Becoming a Freight Broker in Pennsylvania

Freight brokers are the vital link between shippers and carriers, tracking freight from pickup to final destination. As experts in shipping regulations and procedures, they’re responsible for negotiating both shipping rates and delivery times. Freight brokers in Pennsylvania build carrier relationships, find capacity, price shipments to secure orders and monitor loads from pickup through to delivery. As logistics experts, those willing to learn and use evolving technology will thrive on the problem-solving aspects of the freight broker role.

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Requirements for Becoming a Freight Broker in Pennsylvania

There are no formal state or federal educational or training requirements for freight brokers in Pennsylvania. Most employers, however, look for at least a high school education or equivalent, and some prefer an undergraduate degree. Those interested in becoming freight brokers would also benefit from studying logistics and supply chain management on either a formal or informal basis.

Freight brokers are federally regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

Becoming a Licensed Freight Broker

You can work as a freight broker for an established firm or start your own licensed freight brokerage. If you decide to become an entrepreneur, you’ll need to:

  • Decide what kind of company you want to establish: sole proprietorship (individual owner), partnership or corporation.
  • Acquire your motor carrier number by completing a FMCSA OP-1 form and choose whether to apply for a license as a Broker of Household Goods or Broker of Property (except Household Goods). If you apply online, your license will be granted immediately. Mail-in applications take about four weeks to process.
  • Apply for a surety bond or BMC-84. Freight brokers have been required to have surety bonds in the amount of $75,000 since late 2013. Credit information will be required to obtain a surety bond, which is subject to underwriting.
  • Once you’ve obtained your license, you’ll need to select a process agent, who will act as your representative if proceedings are brought against your company. You’ll need a process agent in every state in which you have an office or write a contract. You can use multiple agents or get blanket coverage. You’ll also have to fill out a BOC-3 and submit it to the FMCSA. And you’ll need both cargo and licensing insurance.
  • The last step in becoming an independent freight broker is to register as part of the Unified Carrier Registration Plan. This plan governs freight brokers’ financial responsibilities and rules and regulations including state fee requirements.

Freight Broker Training Available to Pennsylvanians

There are some in-person classes in other states, but in Pennsylvania you might want to take an online course instead. Options include the following:

  • Freight Brokers provides a range of online courses from brokerage basics to deluxe, including a course on improving sales for established brokers. The training includes an overview of freight brokering from start to finish, basics of everyday operations, prospecting, sales, marketing, rating and negotiations and shipment management. Students will have access to valuable industry resources and learn from experienced, professional freight brokers in 30-minute modules. All courses above the $99 level provide a hard-cover textbook, and the $449 through $749 modules supply a transportation directory with more than 550,000 prospects.
  • Freight Movers School offers 16 hours of online instructional videos for $900. The school also guarantees agent placement for those who want to start out working as freight agents with brokerages. There are also free e-book resources and a monthly newsletter for those contemplating becoming freight brokers.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

The freight brokerage industry in Pennsylvania, as part of the broader freight transportation sector, is showing positive trends in terms of salaries and job growth. According to the latest data, the salary figures for cargo and freight agents have been updated from previous years.

As of 2022, cargo and freight agents in the United States earn an average salary of $46,860 per year. In Pennsylvania, these professionals earn an average salary of $51,050 annually, which is higher than the national average. The top 10 percent of earners in Pennsylvania make more than $71,250 per year.

National vs. Pennsylvania Salaries:

Percentile United States Salary Pennsylvania Salary
10% $32,720 $31,550
25% $38,400 $43,090
Median (50%) $46,860 $51,050
75% $58,710 $64,510
90% $70,280 $71,250

Salaries by Region in Pennsylvania:

Location 10% 25% Median (50%) 75% 90%
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ $37,600 $45,600 $54,300 $60,230 $72,980
Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA $33,550 $43,490 $49,730 $57,830 $66,340

Freight Broker Trends in Pennsylvania

The employment trends for Cargo and Freight Agents in Pennsylvania (43-5011.00) demonstrate a steady growth pattern for the decade from 2020 to 2030. In 2020, Pennsylvania had 2,080 employees working in this occupation. This number is projected to increase to 2,290 employees by 2030, representing a growth rate of 10%. Additionally, there are expected to be around 230 job openings annually over this period, which includes openings due to both growth and replacement. This trend suggests a stable job market for cargo and freight agents in Pennsylvania, aligning with 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)
Pennsylvania 2,080 employees 2,290 employees 10% 230
United States 95,900 employees (2022) 105,200 employees (2032) 10% (Much faster than average) 11,000

Sources of Data:

Pennsylvania Data: The employment figures and projections for Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania

PNG, Landis Express and JB Hunt are all good employment prospects for Pennsylvania freight brokers, while the cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia provide the most job opportunities. PLS Logistics, based in Pittsburgh’s Cranberry Township suburb and founded in 1991, ships more than one million loads annually via every possible means, from flatbed to barge. And of course you can always choose to start your own freight brokerage business.