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How to Become a
Transportation Manager

Gabriela Bercenas
By Gabriela Bercenas - CPRW, Content Writer II
|
Last Updated: April 20, 2023
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Are you considering a career as a transportation manager? If so, reading this article is a great place to start. Keep reading to find out what a transportation manager does, what kind of training they need and more. We also feature unique job application tools and examples to help you create your job-winning resume.

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What Does a Transportation Manager Do?

When goods are shipped, they must be delivered efficiently and safely. A transportation manager ensures this happens by overseeing the shipping process to ensure it is handled quickly and within a proposed budget.

A transportation manager ensures that all aspects of transportation, from safety training to regulatory compliance, are met.

Transportation managers, also called logistics managers, work to maximize productivity while eliminating waste and minimizing risk and error to improve productivity and profits. They schedule and track deliveries and analyze the effectiveness of existing operations.

Many transportation managers work in retail settings, while others work in shipping facilities, transportation services, wholesaling and warehouses.

Being a transportation manager requires technical knowledge and logistics. Some everyday transportation manager duties and responsibilities include:

  • Clerical tasks, such as creating financial statements or statistical data.

  • Budgeting, such as meeting particular financial goals an employer or company sets.

  • Technical tasks include ensuring customer goods move from production through the supply chain to the end user.

  • Following up on customer complaints or other related issues.

How Do You Become a Transportation Manager?

Transport managers play a critical role in the global supply chain. The demand for transportation managers is increasing, but at a slow rate compared to all job categories. The Bureau of Labor Statistics describes this industry as one of the highest published employment and wages, reporting annual earnings of up to $133,390, depending on the organization. Let’s take a look at the steps to becoming a transportation manager.

1

Educational requirements:

Earn a bachelor's degree in Transportation Management or Business. In addition, most job postings seek the completion of a training program or certification. Aspiring candidates can pursue an accelerated online business program. Students can build experience through entry-level shipping and transportation jobs.

2

Gain experience:

Get an entry-level transport management job. Graduates with a bachelor's degree are encouraged to apply for paid experience by starting in an entry-level job.

3

Earn a master’s:

Although a master's degree is not necessary to qualify for basic transport manager positions, an advanced degree can elevate your earning potential. Top executive roles and federal jobs look for candidates with a master's degree and offer salaries of more than $133,000, according to PayScale data from July 2022.

4

Create a job-winning resume:

Employers need to know you are qualified to handle the work and responsibilities needed to become a transportation manager. Even without experience, you can show off your skills and credentials with a well-crafted resume. Our Resume Builder features automated tools with pre-written, job-specific content to make you stand out. Check out our latest transportation manager resume sample to help you create an impressive industry-specific resume.

Transportation Manager Skills

Being a transportation manager means having strong customer service skills, such as following up on customer complaints or other related issues. They must also have excellent interdisciplinary skills, such as working closely with various people and fields to facilitate company growth.

Maintaining accuracy in a fast-paced environment where shipping options can change at the last minute is also necessary. A transportation manager must also have strong negotiation and management skills, an analytical work style, effective problem-solving skills and a high level of attention to detail.

Other key transportation manager skills include:

  • Organizational and people skills.

  • Good communication skills.

  • Maintaining attention to detail.

  • Proficiency with math.

  • Ability to multitask.

 

Soft skills:

1Organizational skills are critical to overseeing logistics and inventory in a neat and organized manner.
2Strong communication skills are essential to delivering a clear message and understanding all orders.
3Attention to detail is needed to ensure all vehicles are well-maintained and operational.
4Customer service skills are a must in properly handling inquiries, issues and complaints in a friendly and effective manner.

Hard skills:

1Transportation
2Logistics
3Management
4Supply chain management
5Transportation management
6Warehouse operations management
7Strategic planning
8Customer service
9Business strategy
10Freight enterprise
11Resource planning

Insights from a Transportation Manager

In the next section, we will dive into some questions and answers from professionals in the transportation industry to get a better understanding of what this job is all about.

What should someone consider before becoming a Transportation Manager?

It requires good organizational skills and good leadership and confidence which you may gain from experience in the long run. But overall it requires a good supply chain background so it would be a good idea to look into courses and training on this topic.

What type of person excels in this job?

Leadership is key. An effective manager is always a good leader. It's important to lead and guide employees by making sure everything is structured for success.

What is the common career path for a Transportation Manager?

A good place to start is getting a college degree in a related field. Employers tend to also look at your experience so searching for an apprenticeship position along with a training program apart from your college degree, can help your chances.

What are some of the most important skills for Transportation Managers have?

Great leadership and interpersonal skills. Excellent attention to detail and the ability to make sound decisions. A strong analytical and numerical mindset and the ability to quickly adapt to changes.

What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being a Transportation Manager?

Being a Transportation Manager means you make important decisions that impact the lives of your employees and your customers. Each good decision you take, makes your business grow. If you're up for the challenge and you find pleasure in management, there is no greater reward. Also, the experience you make as a manager will open many doors of opportunity.

How Much Do Transportation Managers Get Paid?

Transportation Managers are typically paid on a yearly basis, with the median annual wage in the United States being $86,600. The lowest-paid Transportation Manager makes about $50,800 a year, while the highest-paid can earn $149,800.

Top 10 States for Transportation Managers Salary

Transportation Managers in the following states make the highest median hourly wage in the U.S.

    Delaware

    $130,300

    District of Columbia

    $128,800

    New Jersey

    $109,800

    Rhode Island

    $104,100

    Colorado

    $102,300

    New York

    $101,500

    Connecticut

    $99,700

    Virginia

    $99,600

    New Hampshire

    $99,500

    Pennsylvania

    $94,800

    Transportation Manager Resources

    Looking for more information? We put together this list of additional resources to help you as you continue to explore a career as a Transportation Manager.

    Professional Groups

    American Society of Transportation and Logistics
    Fostering the advancement of end-to-end supply chain management through a body of knowledge, innovative research, systems, and methods to create value for customers, members, and organizations.

    Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP)
    Dedicated to the advancement and dissemination of research and knowledge on supply chain management.

    Warehouse Education and Research Council
    WERC members are from companies around the world whose focus is on warehousing and distribution.

    Transportation Manager Websites

    Cerasis
    A Third Party Logistics Company with a Focus on Technology and Managed Transportation

    Logistics Viewpoint
    Provides logistics professionals with clear and concise analyses of logistics trends, technologies, and services.

    Transportation Manager Books

    A Practical Guide to Transportation and Logistics
    Provides an overview of the key elements of business logistics.

    Lean Supply Chain and Logistics Management
    Features topics that are necessary to make lean operations successful

    Essentials of Supply Chain Management
    Presents the core concepts and techniques of supply chain management