Transportation is a broad industry that includes different types of roles and titles, ranging from simple local and public services to water and air transport. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is projecting a 3% increase in transportation jobs for the next nine-year period. This is fantastic news for all those looking to enter this industry and compete for a variety of available jobs.

With that in mind, we decided to make things easier for you, and have filtered and compiled a list of the top jobs in this industry. In addition to the job listing, we also provide insight into the know-how and what to expect in terms of responsibilities and salaries.

Top-Tier List of Transportation Jobs in 2020

What You Need to Know About Jobs in Transportation

A growing population is responsible for the great need for transportation services due to an increase in demand for various products. About 8 million American citizens work in the transportation industry. Nearly 3 million are employed as truck drivers who are responsible for transporting products and goods across the nation.

The highest in-demand and most sought-after jobs in this industry are logistical personnel, movers, and drivers. However, there are also other incredible transportation job opportunities, like management or clerical jobs. Management positions are necessary to oversee and navigate all services within a company successfully.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that this industry will add about 448,900 new jobs by 2029. It’s wonderful news for those who love working in this industry and those seeking employment.

With the employment outlook looking good, now it’s time to take a look at the various careers available in the transportation industry.

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What Kind of Careers Are There in Transportation?

The transportation industry offers a wide variety of careers to choose from, depending on an individual’s skill set and preferences. There are different sectors and categories, including public transport, nationwide delivery transport, coordination and logistics occupations, management roles, or mechanical and engineering positions. Employers within this industry also have different educational criteria for applicants, as well as working schedules.

That said, here is a list of the different occupations, each with their own set of specifications.

1. Public Transportation Jobs

Public transportation includes local transit systems operators, intercity bus drivers, and school bus drivers. To apply as a driver, you would need to hold at least a high school diploma and possess a valid driver’s license.

The transit schedule determines the usual working week of bus drivers. Transit drivers may also work on weekends, with late night and early morning shifts being quite common. School transportation jobs are a bit different as they may need to make multiple runs, depending on when schools open and close.

Workers in this occupation earn a solid paycheck, with a median hourly pay of $20.69.

  • Education Requirements: High School Diploma or equivalent
  • Employment Growth Outlook: 9% by 2029
  • Median Annual Salary: $43,030

The employment outlook for bus drivers is looking good, with projections estimating a 9% increase in jobs within the next nine years. However, this occupation also has one of the highest injury rates because of an increased risk of vehicle accidents.

2. Local Transportation Jobs

Local transport includes taxi drivers, chauffeurs, and ride-hailing drivers. To work as a taxi driver or chauffeur, you don’t need formal education, but only a valid driver’s license, and no notable driving priors. Many workers in this occupation work part-time.

Their general work week may vary, though, as numerous housing market trends indicate when people buy or sell properties, they need to transport lots of stuff at a moment’s notice. So, late-night shifts and weekend work are a frequent occurrence. Moreover, they are flexible in working hours and can take breaks whenever they need or want.

However, these local transport jobs are also the lowest earners in terms of median salaries. Their median hourly pay amounts to $12.49 per hour.

  • Education Requirements: No formal education required
  • Employment Growth Outlook: 20% by 2028
  • Median Annual Salary: $25,980

The employment outlook for local transportation drivers is superb. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates an increase in open positions of 20% for the next eight years. That’s a staggering percentage, as the need for chauffeurs, especially ride-hailing drivers, is increasing with more and more customers using mobile apps for such services.

3. Driving Transportation Jobs

The most common transport drivers are heavy trailer truck drivers who are responsible for the transportation of goods and products from one location to another. To become a truck driver, you will first need to finish high school and then attend a professional truck driving school to obtain a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL).

A truck driver is a lifestyle choice, as they don’t have typical working hours. Most of the time, truck drivers are away from home for days, weeks, or even months. These transportation driver jobs are tough, to say the least, but are also receiving hefty paychecks for their work. The median hourly pay for truck drivers is $21.76.

  • Education Requirements: High school diploma and CDL
  • Employment Growth Outlook: 2% by 2029
  • Median Annual Salary: $45,260

The employment outlook for truck drivers is stable, with a notable increase in growth rate of about 2% for the next nine years. This means that an additional 30,600 jobs will be available by 2029.

4. Distribution Transportation Jobs

Distribution transportation positions include delivery drivers, dispatchers, and driver sales workers. This occupation requires only a high school diploma to be able to work, and also offers on-the-job training.

