How to Become a Cargo Agent: Education and Career Roadmap

Research the requirements to become a cargo agent. Learn about the job description, and read the step-by-step process to start a career as a cargo agent.

Should I Become a Cargo Agent?

Cargo agents manage shipments for transportation companies, air transportation agencies or courier businesses. Cargo agents are responsible for analyzing and securing the documentation, transportation and delivery of materials. The work of a cargo agent may be physically demanding and might involve moving or lifting cargo items.

Career Requirements

Degree Level High school diploma, certificate program
Experience Related skills or experience usually required
Key Skills Interpersonal communication; bookkeeping, customer service, inventory software, brokerage software, standard office software
Salary $41,380 per year (Median salary as of 2014)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*Net OnLine.

Step 1: Earn a High School Diploma

Most transportation agencies only require future cargo agents to possess a high school diploma. Most of the experience and training are provided on the job. Since computer use is an important part of a cargo agent's job, as that's where they typically input shipping information for goods being transported, computer courses will be useful. Mathematics courses can also aid in tasks such as determining weights and volumes, finding shipping costs, and determining shipping routes.

Step 2: Consider a Certificate Program

While a formal education is not requirement for this field of work, some colleges and universities that specialize in aviation studies offer professional certificate programs for prospective cargo agents. Certificate programs train students in the basic phases of cargo operations through courses such as flight operations, hazardous materials and customer service.

Step 3: Gain Work Experience

Gaining work experience alongside more experienced employees through a job apprenticeship can be beneficial to gaining first-time employment through transportation agencies, though many entry-level agents work for up to a year under more experienced agents. A cargo agent's daily tasks include packing goods for future shipment, retrieving stored items, finding misplaced deliveries and arranging for the transport of soon-to-be delivered shipments.

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