Is Transportation A Good Career Path? [Answered]

is transportation a good career path

If you are looking for a new and exciting career, transportation may be a good fit for your personality. Deciding if transportation is a good career path for you depends on what you are looking for and your understanding of what the industry entails.

Transportation is a means of delivering goods or products from the manufacturers to the consumers or customers. Almost all the trucks you see on the roads are tasked with transporting goods from one place to another. Other modes of transport happen on bodies of water by the use of boats and ships, and also by air.

Transportation is a promising career path that employs numerous people. In the United States alone, about 426,362 people work in the public transport industry. 

Not to mention, transportation is a great career path that pays well. Some well-paying types of careers in transportation operations include truck driver trainers, delivery drivers, long-haul drivers, tanker drivers, and private fleet drivers.

In this article, I have compiled everything you need to know about pursuing a career in transport and logistics, such as a Marine transportation job, educational or advanced degree requirements, salary,  etc. 

Is Transportation A Good Career Path? An Overview

Transportation is a promising career. This is because there are so many transportation jobs in the United States and worldwide, which also pay well; most transportation jobs do not require a college diploma or formal education. Instead, careers in transportation require excellent time management, dedication, and hard work. 

What Are Transportation And Logistics?

marine transportation cargo ship is part of the overall transportation career path

Transportation refers to the movement of goods or products from one place to another through air, water, or land. Logistics, on the other hand, refers to the management of the goods or products being transported to ensure that the products move seamlessly from one point to another or to the end-user.

Transportation and logistics are essential in the transportation industry because without planning by the logistics personnel on how to transport or receive goods, it may not be possible to receive or transport goods in an organized and timely manner.

Stages Of Logistics And Transportation

Logistics and transportation are the mainstays of the supply chain, which are essential in ensuring a complete cycle from when the product is received all the way to the end-user through different distribution channels. Some of the key stages of logistics and transportation include:


Sourcing is part of inbound logistics whereby the products or goods are identified and the potential suppliers evaluated until the products are received from the distributor, producer, or supplier.


In the transportation systems, transportation is part of outbound logistics that deliver goods from the producer, supplier, or distributor to the individual locations or customers, whether by land, water, or air.

Truck Driving

Truck driving is a means of transportation where goods are transported by road from one place to another, with the use of trucks.


Distribution is the last stage of the transportation process where the goods are made available to the end-user or consumer. The transporter, an essential job function in this case, makes sure that the goods reach the consumer or client from the manufacturer on agreed dates or timelines.

What Are The Careers Types In The Transportation Career Path?

is transportation a good career path? these are the different sectors to consider

The transportation sector is packed with a wide range of careers that make the transport industry complete. Some of them are truck drivers, epic roles for water transportation workers, transportation analysts, logistics personnel, inventory managers, supply chain manager, and transportation planner. The others include:

Freight And Material Movement

Freight and material movement refer to the movement of products or goods from one point to another, i.e., manufacturers, to the distribution channels. This type of transportation is done by any form of transportation, including trucks or lorries, airplanes, ships, or trains.

Distribution And Warehouse Operations

This career involves working in a warehouse or distribution center. It entails handling and storage of goods and also transportation planning, among other jobs related to distribution and warehouse operations. There are plenty of entry-level jobs in this career field.

For example, you can begin your career by using heavy equipment such as a forklift, and with exemplary leadership skills, you can advance your way up to a distribution manager. 

Traffic Transportation And Travel Logistics

Traffic transportation and travel logistics are excellent occupations that manage and formulate policies and plans to ensure the safe movement of people and goods from one place to another.

Air Transportation

air transportation as a career path

Air transportation is the movement of freight and people from one destination to the other via airplanes, gliders, helicopters, and hot air balloons. Careers in Air transportation are primarily for pilots and other airline staff.


Pilots transport cargo and passengers, analyzing the flight weather conditions and plans and determining the safest routes. In addition, they are tasked with ensuring that the fuel is enough to reach the destination and inspecting the operation systems, among other roles.

Job Description

As I have mentioned, there are different roles that a pilot plays apart from flying the plane. These include planning and logistics that involves calculating fuel, inspecting navigation equipment, planning the routes, and analyzing weather and flight plans, among other common skills.

Median Salary

Statistics show Pilots earn a decent salary range of about $130,440 annually.

Educational Requirements

To become a pilot, you must be a college graduate qualified in fundamental mathematics and physics. These requirements may vary depending on whether you want to be an airline or a commercial pilot. You will need a university degree to become an airline pilot, but this varies depending on the airline.

Railroad Transportation

Railroad transportation is a standard means of transporting goods or products over short or long distances using one or more locomotives that run on rails. Of course, one of the advantages of transporting goods by rail is that it is cost-effective.

Another advantage of railroad transport is that it is environmentally friendly and efficient.

When it comes to careers in railroad transport, this is a sector that has employed a lot of people. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States, railroad transportation groups employ about 175,000 people.

