Should I Become a Shipping Coordinator?
Shipping coordinators prepare, route and monitor shipments for the manufacturing and transportation industries. Coordinators typically begin with entry-level clerical positions and advance with experience. Shipping coordinators might lift heavy packages in a warehouse or work with conveyor belts. Care must be taken when using potentially dangerous tools, such as staple guns and box cutters. Payscale.com reported a median annual salary of $39,130 in January 2016 for shipping coordinators.
|Degree Level||High school diploma or equivalent; post-secondary training for career advancement|
|Experience||Some office experience may be required|
|Key Skills||Clerical, customer service, verbal and written communication, organization, critical thinking, decision-making, reasoning skills; detail-oriented and the ability to work with others; industry software may include logistics and supply chain, barcode labeling, and enterprise resource planning; experience using postage meters and scales, packing and taping machines, hand trucks, box cutters, handheld and barcode scanners, staple guns|
|Salary||$39,130 (2016 median salary for shipping coordinators)|
Sources: O*NET Online, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, iSeek.org, Payscale.com (July 2015)
To become a shipping coordinator, you'll need a high school diploma, but post-secondary training can be beneficial for career advancement. Some office experience may be required. You'll also need clerical, customer service, verbal and written communication, organization, critical thinking, decision making, and reasoning skills. It's also important that you have the ability to work with others; understanding of industry software, such as logistics and supply chain, barcode labeling and enterprise resource planning; and experience using postage meters and scales, packing and taping machines, hand trucks, box cutters, handheld and barcode scanners, and staple guns. Let's discover the steps it takes to become a shipping coordinator.
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Steps to Become a Shipping Coordinator
Step 1: Obtain Basic Office Experience
While this career typically only requires a high school diploma, employers often look for candidates with some office experience. By obtaining some office skills, prospective coordinators can learn how to work unsupervised, communicate professionally and gain experience using word processing and spreadsheet software programs.
Enhance computer skills. Although most employers offer on-the-job training for aspiring shipping coordinators, they may also have a preference for applicants that are trained in using computer software programs, as well as having general office skills. Many shipping departments rely heavily on computer technology for processes such as controlling inventory, scheduling pick-ups and tracking deliveries. Additionally, shipping coordinators may use the Internet for researching transport protocols, processing shipments and comparing rates.
Enroll in a few college courses. Aspiring shipping coordinators can benefit from registering for a few classes at their nearby community college or technical school. Candidates that lack the necessary entry-level skills sought by employers can prepare for a job by taking courses to acquire skills in business office technology and computer software applications. Some schools may offer coursework focusing on warehouse operations, which are relevant to the job duties of a shipping coordinator.
Step 2: Find Entry-Level Work
Entry-level positions for shipping coordinators include freight agents, as well as shipping, billing and receiving clerks. These opportunities can provide individuals with on-the-job training and experience in answering customer inquiries and keeping records of shipment arrivals and departures. Additionally, clerks may learn how to create import and export documents using industry-specific business applications, such as SAP (Systems, Applications and Products in Data Processing software).
Shipping coordinators may advance by taking on added responsibilities or by becoming freight brokers. Coordinators who earn a bachelor's degree in operations and supply management or a related field may improve their chances of being promoted to warehouse, shipping or logistics managers.
Step 3: Consider a College Education
Candidates whose career goals include a future position in management as a warehouse shipping supervisor or logistics manager may want to consider pursing a college degree. An associate's degree in supply chain management typically takes two years to complete and individuals may be able to work around their schedules by enrolling in evening and online classes. Courses in distribution management, office applications and logistical planning may give applicants an added advantage with employers. A bachelor's degree program in operations and supply management may provide training in overseeing quality, inventory, supplier and distribution schedules.
To become a shipping coordinator, you'll need to have basic office skills, obtain entry-level work and consider getting a college degree.