Transportation and Distribution Services

The transportation and distribution industry supports the delivery of raw materials and finished products to consumers, businesses and government agencies. To learn more about job options and employment outlook, earnings and education for transportation and distribution workers, read on.

Are Transportation and Distribution Services for Me?

Career Overview

The transportation and distribution industry includes a variety of professionals and trained workers, including those employed in air and ground transportation, distribution management, storage and warehousing. In general, their responsibilities include transporting raw goods and delivering end products to stores or consumer homes. Individuals who work in the material moving industry transport the raw materials used to create consumer products.

Career Options

If you decide to pursue a career in the air cargo or transportation industry, you might be employed as an aircraft mechanic, a cargo supervisor or a laborer. You could also pursue a job in ground transportation and warehousing, including truck driver, communication equipment operator or freight broker. As a distribution professional, you might hold a position in logistics management or sales.

Job Duties

Aircraft mechanics repair and replace the components of airplanes. They perform inspections and complete tasks related to preventative maintenance. Cargo supervisors ensure planes can handle the weight of cargo, manage the distribution of packages and supervise the loading and unloading of packages.

Truck drivers transport cargo to destination sites, supervise the unloading of cargo and ensure their routes meet U.S. Department of Transportation regulations. Communications equipment operators provide direction during the dispatch of delivery trucks. Additional support is provided by freight brokers, or agents, who help distribution companies manage the delivery of cargo to destination sites.

Employment and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2013, the median annual wage for transportation, storage and distribution managers was $83,890, while aircraft cargo supervisors and freight agents earned $44,840 and $40,250, respectively. As of May 2013, aircraft mechanics and service technicians had a median annual income of $55,980.

As reported by the BLS, minimal to no change in job growth was expected for aircraft cargo handling supervisors nationwide from 2012-2022. An employment increase of 14% was projected for cargo and freight agents, which is about average compared to all occupations. Aircraft mechanics and technicians can also expect minimal to no change in opportunities through 2022 (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Work in Transportation and Distribution Services?

Overview of Requirements

The educational requirements for a career in transportation and distribution services vary according to the level of responsibility and occupational title. For example, while a high school diploma can qualify you for a job in material moving, you'll most likely need some type of postsecondary education to work as a manager. Additionally, an industry certification may be required to operate heavy equipment, such as cranes. Potential employers might require candidates for more physically demanding jobs to pass a medical examination.

Undergraduate Programs

Aspiring managers and other professionals who are interested in transportation and distribution services can pursue a bachelor's degree in business administration, economics or industrial distribution. Business administration programs typically include courses in finance, human resources, management and accounting. As an economics major, you'll study macroeconomics, microeconomics, financial accounting, law and public policy. If you enroll in an industrial distribution program, you can expect to take courses in business, technology and engineering.

Certification

If you plan to work in the aeronautics industry as an aircraft mechanic, you'll need to obtain Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification or work under the direct supervision of an FAA certified mechanic. A listing of approved aviation maintenance technician schools can be found through the FAA; certification is awarded after successfully completing a series of written, oral and practical examinations (www.faa.gov).

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