It’s a physically demanding job, with a lot of loading/unloading of goods and driving to different locations. Working hours are standard, but additional working hours are rather frequent. Oftentimes, delivery might require more hours to complete due to longer distances. For these reasons, dispatcher jobs are quite common in transportation to navigate drivers to their target locations successfully.

For their services, distribution workers receive a median hourly pay of $15.39.

  • Education Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent
  • Employment Growth Outlook: 2% by 2028
  • Median Annual Salary: $32,020

The growth rate for these jobs indicates steady employment, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates as low as a 2% increase within the next eight years. This small increase in the distribution transportation employment might seem insignificant at first glance. However, it means that there will be around 3,010 new jobs per year on average, all the way through 2028.

5. Traffic And Transportation Logistics Jobs

Traffic and transportation logistics includes logistics analyst and traffic supervisor, among various other positions. To apply for a position in logistics, you would need to hold a Bachelor’s degree. Previous working experience is not necessary, and there is no on-the-job training as well.

These jobs in transportation are high-stress and fast-paced, and you can apply to work in almost every industry. Logisticians, in particular, work standard business hours — Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.

The median hourly pay for this occupation is $35.94, which is significantly higher compared to other occupations in this field.

  • Education Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree
  • Employment Growth Outlook: 4% by 2029
  • Median Annual Salary: $74,750

The employment rate for this occupation is looking good. The BLS estimates a 4% growth rate by 2029, which means an additional 8,200 new jobs for the next nine years.

6. Management Transportation Jobs

Management in transportation includes general managers, storage and distribution managers, and logistics managers.

This occupation requires the completion of a Bachelor’s degree to enter successfully. Previous working experience is often required, although it depends mostly on the employer’s set of preferences.

Management jobs typically require workers to clock in 40 hours per week during the standard business days. After hours and weekend, work is uncommon for this occupation.

The median hourly pay for these transportation manager jobs is $45.46 and is among the highest in this industry.

  • Education Requirements: Bachelor’s Degree
  • Employment Growth Outlook: 6% by 2028
  • Median Annual Salary: $103,320

The employment outlook for this occupation is excellent, with a projected growth rate of 6% for the next eight years. Management positions will see an increase of about 11,400 new jobs by 2028.

7. Water Transportation Jobs

Water transportation includes sailors, captains, marine operators, and crew members, among other positions. To apply for marine transportation jobs or other various water transport jobs, you don’t need formal education. However, you would need to complete an approved training program by the US coast guard. In addition, for work on ships, you must have a transportation worker identification credential (TWIC) issued by the transportation security administration.

Strict requirements are needed because these workers may spend months out on the sea and away from their homes.

The salary for water transportation jobs isn’t high, but it isn’t too low either. Namely, water transportation workers receive a median hourly pay of $27.56.

  • Education Requirements: US Coast Guard Approved Training Program
  • Employment Growth Outlook: 0% by 2029
  • Median Annual Salary: $57,330

In the next nine years, the BLS projects little to no change in the growth rate for this occupation. The employment rate for this position is dictated by the demand for bulk commodities, such as grains and petroleum products. Despite having limited employment growth, 8,100 positions are expected to open up each year on average.

8. Air Transportation Jobs

Air transportation includes air traffic controllers, airline and commercial pilots, and flight attendants. To become an air traffic controller, you would need an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree. Previous working experience is also necessary, as is United States citizenship.

For a pilot, you don’t need formal education, but you’ll need a commercial pilot’s license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Air traffic controllers work in route centers or control towers, with rotation and weekend shifts being quite common. These transport jobs require maximum concentration at all times. Pilots, on the other hand, have varying schedules depending on the airline’s flight plans.

Their median hourly pay amounts to $59.13 for air traffic controllers and $60.72 for commercial pilots.

  • Education Requirements: Associate’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, or Commercial Pilot’s License
  • Employment Growth Outlook: 1% to 5% by 2029
  • Median Annual Salary: $75,760 to $122,990

The employment rate for this occupation is stable. The BLS reports between 1% and 5% growth rate for the next nine years, meaning somewhere between 100 and 6,100 new jobs will be available.

How to Choose the Best Transportation Career

Choosing the best career path may seem like the hardest thing to do. There are no shortcuts or secrets to picking the best possible solution. It all comes down to each person’s education, skills, preferences, and experiences, as well as their ambition.

With that in mind, we’re going to provide you with a list of some of the most common and best positions you can find in transportation. Hopefully, this will help you ease the burden of choosing the ideal career for you.

1. Bus Drivers

These transportation jobs require a Class B commercial driver’s license to operate a bus. Bus drivers transport various people, from workers, kids, students to elderly people, between different locations across local and national borders.

