How to Become a Freight Broker: Education and Career Roadmap
Research the requirements to become a freight broker. Learn about the job description and duties and read the step-by-step process to start a career as a freight broker.
Do I Want to 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.
According to job postings, employers generally seek applicants that have a bachelor's degree in business, logistics, or a related field. Some entry-level positions are open to candidates that have a high school diploma and years of work experience. 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*|
|Computer Skills||Industry software may include: procurement software; spreadsheet software; inventory management software; transportation management software*|
Sources: *O*NET Online, **December 2012 job postings, ***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.
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