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.

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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, encompassing cargo and freight agents, continues to evolve, driven by the increasing needs of small businesses and online shops for inventory transportation. While specific growth predictions beyond 2020 are not provided, the ongoing expansion of the online retail market suggests a positive trend in this field.

As of the latest data, salaries for cargo and freight agents average $46,860 per year nationwide. In Alabama, the average salary is somewhat lower, with workers earning an average of $42,700 annually. The following HTML tables provide a detailed comparison of salaries at different percentiles both nationally and in Alabama, as well as in specific regions within Alabama.

National vs. Alabama Salaries:

Percentile United States Salary Alabama Salary
10% $32,720 $24,020
25% $38,400 $36,940
Median (50%) $46,860 $42,700
75% $58,710 $58,780
90% $70,280 $64,130
Percentile United States Salary Alabama Salary
10% $32,720 $24,020
25% $38,400 $36,940
Median (50%) $46,860 $42,700
75% $58,710 $58,780
90% $70,280 $64,130

Salaries by Region in Alabama:

Location 10% 25% Median (50%) 75% 90%
Statewide $24,020 $36,940 $42,700 $58,780 $64,130
Birmingham-Hoover, AL $19,240 $24,020 $40,940 $56,010 $63,140
Huntsville, AL $42,690 $44,240 $64,110 $64,130 $64,140
Mobile, AL $31,560 $39,730 $46,080 $60,830 $63,440

Freight Broker Trends in Alabama

The employment trends for Cargo and Freight Agents in Alabama (43-5011.00) indicate a steady growth in the industry for the decade from 2020 to 2030. In 2020, the state had 680 employees working in this occupation. This number is projected to rise to 740 employees by 2030, marking a growth rate of 9%. Additionally, there are expected to be around 80 job openings annually over this period, which includes openings due to both growth and replacement. This trend suggests a moderate but stable job market for cargo and freight agents in Alabama.

Comparatively, the national trend for the same period shows a slightly higher growth rate of 10%, which is considered much faster than average. In 2022, there were 95,900 employees in this occupation across the United States, with projections indicating an increase to 105,200 employees by 2032. Nationally, there are expected to be about 11,000 job openings annually over this period.

Employment Trends

Location Employment (2020/2022) Projected Employment (2030/2032) Projected Growth (2020-2030/2022-2032) Projected Annual Job Openings (2020-2030/2022-2032)
Alabama 680 employees 740 employees 9% 80
United States 95,900 employees 105,200 employees 10% (Much faster than average) 11,000

Sources of Data:

Alabama Data: The employment figures and projections for Alabama are sourced from Projections Central, specifically their 2020-2030 long-term projections. Projections Central is known for providing detailed and state-specific employment projections, offering valuable insights into various occupational trends.

United States Data: The national employment figures and projections are obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), specifically their 2022-2032 employment projections.

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.

Trucking jobs can be found at TruckerSearch, which has a nationwide database of to find jobs or to locate drivers.