Train Engineer

Train engineers are specialists who work on board the moving trains to help solve problems and ensure that the train is well-managed or appropriately serviced. In addition, train engineers’ other duties are monitoring the speed and battery, among other things, to ensure the efficient and smooth running of the train.

Job Description

Train Engineers, also called locomotive engineers, are tasked with running the trains and ensuring they are safe and efficient. They also drive the trains from one station to the next and perform other engineering duties such as servicing the train’s components for smooth, safe, and efficient movement.

Median Salary

According to PayScale, the average salary range of a train engineer is $97,588 per year. However, the salary may depend on the company and the experience level, among other factors.

Educational Requirements

Minor requirements for a train engineer are a high school diploma and a company-sponsored training program, railroad operations certificate, or associate’s degree.

Marine Transportation

is transportation a good career path

Marine transportation is transporting cargo from one continent to another or between countries. It involves both inland and oceanic waterways. Of course, some passengers also prefer using water means of transport to cut on the costs of travel since it is cheaper compared to air transport. Therefore, marine transportation careers pay very well, and the employment opportunities are endless. 

Ship Captain

A ship Captain’s duties include navigating the ship, handling cargo, and stowage, among other functions. They also ensure that the vessel complies with international and local laws, regulations, or state policies.

A ship captain earns a decent salary of about $96,347 a year.

Job Description

A ship captain commands and navigates the ship in the water bodies, maintains the equipment, supervises the crew members, measures and records the waters’ depths, and resolves the problems that arise in the ship or with the customers, among other roles.

Median Salary

According to salary statistics, the median pay for the ship captains or cruise ship captains is $86,503 per year.

Educational Requirements

To become a ship captain, you must comply with the International Maritime Organization’s requirements that require a Bachelor of Science degree and some coursework in navigation, cargo management, and meteorology. In addition to an advanced level of education, you must pass the licensing exam offered by the U.S Coast Guard.

Public Transportation

public transportation as a career path

Public transport is a kind of transportation service that involves transporting passengers from one place to another through different modes of transport such as buses, light rails, subways, and ferries, among other means. Therefore, public transportation workers must have strong customer service skills since they work with the public on a daily basis.


A dispatcher’s responsibilities involve getting goods or passengers from one place to another through coordination. In addition, they act as a liaison between different people and departments.

Job Description

A dispatcher’s roles and responsibilities include monitoring safety, maintaining communication to ensure that goods are dispatched by the vehicles available, scheduling transportation, and handling transportation problems or emergencies.

Median Salary

According to different salary statistics, the median salary of a dispatcher is about $38,010 per year. However, the salary can vary from employer to employer and will depend on experience and education.

Educational Requirements

To become a dispatcher, you do not need to have intensive training. You are good to go with at least a high school diploma or a GED. However, some companies may need some training in logistics, supply chain management, or a degree in transportation.

Commercial Airplane Pilot

These are professional pilots flying commercial planes from one destination to another. Their job is to ensure that the cargo or the passengers are safe and control the aircraft and the passengers. It is also important to note that all airline pilots are commercial pilots. However, not all commercial pilots are airline pilots.

Commercial pilots can fly for recreation, or they can even fly small planes and helicopters, but airline pilots fly for long distances, primarily for big airlines.

Job Description

An airline pilot is tasked with numerous responsibilities, including making flight plans, checking the altitude, aircraft performance, and weather conditions, and making difficult decisions in emergencies.

Other tasks include making pre-flight checks and working with other airline staff to ensure that all the flight rules comply.

Median Salary

According to ATP Flight School, the median salary range of a commercial pilot is about $160,970 per year.

Educational Requirements

Being a commercial airline pilot requires some advanced education and certifications. Therefore, a degree is necessary, and this varies by airline. Still, some standard certifications include a commercial pilot certificate, and some airlines may require a college degree in aviation.

Private Transportation

moving a business in the transportation industry

This refers to the conveyance of passengers, but the passenger enjoys the autonomy of traveling alone as opposed to traveling with other passengers. In this case, you, as a passenger, can set your schedule and choose the vehicle you want.

Trucking Dispatcher

In the logistics industry, a trucking dispatcher is an important position that involves scheduling deliveries and arranging the pickup of goods. Of course, this is an excellent logistics career that also pays well.

Job Description

Trucking dispatchers perform many tasks involving the movement of goods from one place to another. This consists of arranging pickups of the consignment or parcels, scheduling truck drivers, setting routes, reviewing drivers’ logs, and keeping the shipment details, among other functions.

Median Salary

Statistics show that a trucking dispatcher earns a median salary of about $42,806 annually. It is, therefore, a great career opportunity that you can venture in if you are passionate about logistics jobs.

Educational Requirements

To become a trucking dispatcher, you need at least a high school diploma or just a GED. An associate’s degree or training in business, English, and Mathematics may give you first-hand knowledge of logistical issues in the transportation industry. However, there are no advanced certifications required to become a trucking dispatcher.

