When you think of a career in transportation, you might picture yourself behind the wheel of a big rig, cruising down the highway. But the truth is that commercial trucking is just one of many career opportunities available in transportation.
In fact, you don’t have to be a truck driver or bus driver to work in transportation — you don’t even have to have a driver’s license or own a motor vehicle! Below, we lay out alternative transportation jobs, from transportation planning to supply chain analysis, and explain what educational credentials you need to score each.
Last but not least: We point you to some transportation and logistics companies hiring on Handshake right now, so you can see if there’s an employment opportunity for you.
Should you pursue a career in the transportation industry?
If you’re looking for work with promising job prospects, transportation and logistics is a great option. As of 2021, the transportation and warehousing industry employed 14.9 million people — about 10.2% of the United States labor force.
The global transportation industry is anticipated to grow at a rate of 3.4% through 2027.
Best degrees to help you land transportation jobs
Not all transportation jobs require a degree. For example, you can become a commercial trucker with a high school diploma or GED.
You need to meet other criteria — like having a commercial driver’s license (CDL), passing a background check, and having a clean driving record — but you can skip the four-year grind at college.
That said, other types of transportation jobs can benefit from an advanced degree. Here are a few educational paths that can help you get into the transportation sector:
- Logistics. Logistics coursework covers analyzing supply chain management (for example, using predictive analytics), materials transportation strategies, and capacity planning. You can become a logistics coordinator or supply chain analyst with this knowledge.
- Supply chain management. A supply chain management degree teaches you the skills to oversee supply chain processes, from purchasing raw materials to negotiating contracts and mitigating transport risks. With this degree, you can become a logistics coordinator, supply chain analyst, load planner, or logistics operations specialist.
- Engineering. The transportation field doesn’t just involve moving things from point A to point B. It also involves building infrastructure that accommodates all that movement. With a degree in civil engineering, you can become a transportation planner or transportation engineer, working on the optimization of public roadways, subways, bus lanes, and more.
Additional certifications or licenses
Depending on the career path you choose, you may need additional certifications. For example, you have to get a Class A CDL and be at least 21 years of age to work as a commercial trucker.
In some cases, additional certifications aren’t required but are helpful. For example, you might benefit from a certification in planning and inventory management to work in supply chains.
<h3>Industries where you can build a transportation career</h3>
Popular transportation employers on Handshake include logistics and shipping companies (like FedEx, DHL, and UPS) and freight companies (like Schneider). However, you can search jobs beyond logistics companies.
A transportation career is also possible in a job category like:
- Government. Government agencies like the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) hire for transportation roles, like transportation planners and transportation engineers. For example, on Handshake, you’ll see the Oregon DOT requiring administrative support and hiring for part-time roles and internships.
- Healthcare. The healthcare industry needs transportation. For example, emergency services need to send ambulances to people in need, and medical labs need to send medical samples to and from doctor’s offices, hospitals, and research facilities. You could work as a 911 dispatcher, for example, or a logistics coordinator.
- Security. You know those armored vehicles going to and from banks? That’s an entire transportation industry. For example, you could work as a coordinator for an entire fleet of armored vehicles.
- Air transport. When talking about transportation, you probably think of ground transportation. But logistics and supply chain managers also deal with air and ship transport. Freight brokers manage various transportation types. On Handshake, you’ll find information about air transport jobs, like pilots, air traffic controllers, and flight engineers.
Scroll down for a list of companies hiring on Handshake.
Top 10 entry-level jobs in the transportation industry
The transportation industry offers various entry-level job opportunities for recent college grads with various skills and interests. Here are the top 10 entry-level jobs to consider pursuing.
1. Logistics coordinator
Logistics coordinators oversee the various stages of the supply chain, helping raw materials get from suppliers to manufacturers, retailers, and customers. Their tasks include managing orders, restocking materials, and dealing with customers.
Median salary: $39,520 per year
- Bachelor’s degree in supply chain management, business administration, or similar
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Good eye for detail
- Highly organized
2. Transportation planner
Transportation planners help design, evaluate, and implement a city’s, county’s, or state’s transportation infrastructure, such as roads and subways. To optimize planning, they must consider factors from land use to environmental impact.
