How to Become a Freight Broker Online

Dec 23, 2019

Becoming a freight or customs broker is a largely online process and persons who are interested in this career will only need to appear in-person for the mandatory broker license exam.

Information About Freight Brokers

Freight brokers can also be called customs brokers and their main function is helping individuals or companies to import or export products in accordance with U.S. Federal requirements. This means freight brokers must be aware of all the applicable regulations that govern the importation and exportation of goods so they can submit the required documents and fees to the relevant authorities. Being a freight broker involves handling an extensive logistics chain while communicating in a timely fashion and most of the knowledge needed to do that can be earned online.

Required Skills Problem-solving, communication skills, critical-thinking, clerical skills
Job Growth* 6% for 2018-2028
Median Salary (2018)* $70,530 per year

Source: *U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics

Steps Involved in Becoming a Freight Broker Online

This section will outline the online resources that individuals can use in order to become a freight broker. While the overall process is mostly online, the licensing exam must be completed in-person.

Step 1. Earn a Bachelor's Degree

While having a bachelor's degree is not mandatory, it is helpful to have some basic understanding of logistics, cost management, and customer service. Bachelor's degrees in supply chain management will suit these needs well and can be attained completely online. These degree programs can have as little as 48 credit hours and students usually take course topics such as accounting, statistics, operations management, and quality management.

Step 2. Take a Freight Broker Training Program

Unlike a degree program that can cover information in a more generalized fashion, freight broker training programs are designed to introduce persons to the specifics of being a freight broker. These online programs can usually be completed within six months and in some cases contain the resources necessary to complete the licensing exam. A few of the topics that may be covered in these training programs include sales, marketing, and load dynamics.

Step 3. Apply for a US DOT Number

A US DOT number is an identification number that is unique to all individuals or companies that import and export. Apart from needing this number to be a freight broker, it will also be required when applying for a license. The US DOT number is granted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration department of the U.S. Department of Transportation. To apply for the number, applicants can register on the FMCSA website as the department maintains an online database.

Step 4. Apply for a Freight or Customs Broker License

Anyone who is at least 21 years of age and is not a Federal Government employee can apply for this license. Before submitting an application, persons must pass the Customs Broker License Examination, which is an open book test and has 80 multiple-choice questions. The examination is based on regulatory documents such as the Customs and Trade Automated Interface Requirements, the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States and Title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations. While these documents are available online for perusal, the test must be taken in-person at an approved location.

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