Is Transportation A Good Career Path for Graduates? | 2023 – (Updated)


Before you jump into the next degree in transportation, it’s important you find out if transportation is a good career path.

Luckily, the transportation industry is a huge employer of labor across the globe. There are many industries to work in, from shipping and trucking to airlines and ocean-going vessels.

As a result, it might not be easy, especially for young professionals to choose a career in this industry. Therefore, this article will discuss in detail various transportation mediums and career paths you can look out for.

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What is Transportation?

Transportation is the movement of goods and persons from place to place.

In ancient times, people journeyed to distant lands on camelbacks. Later, they crafted simple boats out of logs.

Afterward, they devised wheeled vehicles to move from place to place. But today, we can easily travel by air, water, and land routes.

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Examples Of Transportation

The following are examples of transportation that are powering the movement of freights and people around the world:


Aviation is transportation by air. Air transportation help to move passengers, baggage, cargo, and mail, separately or in combination, from one place to another.

Some of the best jobs in aviation are:

Commercial Airplane Pilot

A commercial airplane pilot job could be a good career path if you love flying people. There are many commercial pilots working in the transportation industry. While some fly passengers regularly others fly cargo planes in the goods supply chain.

Companies like FedEx, UPS, and Amazon have become active in this industry, currently operating fleets of cargo planes across the globe.

So, commercial airplane pilots are in high demand. You can even work in some of the best airlines in the U.S. such as South West Airlines, Blue Airways, Delta Air Lines, and Alaska Airlines.

Most of these airlines pay really well. They also offer good compensation. For instance, a pilot can make $262,183 per year at South West Airlines. Similarly, pilots earn $213,195 at JetBlue Airlines (Source).

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Freight Broker

Freight forwarding companies work in different sectors of transportation, not just aviation. They serve as the middlemen between customers with cargo that need transportation and freight companies that offer transportation services.

A freight broker is a logistics expert who uses their knowledge of transportation tactics and organizational skills to:

  • Prepare all documents necessary for importing or exporting goods. 
  • Select transportation providers to move the goods to their destination. 
  • Negotiate freight charges on behalf of their clients.
  • Consolidate freight for fewer shipments. 
  • Manage inventory during the storage and transportation processes. 
  • File insurance claims when necessary. 

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Land Transportation

Most people live on land. And land transportation consists mainly of rail and road. Land transportation offers varieties of jobs with good career paths.

Some of the popular jobs in land transportation are:

1. Truck Driver

Truck driving involves long hours and extreme focus. Your duty is to move goods between manufacturers, via different warehouses, stores, and other destinations.

As a truck driver, you’ll plan routes, obtain certifications and inspect your vehicles.

Then you’ll be able to transport products, goods, and raw materials within the country and internationally.

Truck drivers pick up goods from containers at the seaport. And move them to the required destinations. Your route can be local, regional, or across the border.

There is high demand for truck drivers, however, to become a truck driver, you’ll need to:

  • attend a truck driving school
  • pass a test in order to earn a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)

The average base salary of a truck driver is $81,148 per year.

2. Train Engineer

In the transportation industry, you can build a good career path in the rail sector. Train engineers play an important role in conveying people and freights to different destinations.

Train engineers drive trains and ensure everything is functional throughout the trip. Also, they listen to dispatchers and make adjustments based on weather conditions.

However, you will need a High school diploma or GED to qualify as a trained engineer. Also, an engineer certification through the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) can help boost your employability.

The average Train Engineer salary in the United States is $94,057 in 2022 according to However various factors can affect the salary of a train engineer.

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3. Truck Dispatcher

The role of a truck dispatcher is to coordinate and manage the schedule of truck drivers. You’ll ensure products and goods are picked up and delivered on schedule.

In addition, you’ll receive calls for truck services and contact your fleet of truck drivers to organize pickup.

The responsibilities of a trucking dispatcher are:

  • Receive emergency and non-emergency calls
  • Monitor driver logs
  • Keep records
  • Address problems and
  • Dispatch appropriate team members

The average Truck Dispatcher’s salary in the United States is $51,662 according to However, the salary range typically falls between $44,366 and $60,584.

