How to Become a Freight Broker in Alabama
Becoming a freight broker is an ideal career strategy for people who want the flexibility of setting their own schedule and working from home while still being involved in a thriving industry. Freight brokers’ days are full of planning transportation, negotiating prices and informing clients of their shipments’ progress as they move along.
A broker must have a license and is able to oversee freight agents, who do not have licenses and work as independent contractors. Agents’ responsibilities include conducting sales and finding the right carrier for a shipment.
Requirements for Becoming a Freight Broker in Alabama
Applicants must meet minimum federal requirements to become a freight broker in Alabama. These consist of having a high school diploma or equivalent and the proper insurance, including cargo and general liability insurance and a $75,000 surety bond.
While the state of Alabama does not require any additional certifications or education, some aspiring freight brokers may find a training program to be helpful in their careers. These courses can help people better understand the freight and trucking industries while also assisting them with the application process and job placement.
Alabama Schools for Freight Brokers
People who wish to enter the freight broker field can do so without any formal training. However, there are several training programs available to help get a jumpstart. Here are some Alabama-based programs to consider:
- Calhoun Community College Calhoun’s online training program teaches both freight brokers and freight agents the tricks of the trade, including licensing, operations, sale and marketing.
- Shelton State Community College Shelton State offers online courses through Brooke Transportation Training Solutions. The company hosts weekly events that are designed to help graduates continue their training through speaker panels and employer connections.
Certifications for Becoming a Freight Broker in Alabama
Freight brokers in Alabama must receive a license from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). To obtain this license, prospective brokers must register the name of their business and get a U.S. Department of Transportation number. This number must be used when submitting an application, which also requires a $300 fee. The FMCSA will then review the application and, if all of the paperwork is in order, issue a broker license.
Alabama does not require brokers to take a formal exam in order to be licensed. However, new brokers can take a Certified Transportation Brokers exam, which is administered by the Transportation Intermediaries Association, if they would like to gain a competitive advantage and have a professional acknowledgement of their skills.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
The freight broker field is continually expanding thanks to the ever-increasing number of small businesses and online shops that require inventory transportation each year. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that freight brokerage will grow by about 29 percent by 2020.
Salaries average $43,926 per year nationwide, with large cities typically presenting the opportunity for higher salaries. In Alabama, average salaries are higher, hovering around $50,000 per year.
Working as a Freight Broker in Alabama
Freight brokers have two options for employment after they receive their licenses. They can join an existing brokerage, and businesses in larger cities, such as Montgomery, Alabama, typically offer the highest salaries. Brokers can also choose to start their own businesses and work from anywhere in the state.
People who would like to become entrepreneurs but do not have their own business idea yet may enjoy working as a freight broker. The job offers a high level of flexibility in terms of schedule, and brokers can select the types of routes and freight with which they’d like to work. The constantly-changing environment is ideal for people who prefer doing something different each day, rather than having a set routine.