Delivery Driver

The job title of a delivery driver involves picking up goods from the warehouse or port and transporting them to their required destinations or the customer.

Delivery drivers’ job responsibilities may depend on the employer and the goods they transport. However, most delivery drivers work on flexible schedules as directed by the employer. Of course, you can also become a private delivery driver where you can pick items from the seller and deliver them to the buyer or customer.

Becoming a delivery driver is one of the jobs that you can also do part-time, after your studies, or during your free time. In addition, it requires you to have strong customer service skills and other essential skills.

Job Description

The work of a delivery driver is just as the name puts it. This job’s Daily transportation activities entail loading goods, transporting them to the required destinations, and delivering the same goods to customers or clients.

In addition to that, the job entails reviewing client orders and checking to ensure that the goods packed are the right ones. Also, a delivery driver must ensure that the goods reach the client safely and on time.

Median Salary

Regarding compensation, a delivery driver earns about $37,050 a year. However, this can change from one employer to another and will also be based on the driving experience.

Educational Requirements

Becoming a delivery driver is not a complicated process. First, you must have a General Education Development (GED) or a high school diploma. However, a high school diploma depends on the employer since some employers need a valid driver’s license.

Material Handler

Material handlers are tasked with handling goods, verifying, and storing goods in a warehouse. They also ensure that the goods are safe, and in this role, you will work primarily in loading docks or warehouses. They are also called material movers.

To become a material handler, you may need some basic educational skills but also some physical capabilities to handle heavy loads. In addition, most employers dealing with large cargo or large amounts of goods may have machinery or equipment for lifting and storing goods.

Job Description

The role of a material handler is dependent on the employer and the nature of the goods being handled. For instance, food and fragile items may need extra care to protect them from damage. In regards to that, a material handler does the following:

  • Moving goods from one point to another.
  • Loading and unloading goods or cargo within storage points.
  • Picking and placing goods on delivery trucks.
  • Taking goods from trucks and putting them at appropriate storage points.
  • Administrative functions such as recording the inventory statuses.
  • Ensuring that all the deliveries match the orders with all of the client’s requirements.

Of course, there are numerous tasks that a material handler can perform as assigned by the employer.

Median Salary

Most material handlers are paid a median wage of about $17.40 per hour. Therefore, the overall earnings per month or year may depend on the hours worked. However, according to Salary statistics, the median salary for material handlers is $33,850 annually.

Educational Requirements

The educational requirements of a material handler entirely depend on the employer. Some employers require a high school diploma, while others may require some primary education or General Education Development. However, what matters most in this job are the skills that include organizational skills, attention to detail, communication, consultative skills, analytical, and basic knowledge of inventory control, among other skills.

Reasons To Work In Transportation

evaluate reasons to work in transportation

The transportation industry is one of the most important sectors in the economy of every nation or state. Without transportation, there is no business. That is why it employs many people ranging from drivers to logistics personnel. 

Working in the transportation industry or sector, whether public or private, is one of the means of earning some income and pursuing a great career of your passion. Therefore, some of the most important reasons to work in the transportation industry include the following: 

Job Security

Transportation is a high-demand and fast-growing industry. Therefore, you are guaranteed job security with experience in the transport industry and the shortage of personnel caused by the high-demand industry. This is especially true if you are well qualified in logistics and truck driving, among other areas.

Creates An Impact

Working in the transportation industry is a fulfilling career choice that creates an impact by ensuring that the goods are transported from one point to another smoothly, safely, and efficiently.

Apart from that, it also creates an economic impact, not just for the state but also for yourself. Of course, most of the transportation sector’s jobs pay well, impacting the lives of the people.

Plenty Of Opportunities

As I mentioned earlier, another guarantee in the transport sector is that it is a high-demand industry growing faster. As a result, this career path comes with numerous opportunities for employment, from entry-level positions to the most advanced professions, like a commercial airline pilot or a ship captain.

New Challenges Everyday

A career in the transportation industry is a challenging opportunity. You will come across problems that require you to solve and make decisions. However, these challenges can help sharpen your employment skills and also drive you to be creative and innovative in your line of work.


If you are passionate about the field of transportation, then this is one of the most fulfilling careers to have. Most logistics careers are just fulfilling, especially when you have the skills. It pays well, and most transportation jobs have flexible schedules where you can work on a part-time basis.

Develop New Skills

Of course, your skill set is not complete until you encounter some challenges or solve problems. The transport industry is where you meet all those challenges that require problem-solving, leadership skills, organizational skills, and more. Therefore, as you grow your career in the transportation industry, you also gain some important skills that will be helpful in the long run.

Final Thoughts

At this point, I can sum up everything with the assurance that transportation is not just a good career path but is also a great one. With plenty of fulfilling job opportunities, this sector employs many people and is an excellent option for people passionate about logistics and transport.