers and others regarding new laws, regulations and policies.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not have specific data on transportation specialists, but it does have data on related careers. In fact, the BLS estimated that open positions for first-line supervisors in the transportation industry would grow by 3% between 2014 the 2024. According to PayScale.com, transportation supervisors earned a median income of $50,989 as of October 2016.

Distribution Managers

Distribution managers coordinate, organize and manage the distribution, shipping and ordering of parts and merchandise. Distribution managers who work for manufacturing companies ensure the delivery of raw materials to the correct receivers within production facilities. This job typically requires some experience in the field, as well as decision-making and leadership abilities in order to lead a team of distribution personnel.

According to PayScale.com, the median salary for distribution managers was $65,462 as of October 2016. The BLS projected a 2% job growth for this field from 2014-2024.

Logistics Managers

More experienced workers within the field of transportation and distribution might advance to positions as logistics managers. These workers direct and lead distribution, shipping, storage and similar functions within a large organization. Logistics managers must have detailed knowledge of distribution systems and transportation logistics in order to ensure timely delivery of materials or goods to customers, production facilities and other destinations.

The BLS reported a projected job growth of 2% from 2014-2024 for logisticians. As of October 2016, PayScale.com reported a median annual income of $62,655 for this profession.

According to the BLS, transportation specialists, distribution managers, and logistics managers can all expect to see a slower-than-average increase in new employment opportunities between the 2014-2024 decade. Duties for each of these careers vary significantly; while transportation specialists often oversee project management, research, and logistics analysis, a distributions manager is in charge of distribution, shipping, and ordering products. A logistics manager is an experienced industry worker who oversees distribution, transportation, and shipping issues for a large organization, ensuring that shipped products promptly arrive at their destination.

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