Median salary: $62,591 per year
- Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, urban planning, environmental science, geography, or similar
- Project management
- Good communication and presentation skills
- Problem-solving skills
3. Freight broker
Freight brokers serve as a point of contact between shipping and logistics companies and customers who need goods transported. They help match customers with freight carriers and book and manage orders.
Median salary: $45,019 per year
- High school diploma or equivalent (GED)
- Proficient with business tools like Microsoft 365
- Good problem-solving and negotiating skills
- Excellent people skills
4. Supply chain analyst
Supply chain analysts collect supply chain data and examine it, looking for ways to improve efficiency and reduce costs. They may also oversee the implementation of suggested changes, working with logistics and supply chain teams.
Median salary: $63,942 per year
- Bachelor’s degree in business analytics, mathematics, or logistics
- Excellent organization and communication skills
- Knowledge of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems
- Familiarity with supply chain processes like inventory planning and warehouse management
5. Transportation engineer
Transportation engineers are a type of civil engineer. They design highways, railways, airports, and similar infrastructure. They might find fitting job alerts through government agencies, engineering firms, or consultancies.
Median salary: $74,402 per year
- Bachelor’s degree in civil engineering
- Master’s or Ph.D. preferred
- Problem-solving and analytical skills
- Communication and presentation abilities
- Critical thinking
Dispatchers are responsible for managing requests for transportation and sending emergency or nonemergency transport vehicles as needed. For example, they may work for emergency services, towing companies, or for-hire driving companies.
Median salary: $49,957 per year
- High school diploma or GED
- Good communication skills
- Calm under pressure
- Ability to multitask
7. Customer service representative
Customer service representatives are on the front lines of the transportation industry, serving as a liaison between transport providers and customers. They may work for shipping or logistics providers, for example.
Median salary: $31,200 per year
- High school diploma or GED preferable, although not always required
- Great people skills
- Resilient to stress
- Well-organized and communicative
8. Load planner
Load planners oversee the freight transportation process, ensuring optimal use of resources and maximizing efficiency. They also make sure relevant logistics safety standards are upheld.
Median salary: $51,304 per year
- High school diploma or GED (minimum)
- Bachelor’s in supply chain management, business, or logistics preferred
- Analytical mindset
- Problem-solving skills
- Organized and good at multitasking
9. Fleet coordinator
Fleet coordinators oversee vehicle fleets and their teams (like drivers and mechanics). Their job is to coordinate fleet operations, for example, by assigning drivers to deliveries. They also make sure vehicles are maintained in line with safety standards.
Median salary: $66,055 per year
- High school diploma or GED (minimum)
- Good communication and leadership abilities
- Excellent project management skills
- Eye for detail
10. Logistics operations specialist
Logistics operations specialists help streamline logistics processes by coordinating multiple teams, including operations, administration, and sales. They also act as a point of contact between partner carriers, shippers, and customers.
Median salary: $62,500 per year
- Bachelor’s in supply chain management, business, or logistics
- Good communication and negotiation skills
- Attention to detail
- Ability to work well under pressure
Who’s hiring in Transportation on Handshake?
- Norfolk Southern
- FedEx Ground – Corporate
- Ryder System, Inc.
- NJ TRANSIT
- BNSF Railway
- DHL Supply Chain
- Enterprise Holdings
- Frontier Airlines
Find your dream career on Handshake
Jobs for transportation systems are diverse and can have you working in anything from logistics planning to customer service. The great thing about transport jobs is that they’re diverse. For example, you could deliver medical samples for a healthcare facility or plan roads for a municipal authority.
There’s a job description to suit every interest, experience level, and education. Some transportation roles, like transportation engineering, require an advanced degree — but others, like customer service, don’t even need a college degree.
Long story short: There’s probably a transportation services job for you. Find it now on Handshake. To get started, complete your job applicant profile and let human resources (HR) scouts reach out to you.