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4. Railroad Yardmasters

Railroad Yard Masters oversee and coordinate the activities of workers in the rail yard. Their duties include:

  • Delegate work and provide directions
  • Keep records regarding schedules, routes, destinations, and cargo content
  • keep engineers informed of route changes, cargo content, and schedules, and let them know when to start and stop trains, or change speeds
  • Inform workers when to add or remove railcars, switch tracks, or reroute traffic

The average railroad yardmaster’s salary is $50,613 according to However, the range typically falls between $41,089 and $61,458.

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Marine Transportation

Another type of transportation where you can find a good career path is water. Water transportation is the most cost-effective way to transport bulky and perishable goods over long distances.

Some of the popular jobs in marine transportation are:

5. Dock Workers

Dock workers are also called longshore workers. They do the difficult and physically demanding job of loading and unloading cargo from ships docked in ports.

Longshore workers are in demand because of the important role they play in sea-to-land transportation.

The average salary for a dock worker is $19.50 per hour in the United States and $5,344 overtime per year. This is based on 6.8k salaries reported on in 2022.

6. Warehouse Workers

Warehouse workers play a crucial role in the land, air, and water transportation. The duties of warehouse workers are:

  • Pull, prepare, deliver, and pick up orders
  • Receive, scan and process stock products
  • Perform inventory controls
  • Keep clean and safe work areas
  • Report on stock and inventory levels and input data into software systems
  • Operate and maintain warehouse equipment to move products from one location to another

The average salary for a warehouse worker is $17.56 per hour in the United States and $4,875 overtime per year. This is based on 173.1k salaries reported on

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Is Transportation A Good Career Path?

Yes, it is! The work you do in transportation will make an impact on your life, the lives of others, and the economy. In other words, there’s a retable purpose because you’ll deal with real people and a vital part of the economy.

Secondly, transportation is a good career part because you’ll have opportunities for advancement.

With online shopping growing by the minute, there’s no slowing down in transportation and logistics. So, this is the time to join the ride and build your career path in transportation.

This industry is fast-past. You’ll encounter new challenges all the time, but that’s where the excitement lies.

Every challenge is an opportunity to release your creative power and come up with innovative solutions.

In addition, transportation is a career path that offers you the opportunity to grow. Challenges will come hard on you. But they’ll make you grow!

For a start, you might be pushed by irate customers. Also, there are competitive and hard-driven superiors to deal with.

By the time you’ve developed the skills to handle these challenges, you’ll begin to feel a sense of satisfaction.

But wait! here’s another point that makes transportation a good career part: good pay. You didn’t think we’ll leave that out, did you?

Finally, to make the points about transportation being a good career path clearer, we’ve listed the benefits of transportation below.

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What are the Benefits of Working in Transportation?

Now let’s show you more reasons you might want to take up a career path in transportation if you have not decided already. We believe the experienced words of Jeremy Messner, the VP, of Logistics Operations at Steve’s Livestock Transport, will be more convincing.

Just like Albert Einstein said, “the only source of knowledge is experience.


A career in transportation can give you a sense of purpose. This is because it affects a whole lot of people.

Therefore, if you want to go to work every day knowing that what you do has a real impact on real people, Jeremy says: “work in transportation”.

Growth Opportunity

A career in transportation will provide numerous opportunities for learning and development. For instance, your job will expose you to problems in fields such as economics, mathematics, technology, international law, and customer relations, to name a few.

The good thing is, that most transportation and logistics firms offer in-house training programs. Also, many will support outside education.


Most industries will limit you to certain kinds of information. Thankfully, the transportation industry is different. In other words, you get to know a lot about a lot of things.

For example, to truly add value, you must first understand your customers’ businesses. Apparently, most transportation companies serve customers from a variety of industries.

So, you’ll learn about the retail and grocery business, industrial manufacturing, automotive manufacturing, and service parts logistics.

Also, you’ll gather knowledge in online retailing, and countless other industries that you are likely unfamiliar with. Isn’t that amazing!?


The world of logistics is diverse. Corporate cultures, professional bodies, and local associations create the foundations that connect people from shippers, carriers, and third-party logistics providers.

So, you’ll belong to an elite group of people that share one thing in common – their passion for transportation and logistics.

