What Are Some Popular Jobs in the Transportation Industry?

The transportation industry contains a variety of different types of jobs, ranging from driver to laborer. Read on to gain an understanding of the transportation industry as a whole as well as a few of the jobs contained within. Schools offering Logistics & Transportation Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Opportunities

The following list of occupations represents some of the most popular jobs in transportation. Employment figures come from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov).

Important Facts About Popular Jobs in the Transportation Industry

Laborers and Material Movers Shipping, Receiving and Traffic Clerks Truck drivers, Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers Bus Drivers, School
Median Salary (2018) $27,270 $33,030 $43,680 $30,500 $32,420
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 7% growth 0% growth 6% growth 4% growth 5% growth
Licensure Commercial driver's license (CDL) required if work truck exceeds a certain weight No licensure available Commercial driver's license (CDL) required; hazardous materials endorsement (H) needed if transporting hazardous materials Valid driver's license required Commercial driver's license (CDL) with school bus (S) endorsement required
Key Skills Physical strength and endurance; coordination; close listening Attention to detail; clear communication; strong mathematical foundation Physically fit; coordination; strong seeing and hearing abilities Composure; coordination; customer focused Astute listening; physically fit; good coordination

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Laborers and Material Movers

These workers physically move materials on and off ships, loading docks, vehicles, and production areas. The material moved varies depending upon the industry and setting. Some examples might include construction materials or petroleum. Other duties may include sorting materials and preparing materials for shipment. According to the BLS, more than 3.9 million individuals worked as hand laborers and material movers in 2016.

Shipping, Receiving and Traffic Clerks

These workers keep records of all materials shipped or received. Specific jobs depend upon the size of the organization. Large organizations may have many workers doing specialized tasks with much of the work automated. Smaller companies may have fewer workers doing much of the work with only limited technology. Typically, only a high school diploma is necessary to obtain a position as a shipping, receiving or traffic clerk. According to the BLS, 681,400 individuals held such jobs in 2016.

Truck drivers, Heavy and Tractor-Trailer

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers make up another large percentage of individuals working in the transportation industry. The BLS reported that nearly 1.9 million heavy truck drivers worked in the United States in 2016. These truck drivers are responsible for delivering goods between states and even countries. Also known as over-the-road and long-haul drivers, heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers can have regular or varied routes. Often, on varied routes, drivers are simply given a destination and a deadline and the driver is responsible for the route. This provides unique challenges to the driver concerning the delivery of goods while obeying U.S. Department of Transportation policies.

Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers

These truck drivers are also known as pick-up and delivery (or P&D) drivers. They generally deliver items from distribution centers to homes or business in urban areas and small regions. Some drivers have to load materials into trucks and others have assistance. Also, in one day some drivers have one large load and others have multiple smaller loads. According to the BLS, about 953,500 truck drivers and delivery services workers were employed in 2016, while another 467,900 individuals were categorized as drivers/sales workers by the BLS.

Bus Drivers, School

Bus drivers hold another important job in the transportation field, and held approximately 507,900 positions in 2016, according to the BLS. School bus drivers often have regular morning and afternoon routes delivering children to and from school. They may have additional work transporting students to other school-related activities, such as sporting events or field trips.

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