How to Become a Freight Broker in South Carolina

Successful freight brokers understand the needs of shipping companies and use their resources effectively in order to find carriers who will fit those needs. They will establish important business connections to turn profits and communicate thoroughly with both parties throughout the shipping process. Shipping companies need to be reassured that cargo will arrive at its intended destination in a timely and safe manner, while carriers need to understand routes and expectations in order to get the job done.

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Freight agents will typically work with freight brokers as independent contractors, helping to communicate with customers and build databases of information for streamlining purposes.

Requirements for Becoming a Freight Broker in South Carolina

In South Carolina, there are no statewide laws requiring freight brokers to meet certain standards before being able to practice. Instead, national regulations state that all freight brokers must first earn a high school diploma or GED and then obtain a government-issued Broker Authority license before working as a freight broker.

Those who wish to advance their career quickly within this field may choose to enroll in a post-secondary education program, complete an internship or apprenticeship program or earn certification. Finding an experienced professional to act as your mentor is another great way to further develop your skillset and establish your expertise.

South Carolina Schools for Freight Brokers

Training programs for freight brokers are not included in the list of national requirements to practice in this field. But, choosing to complete a post-secondary education program is an ideal option for those who are new to the industry and want to learn in a curriculum-based setting. Here are a few options:

  • Midlands Technical College is located in Columbia, South Carolina. The school offers training for freight brokers and freight agents, which takes place entirely online. The training can be completed in as little as six months or otherwise at your own pace.
  • Brooke Training allows ll qualified veterans to complete courses for free, and every student will receive job placement assistance upon course completion. Courses can be taken either online or in-person in select states.
  • Freight Movers School offers brokerage basics courses for new freight brokers. There is also a course on improving sales for experienced brokers. In-person courses are currently offered only in Texas and Georgia. Online courses are also available and can be taken from anywhere.

Certifications for Becoming a Freight Broker in South Carolina

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for enforcing the national regulations in place for freight brokerage. This administration mandates that you register your company as a business before being eligible to obtain your Broker Authority license (also known as a Motor Carrier Operating Authority license). Next, you will need to obtain a U.S. Department of Transportation number. After doing so, you must submit this number, an application and $300 application fee to the FMCSA. The approval process takes between four and six weeks.

All icensed freight brokers will be expected to carry a $75,000 surety bond at all times.

Those who want to earn certification will be interested in sitting for the Certified Transportation Broker exam, which is offered through the Transportation Intermediaries Association. While it is not a requirement, obtaining this credential will help you stand out amongst the competition and could even lead to higher pay.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

The freight brokerage industry in South Carolina, as part of the broader freight transportation sector, is showing positive trends in terms of salaries. 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 South Carolina earn an average salary of $45,450 per year. The top 10 percent of earners in South Carolina make more than $59,150 per year. In comparison, cargo and freight agents in the United States earn an average salary of $46,860 per year, with the top 10 percent earning more than $70,280 annually.

National vs. South Carolina Salaries:

Percentile United States Salary South Carolina Salary
10% $32,720 $30,570
25% $38,400 $39,290
Median (50%) $46,860 $45,450
75% $58,710 $49,900
90% $70,280 $59,150

Salaries by Region in South Carolina:

Location 10% 25% Median (50%) 75% 90%
Charleston-North Charleston, SC $37,940 $45,450 $46,310 $49,480 $60,220

Freight Broker Trends in South Carolina

The employment trends for Cargo and Freight Agents in South Carolina (43-5011.00) indicate a significant growth pattern for the decade from 2020 to 2030. In 2020, South Carolina had 1,590 employees working in this occupation. This number is projected to increase to 1,830 employees by 2030, representing a growth rate of 15%. Additionally, there are expected to be around 190 job openings annually over this period, which includes openings due to both growth and replacement. This trend suggests a robust job market for cargo and freight agents in South Carolina, exceeding 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)
South Carolina 1,590 employees 1,830 employees 15% 190
United States 95,900 employees (2022) 105,200 employees (2032) 10% (Much faster than average) 11,000

Sources of Data:

South Carolina Data: The employment figures and projections for South Carolina 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 South Carolina

Charleston and Columbia are the two most densely populated cities in South Carolina. For this reason, they will be the best places for freight brokers to work in this state. With their large populations, they will have high amounts of freight distribution each year.

Working in this industry requires a high level of tenacity and confidence. Though you may experience rejection when first starting out, you’ll need to present yourself as a valuable asset to shipping companies and carriers. Mastering this aspect of the craft, along with developing your organizational skills will allow you to establish a long-lasting career as a freight broker.