Should I Be a Freight Broker?
Freight brokers work in the transportation and trucking industries and are often thought of as sales workers. They may work for a transportation company or freight brokerage firm that specializes in selling trucking and transportation services to companies that need to move materials and goods. This is typically an office job, though it can be a fast-paced one with heavy telephone and computer usage. Freight brokers shift gears among organizing transportation for clients' materials, tracking shipments, and notifying clients of items' arrival, as well as collecting payment and record-keeping. These workers spend most of their time sitting and have the freedom to determine daily goals. The following table contains the core requirements for becoming a freight broker.
|Degree Level||High school diploma; bachelor's degree for many positions|
|Degree Field||Business; logistics; supply chain management; transportation|
|Certification||Voluntary; may enhance career prospects|
|Experience||Varies per position; 1+ years for most jobs|
|Key Skills||Negotiation; reasoning; problem solving; critical thinking; customer service oriented; time management; sales and marketing; transportation principles; familiarity with industry software, such as procurement software; spreadsheet software; inventory management software; transportation management software|
|Salary||$ 41,813 per year (Median salary from 2015 for freight brokers)|
Sources: O*NET Online, December 2012 job postings, Payscale.com, Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA)
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree
Aspiring candidates may want to consider postsecondary training at the undergraduate level. Although some jobs in freight broking are available to applicants with just a high school diploma, it is more common to see job listings that require a bachelor's degree. Undergraduate programs in logistics and supply chain management include coursework in subject areas such as inventory and materials handling, distribution, accounting, project management, and business ethics.
- Complete an internship program. Internship programs provide candidates with the opportunity to learn more about the freight brokerage industry. Some of the topics that may be covered during the program include arranging pickups and deliveries of materials and goods, handling customer service issues, calculating shipping rates and recording details of shipments.
Step 2: Consider Professional Certification
Since the transportation industry is regulated, freight brokers may want to consider the certification offered by the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA). The certified transportation broker designation requires applicants to pass a four-hour, multiple-choice exam that covers legal and regulatory issues in the transportation industry, traffic management and business aspects of freight brokerage firms.
Step 3: Gain Work Experience
Aspiring freight brokers that have completed a postsecondary training program will have a competitive edge when applying for positions. Initial jobs may be entry-level, in which candidates are responsible for administrative tasks and providing support for couriers and freight agents. As skills are developed on the job and more experience is acquired, employees can expect to be provided with more responsibilities and opportunities for advancement.