Responsibilities:
  • Basic checking and maintenance of oil, lights, and tires
  • Making sure the bus is clean and presentable
  • Follow a predetermined route and pick up and drop off passengers
  • Follow procedures and obey all traffic laws.
Salary:
  • Lowest salary: $21k
  • Highest salary: $43k
  • Average base salary: $29,814
  • Average additional compensation: $1,057

Bus drivers earn an average monthly paycheck of $2,484. They may also receive additional cash compensation, ranging from $198 up to $7,782 per year.

2. Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs need to know their way around the city in which they work. Even though these are part-time transportation jobs for some people, solid knowledge of common whereabouts is important to have.

Nevertheless, you can work full-time and enjoy all the benefits that come with the job. Knowledge of shopping center locations, streets, airports, and other relevant places is imperative since you’ll be driving people from different locations to where they need to be.

Responsibilities:
  • Undergo checking and basic maintenance of the vehicle
  • Making sure the car is clean both inside and outside
  • Pick up passengers and help them with their luggage
  • Drive passengers to their desired locations and obey all traffic laws.
Salary:
  • Lowest salary: $17k
  • Highest salary: $48k
  • Average base salary: $29,695
  • Average additional compensation: $5,716

In the transportation industry, these jobs are subjected to receive an average monthly wage of $2,474. They may also receive additional cash compensation, ranging from a minimum of $1,284 up to a whopping $50,394 per year.

3. Truck Drivers

Truck drivers transport goods and heavy loads from one location to another. Most truck drivers are long-haul drivers, which means they deliver goods across different states while operating trucks with more than 26,000 GVW capacity.

Truck driving is considered one of the toughest transportation service jobs due to the high mileage they cover, spanning across days, weeks, and even months.

Responsibilities:
  • Inspect truck trailer and report any defects or mechanical problems
  • Make sure equipment is clean, and keep a log of daily activities
  • Drive long distances and follow all traffic laws
  • Report any road incidents to dispatchers.
Salary:
  • Lowest salary: $36k
  • Highest salary: $78k
  • Average base salary: $58,345
  • Average additional compensation: $3,054

Truck drivers earn hefty amounts for their work. Namely, their average monthly wage amounts to $4,862, and may also receive additional cash compensation ranging from $246 up to a fantastic $17,210 per year.

4. Delivery Drivers

These transportation jobs are responsible for delivering small shipments and packages within an urban area or local region. To operate trucks for transporting merchandise, you would need a Class B commercial driver’s license.

Responsibilities:
  • Maintain, check, and report any defects or mechanical malfunctions
  • Load, unload, secure, and deliver cargo to the destination
  • Accept payments and handle the paperwork
  • Drive to destinations and report any road incidents to dispatchers.
Salary:
  • Lowest salary: $19k
  • Highest salary: $45k
  • Average base salary: $27,113
  • Average additional compensation: $7,560

There are many transportation job openings for delivery drivers. However, their salary is not the most lucrative. Delivery drivers earn, on average, $2,259 per month. They may also receive additional cash compensation, ranging from $914 up to a staggering $22,453 per year.

5. Logistics Specialist

Logisticians are responsible for conducting analysis and coordination of a distributor’s system for moving products and goods from the supplier to the consumer. Analysis plays a key role here, so you might find lots of transportation analyst jobs.

Responsibilities:
  • Work with suppliers and customers to develop relationships
  • Work to understand their needs and ways to meet them
  • Design tactics and strategies to minimize transport costs
  • Review fundamental logistical functions and direct materials and product allocation.
Salary:
  • Lowest salary: $33k
  • Highest salary: $62k
  • Average base salary: $44,714
  • Average additional compensation: $3,513

Logisticians earn an average monthly wage of $3,726, and may also receive additional cash compensation. This compensation may come in the form of performance-related bonuses or overtime work and usually ranges between yearly sums of $639 and $16,496.

6. Traffic Manager

These transportation planner and manager jobs are responsible for planning and coordinating all types of product shipments within a company in a fast, efficient, and safe manner.

Responsibilities:
  • Supervise shipments and schedule daily and weekly routes
  • Make sure shipment documents are organized, as well as completed orders and schedules
  • Track orders and collaborate with warehouse workers for distribution
  • Make sure the company complies with shipping legislation and safety regulations.
Salary:
  • Lowest salary: $30k
  • Highest salary: $68k
  • Average base salary: $45,878
  • Average additional compensation: $2,274

Traffic managers earn a substantial paycheck, averaging a monthly wage of $3,823. They are also subjected to receive additional cash compensation, ranging from $623 up to $10,211.

