How to Become a
Transportation Manager

Group of storage employees and administrative staff gathered in a warehouse

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.

What Does a Transportation Manager Do?

When goods are shipped, they must be delivered efficiently and safely. A Transportation Manager makes sure this happen by overseeing the shipping process in order to make sure it is being 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 in order 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 logics and logistics. Some common Transportation Manager duties and responsibilities include:

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

  • Budgeting, such as meeting particular financial goals set by an employer or company

  • Technical tasks, such as ensuring customer goods move from production through the supply chain to the end user

  • Following up on customer complaints or other related issues

Transportation Manager Skills

Being a Transportation Manager means having strong customer service skills, such as following up on customer complaints or other related issues. A Transportation Manager also needs to have excellent interdisciplinary skills, such as working closely with a variety of different people and fields in order to facilitate company growth. The ability to maintain accuracy in a fast-paced environment where shipping options can change at the last minute is also necessary. A Transportation Manager also needs to 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

How Do You Become a Transportation Manager?

Education and Training

According to our analysis of online job postings, employers are looking for Transportation Manager candidates who have at least a college degree. In addition, most job postings we looked at required prospective Transportation Managers to have successfully completed a training program or receive a certificate. Employers are also looking for candidates with supply chain, fulfillment center operation or contract negotiation experience.

Finding a Job

Demand for Transportation Managers is increasing, but at a slow rate compared to all job categories. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts 2 percent growth for the position through 2024, amounting to a total of 2,710 openings for Transportation Managers during that period.

Any successful Transportation Manager job search begins with crafting a high-quality resume that highlights your skills and experience. For guidance on creating a resume, take a look at our library of Transportation Manager resume samples.

Once your resume is in order, search online for Transportation Manager job opportunities. As you look for openings, be sure to leverage your professional network, including people you met through an internship or at school.

When applying for Transportation Manager jobs, write a cover letter that expresses your interest in the position and highlights your qualifications and what you will bring to the role. Need some cover letter inspiration? Check out our many cover letter samples.

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