Fully online freight broker training is available at several schools, particularly four-year colleges and universities. Programs are primarily offered as self-paced continuing education programs and do not lead to a formal college degree or credit. Instead, students are awarded a certificate after finishing the online curriculum, which typically requires 150 hours of study and can be completed in about six months.
Online freight broker training programs discuss the transportation industry and its history. Students learn how goods are transported and proper terminology. They also learn why companies hire freight brokers when shipping materials (traditionally via outsourcing, and in order to cut costs). Most programs also discuss the licensing and record-keeping requirements for the profession. Several programs include material on the following:
- Identifying market trends
- Selecting a market niche
- Marketing the business
- Customer service skills
- Rate-setting techniques
Distance learning coursework in these areas help new brokers prepare business plans and proposals, which are skills often needed in order to gain business credit approval. Other lessons assist students in creating the packets and documentation for their shipping clients and carrier partners. These materials are a key component of successful brokerage. Preparing these materials throughout the course of an online program provides students with practical job training. Students also learn the standard wording used in industry contracts.
Freight brokers help shipping clients reduce costs by ensuring materials arrive on time. They also allow carriers to keep costs low by shipping full loads. To help students meet these goals, freight broker training includes instruction in load dynamics. Students learn effective ways to reduce fuel costs while maximizing the amount of material being shipped.
Online continuing education programs for freight brokers typically have no on-site requirements. The curriculum is offered in a self-paced format that allows distance learners to complete lessons and assignments at a time that's convenient for them. Text documents, videos and other materials may be made available to help students gain knowledge about the field. Instructors are usually available by e-mail to provide feedback and answer questions.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Actuarial Sciences
- Business and Commerce, General
- Business Statistics
- Customer Service Management
- Logistics, Distribution, and Materials Management
- Management Science
- Office Management
- Operations Management
- Public and Nonprofit Organizational Management
- Purchases, Acquisitions, and Contracts Management
- Transportation Management
Several elements can contribute to a freight broker's success. The ability to work with people and communicate effectively allows freight brokers to negotiate the best rates for their clients. Customer service and sales skills help streamline the transportation of goods. Problem-solving proficiency helps freight brokers meet the strategic and logistical challenges of the industry. Brokers should also be able to lead teams, implement preventive measures, mediate conflict and recognize creative, resourceful opportunities.
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) oversees the activities of licensed freight brokers. Brokers must obtain Broker's Authority and Processing Agent approvals from the FMCSA. Before licensure is issued, brokers must also provide proof of a surety bond or trust fund in the proper amount for liability purposes. To retain licensure, they must continuously follow proper government regulations, such as maintaining accurate and detailed records for a period of three years.
Freight broker agents typically work for a licensed freight broker and represent a certain area or region. Agents do not need federal licensure; however, they do need to keep their own thorough records of business activities and transactions as required by federal law. This helps freight agents accurately bill their customers when a shipment is complete. Like freight brokers, agents must have excellent communications skills in order to build relationships with clients and carriers.
Online freight broker certificate programs provide a general overview of the field, covering key topics like shipping strategies and negotiations. Because these distance learning programs allow students to complete coursework at their own pace, they are ideal for working professionals who are trying to balance their education with full-time employment.