7. Water Transportation Workers

Water transportation specialist jobs require identification credentials and specialized training by the United States Coast Guard. These workers operate various ships, vessels, and boats that transport people and cargo over water.

Responsibilities:
  • Maintain and operate various non-military boats and vessels
  • Follow and respect the boat’s chain of command
  • Oversee and ensure all safety protocols are properly administered
  • Ensure the safety of cargo and everyone on board.
Salary:
  • Lowest salary: $48k
  • Highest salary: $99k
  • Average base salary: $65,028
  • Average additional compensation: $2,038

Water transportation workers receive a monthly wage of $5,419, making them one of the better-paying occupations. They may also receive additional cash compensation, ranging from $458 up to $5,475 per year.

8. Airline and Commercial Pilot

Pilots are considered hot shot transportation jobs among many individuals in this industry. Primarily, pilots navigate and fly helicopters and airplanes, transporting people to different locations. Oftentimes, they may fly aircraft for transporting cargo or participate in firefighting and rescue operations.

Responsibilities:
  • Check and ensure the overall condition of the aircraft is below its weight limit and is balanced
  • Ensure adequate weather conditions are available and submit flight plans to traffic control
  • Monitor fuel supply, fuel consumption, engines, and weather during the flight
  • Navigate various aircraft and fly along predetermined routes and schedules.
Salary:
  • Lowest salary: $41k
  • Highest salary: $256k
  • Average base salary: $101,699
  • Average additional compensation: $10,615

These are the highest paying transportation jobs, recording a fantastic average wage of $8,474 per month. Just like the rest of the transportation occupations, pilots aren’t immune to additional cash compensation and can receive an average sum of $10,615 per year.

Work Environment

The working conditions for this industry vary from occupation to occupation. Generally, standard working hours apply for almost all positions. However, some may exceed the regular working hours and require weekend work and night shifts, like public and local transportation.

Others are considered to be lifestyle choices and require absence from home for weeks and months, such as truck drivers or water transport workers. Transportation supervisor jobs are the only ones with typical 9-to-5, Monday through Friday working hours.

Job Outlook

The employment outlook for the transportation industry is looking good. With the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting an increase for almost all occupations, the future of this field is looking bright.

Flight attendants will experience the highest growth rate with projections of a 17% increase within the next nine years. The lowest growth rate of all transportation jobs is reported to be for water transportation workers with little to no increase at all.

Summary

The United States economy depends on transportation services to deliver freight, goods, and products to keep supply chains moving. For these reasons, jobs in transportation are of utmost importance and, fortunately, these careers are experiencing a steady growth rate with high demand.

In this article, we addressed the requirements, responsibilities, and salaries needed for each occupation. And to further aid in that process, we also provided a thorough list of available jobs at the beginning of the article.

We hope this valuable insight will help you find your ideal job.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are some careers in transportation?

There is a wide variety of career paths and options available in the transportation industry. Depending on each person’s preference and skill set, you can find different types of jobs requiring different levels of education, qualities, and working conditions. With that in mind, here is a list of the most common and highly sought-after careers in the transportation categories:

  • Public and Local Transportation
  • Distribution and Delivery
  • Traffic and Transportation Logistics
  • Management Transportation
  • Water and Air Transportation

What is a transportation driver?

A transportation driver is a broad term and may refer to different types of occupations within this field. Namely, transportation drivers can be taxi drivers and chauffeurs who are responsible for transporting people from one location to another. Bus drivers are also considered transportation drivers, since they also transport people from one location to another, albeit doing so on a bus.

Truck drivers and delivery drivers fall into this category as well. The difference is that they transport goods or packages across urban, local, or nationwide borders.

What is a transporter job?

Having a transporter job means delivering goods and products from one place to another, as well as transporting passengers from various locations to their destinations. It is a versatile field as it consists of different types of transporter workers.

A transporter’s job is to ensure the delivery of goods and transport of passengers in various ways, such as public and local, for example.

How much do TMC drivers make?

TMC transportation drivers enjoy lucrative salaries compared to their counterparts. Namely, a TMC driver may earn a minimum of $47k per year, up to a maximum of $112k per year. Their average yearly salary amounts to $63,301. Breaking it down into monthly wages, that means TMC drivers earn about $5,275 per month. There are no reports of additional cash compensation, although overtime work is most commonly subject to payment for these types of transportation jobs.

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