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What are the Job Prospects for Transportation?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in transportation and material moving occupations is projected to grow 9% from 2020 to 2030.

This is about as fast as the average for all occupations and adds about 1.1 million jobs. In addition, material moving workers are expected to be needed to move materials in nearly all sectors of the economy.

Also, the economy depends on truck drivers to transport freight and keep supply chains moving.

How Much Can You Make From Transportation?

The median annual wage for transportation and material moving occupations was $36,860 in May 2021 according to the BLS. This was below the median for all occupations of $45,760.

However, in 2022, ZipRecruiter places top Earners at $85,500. Then, those in the 75th Percentile make $63,000 while average earners make $50,789. On the other hand, the 25th Percentile earners make $31,000 per year.

Nevertheless, let’s show you the highest-paid transportation career paths for graduates in 2023.

7 Highly Paid Transportation Career Paths for Graduates

1. Analyst

The analyst is the most popular entry-level logistics and transportation position. You’ll need to have good math and computer skills for these positions.

Also, you have to be able to work in a team as analysts are expected to recommend solutions to their supervisors.

The duties of a logistics analyst are to;

  • review logistics processes and procedures;
  • identify, recommend, and implement, improvements to maximize delivery efficiency while minimizing costs

The average salary for a logistics analyst is $61,200 per year in the United States and a $3,000 cash bonus per year. This is based on 483 salaries reported on in 2022.

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2. Marine Chief Engineer

A marine chief engineer is responsible for the safe operation of all marine vessels. He maintains all equipment and ensures they’re functional.

In addition, they train all crew members on the safe use of equipment. A key attribute you’ll need as a chief engineer is good communication.

This is because you’ll need to communicate instructions to your crew members. And also deal with external contractors such as technicians and suppliers.

A marine chief engineer makes a total pay of $120,818 per year according to glassdoor.

Marine Chief Engineer Salary

3. Air Traffic Controller

An air traffic controller regulates aircraft safety. They work mainly from control centers and also from control towers at airports.

As an air traffic controller, you’ll use radio communication equipment to give advice, information, and instruction to pilots.

You’ll need proper concentration to be able to succeed in this role. You can work as an approach controller, aerodrome controller, or area controller.

An air traffic controller makes an average base pay of $93,208 according to payscale.

Air Traffic Controller Base Pay

Air Traffic Controller is one of the best jobs in the US Air Force. Top companies recruiting for traffic controllers on glassdoor are:

  • U.S. Air Force
  • The FAA
  • The US Navy
  • U.S. Department of Transportation
  • The US Marine Corps
  • Amazon
  • The US Department of Defence
  • Target
  • USP

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4. Flight Test Engineer

Flight test engineers are very important in air transportation. They help us ensure aircraft are good enough to stay up there without falling off the sky.

So the duty of a flight engineer is to ensure that new aircraft designs meet all applicable safety standards.

Also, they work to ensure that existing designs continue to meet these standards as they undergo any changes or updates.

You can get a test pilot job in the commercial transportation industry and build a great career. You can also work with the government through the military or the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

To become a flight test engineer, you’ll start by getting an engineering degree. You can major in aerospace, electrical or mechanical engineering.

But that’s not all. See tips on how to become a flight test engineer

  • Earn a masters in flight test engineering
  • Pursue on-the-job training opportunities. Or
  • Consider joining the U.S. Air Force and getting trained in flight test engineering programs or still
  • Pursue a career path in the US Department of Defense as a civilian. You can apply to a military test pilot school and train as a civilian.

The average Flight Test Engineer’s salary in the United States is $92,997 according to

Flight Test Engineer Salary

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5. Purchasing Manager

A Purchasing manager finds materials suppliers across the world, sign them to contracts, and manages relationships with them.

They can work with carriers such as UPS, FedEx, and USPS, who distribute goods or products that are ready to be sold or already have been.

Hence purchasing managers source materials for manufacturers and have them delivered for production.

They also communicate with inventory and warehouse managers to coordinate the delivery of materials.

The average Purchasing Manager salary in the United States is $123,174 according to

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6. Logistics Manager

In transportation, a lot of young professionals are building a good career path as logistics managers.

