How to Become a Freight Broker in California

Freight brokers enjoy a high level of flexibility in their schedules and a fast-paced environment thanks to the speed of sales and negotiations. In this job, people will spend their days organizing transportation for shipments, negotiating prices for shipping services and keeping their clients properly informed of each shipment’s progress. Brokers can also oversee freight agents, who work as independent contractors while conducting sales and finding carriers for shipments. There are distinct requirements that must be met to become a freight broker that do not apply to agents.

Where can I find freight broker training near me?

Search Freight Broker/Agent Training Programs

Get information on Freight Broker/Agent Training programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

Sponsored Listings

Requirements for Becoming a Freight Broker in California

California freight brokers must meet the federal requirements for becoming a licensed broker. They should have a high school diploma or equivalent, and they must carry several types of insurance: cargo, general liability, state insurance and a $75,000 surety bond.

California-based freight brokers do not need any additional certifications to operate in the state. However, some brokers choose to enroll in training programs that can help them understand the industry and get assistance with job placement.

California Schools for Freight Brokers

Freight brokers who would like to brush up on their marketing skills or gain a deeper understanding of the freight and trucking industries should consider attending a formal training program. Here are two options within California:

  • California State University East Bay Veteran freight specialists wrote the curriculum for Cal State East Bay’s online course. They also teach the classes, which offer one-on-one instruction and cover a range of topics, from brokerage law to setting rates. The self-paced course typically takes between six moths and one year to complete.
  • Brooke Transportation Training and Services Students who prefer in-person classes can attend Brooke Transportation’s five-day programs in Ontario, California. The courses teach students how to run their own freight broker business, including how to get their license, how to market their business and other operations tasks. Instruction consists of lectures, videos and hands-on training.

Certifications for Becoming a Freight Broker in California

Prospective freight brokers must first register the name of their business and get a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) number. This will allow them to obtain a license from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). To apply for a license, applicants must send in their DOT number and a $300 fee. Licenses are issued after all paperwork is approved.

Brokers are not required to take a formal exam in order to operate in California, but they may voluntarily take the Certified Transportation Brokers exam, which is administered by the Transportation Intermediaries Association, to gain a competitive edge and have formal proof of their abilities.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

The freight brokerage industry, particularly for cargo and freight agents, is experiencing significant growth, driven by the increase in small businesses and online shops requiring goods transportation. While specific growth predictions beyond 2020 are not provided, the ongoing expansion of the logistics and transportation sector suggests a positive trend in this field.

As of the latest data, cargo and freight agents in the United States earn an average salary of $46,860 per year. In California, the average salary for this occupation is slightly higher, with workers earning an average of $48,440 annually. The following HTML tables provide a detailed comparison of salaries at different percentiles both nationally and in California, as well as in specific regions within California.

National vs. California Salaries:

Percentile United States Salary California Salary
10% $32,720 $35,430
25% $38,400 $37,460
Median (50%) $46,860 $48,440
75% $58,710 $60,920
90% $70,280 $73,450

Salaries by Region in California:

Location 10% 25% Median (50%) 75% 90%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA $35,430 $37,040 $48,870 $61,630 $73,330
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA $39,520 $44,630 $52,550 $65,360 $79,620

Freight Broker Trends in California

The employment trends for Cargo and Freight Agents in California (43-5011.00) demonstrate a robust growth pattern for the decade from 2020 to 2030. In 2020, California had 12,500 employees working in this occupation. This number is projected to increase to 15,300 employees by 2030, representing a significant growth rate of 22%. Additionally, there are expected to be around 1,630 job openings annually over this period, which includes openings due to both growth and replacement. This trend indicates a strong and expanding job market for cargo and freight agents in California, surpassing the national average growth rate.

In comparison, the national trend for the same period shows a 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) Projected Employment (2030) Projected Growth (2020-2030) Projected Annual Job Openings (2020-2030)
California 12,500 employees 15,300 employees 22% 1,630
United States 95,900 employees (2022) 105,200 employees (2032) 10% (Much faster than average) 11,000

Sources of Data:

California Data: The employment figures and projections for California are sourced from Projections Central, specifically their 2020-2030 long-term projections. Projections Central is a reputable source for state-specific employment projections, offering detailed 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 California

Many freight brokers choose to start their own businesses after they receive their licenses. This option is ideal for those who enjoy having a high degree of control over how they conduct business and the challenge of starting a new project from the ground up.

Others decide to join an existing brokerage. Doing so provides an extra layer of stability and more regular routines for people who would prefer to focus just on brokering, rather than on marketing and operations. Brokerages in larger cities, such as Los Angeles and San Francisco, typically offer higher salaries to match the higher cost of living in those locations.

Whichever option new brokers choose, they will be constantly engaged in the ever-changing world of sales and negotiation. The career is an excellent choice for people who want something new each day with plenty of small projects to work on all at once, making for an engaging and interesting job.