What Is Air Cargo Transportation?

Air cargo transportation workers prepare shipments for delivery aboard cargo jets, and they run security detail on goods coming from overseas. Read more about the job duties and education requirements for careers in air cargo transportation to see if this field would be a good fit for you. Schools offering Driver Training degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Industry Defined

Air cargo transportation is an occupation field in the logistics and warehousing sector of the airline industry in which items are stored and shipped across the country and around the world via commercial and private services. The transportation of goods from place to place is becoming more and more common in today's global marketplace; according to the U.S. Labor of Bureau Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), air cargo in particular is growing at an above average rate as goods are being shipped internationally more frequently. Several different jobs within the field of air cargo transportation are available, including handlers, administrative workers, and security, among others.

Important Facts About This Field

Key Skills Customer-service, multitasking, and sometimes computer skills
Professional Certification Economic Authority can be granted through the United States Department of Transportation.
On-the-Job Training Additional professional training is available through the International Air Transport Association.
Median Salary (2018) $43,210 (for cargo and freight agents)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Requirements and Work Environment

A career in air cargo transportation is a laborious one, so you would need to be able to lift heavy objects and stay on your feet for long stretches of time. Some positions in the field may require you to know how to operate machinery such as forklifts and pallet jacks. Since much of the work is done in relation to deadlines, you need to work well in a fast-paced and hectic environment. You'll also adhere to any and all safety guidelines set forth by your employer.


Many careers in the air cargo transportation industry only require you to have a high school diploma or its equivalent. If you do wish to gain formal training in the field, you could earn a certificate in air cargo transportation. A sampling of the courses you could expect to take would be economics, labor, security, and management. Some of the higher-level jobs in the field may require an associate's or bachelor's degree in management or logistics.

Career Outlook

Due to the increasing demand for goods from around the world, the outlook for jobs as a freight or cargo agent was expected to grow by about 10% from 2016-2026, according to the BLS. However, since cargo transportation is closely tied to local and global markets, employment in the field can shift with the economics of the time.

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