However, a logistics manager is a professional responsible for ensuring that the supply chain is efficient and effective throughout the organization.

The role of a logistics and distribution manager is to;

  • organize the storage and distribution of goods
  • to ensure that the right products are delivered to the right location on time and at a good cost
  • organize transportation, stock control, warehousing, and monitoring of the flow of goods.

The average Logistics Manager’s salary in the United States is $113,002 according to

Logistics Manager Salary

To qualify as a logistics manager, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in business, logistics, operations engineering, supply chain management, or similar degree areas.

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7. Freight Operations Supervisor

A freight supervisor oversees receiving and shipping operations on daily basis.
The roles of a freight supervisor are:

  • Monitor employees
  • Supervise freight flow processes
  • Maintain stock areas
  • Manage the freight team efficiently to ensure on-time delivery of orders.
  • Ensure that team follows company policies and standards

The freight operations supervisor position generally requires a bachelor’s degree and experience in the transportation industry.

The average annual pay for a Freight Operations Supervisor in the United States is $55,357 year according to ZipRecruiter.

Why Choose a Career in Transportation?

The transportation business is one of the most important sectors of any nation’s or state’s economy. No business can survive without transportation. As a result, it employs a large number of individuals, ranging from drivers to logistics staff.

Working in the transportation business or sector, whether public or private, is one way to earn some money while pursuing a fantastic career in your field of interest.

As a result, the following are some of the most essential reasons to work in the transportation industry:

Job Security

Transportation is a high-demand and quickly-growing business. As a result of your experience in the transportation business and the lack of workers created by the industry’s strong demand, you are guaranteed job stability.

This is especially true if you have vast experience in logistics and truck driving, among other fields.

Creates An Impact

Working in the transportation sector is a rewarding career path that has an influence by ensuring that commodities are carried swiftly, safely, and efficiently from one location to another.

Aside from that, it has an economic influence, not only on the state but also on oneself. In fact, most occupations in the transportation sector pay well and have a positive influence on people’s lives.

New Challenges Everyday

A career in the transportation business is a demanding one. You will encounter challenges that will require problem-solving and decision-making.

However, these challenges may help you improve your job abilities and motivate you to be creative and innovative in your field.

Develop New Skills

Of course, your skill set will be incomplete unless you face obstacles or solve issues. The transportation business is full of issues that demand problem-solving, leadership, organizational abilities, and more.

As a result, as your career in the transportation business progresses, you will develop certain vital abilities that will be beneficial in the long term.


Transportation is a good career path for many young professionals with the right attitude. It offers good pay, depending on the transportation sector you are in and also the company you work with.

In addition, there’s room for growth, leadership, and connection with diverse sectors of the economy. Also, because of the rapid growth in this industry, it has an economic influence, not only on the state but also on oneself.

Frequently Asked Questions on is transportation a good career path

Is transportation a good field?

Yes, it is a good field that offers good pay and room for growth.

What transportation jobs pay the most?

Logistics manager

$113,002 per year on average

What jobs can you get with a degree in transportation?

  • Analyst.
  • Logistics Engineer.
  • Consultant.
  • Customer Service.
  • Purchasing Manager.
  • International Logistics Manager.
  • Inventory Manager.
  • Supply-Chain Manage
  • Logistics Manager
  • Freight Operations Supervisor

What skills are needed for transportation?

  • Communication Skills.
  • Teamwork Skills.
  • Problem Solving Skills.
  • Self-Management Skills.
  • Self-Belief Skills.

Is transportation a good field?

Yes, it is a good field that offers good pay and room for growth.

What transportation jobs pay the most?

Logistics manager

$113,002 per year on average

What jobs can you get with a degree in transportation?

  • Analyst.
  • Logistics Engineer.
  • Consultant.
  • Customer Service.
  • Purchasing Manager.
  • International Logistics Manager.
  • Inventory Manager.
  • Supply-Chain Manage
  • Logistics Manager
  • Freight Operations Supervisor

What skills are needed for transportation?

  • Communication Skills.
  • Teamwork Skills.
  • Problem Solving Skills.
  • Self-Management Skills.
  • Self-Belief Skills.



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