How to Become a Freight Broker in Tennessee

Freight brokers organize transportation for shipments, negotiate prices for shipping services and inform clients of each shipment’s progress. They can oversee freight agents, who work as independent contractors and are responsible for handling sales and finding carriers for shipments. Unlike agents, brokers must have insurance and certifications.

This career is a fast-paced one that still allows for flexible schedules and working environments, making it a great choice for people who want more control over their day-to-day work.

Requirements for Becoming a Freight Broker in Tennessee

Brokers in Tennessee must meet the federal requirements for becoming licensed brokers. They need to have a high school diploma or equivalent as well as cargo insurance, general liability insurance and a $75,000 surety bond. Brokers must also apply for a federal license.

There are no additional certifications needed to operate as a freight broker in Tennessee. Some brokers may choose to enroll in a training program to help them better understand the skills they need to be successful, though no formal training is required to begin working.

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Tennessee Schools for Freight Brokers

Training programs are available to help brokers learn about the trucking industry, gain marketing and sales skills and receive job placement help. Here are two programs available in Tennessee:

  • Nashville State Community College. Nashville State’s online program is offered in conjunction with Brooke Training. Graduates have the opportunity to continue their education with Resource Fridays, a weekly online event designed to help answer questions and find jobs.
  • Taltoa. Taltoa ffers an affordable online self-study course, along with several options for instructor-led training. The school also offers consulting calls to help new freight brokers with any concerns that arise while they set up their own businesses.

Certifications for Becoming a Freight Broker in Tennessee

To begin the process of becoming a freight broker, applicants should first register the name of their business and get a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) number. Then, they can use this information to apply for a license from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Applicants must also pay a $300 application fee. If their paperwork is approved, they will receive their freight brokers license.

While no formal testing is required to become a freight broker in Tennessee, brokers can 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 skills.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

The trucking industry is growing thanks to the increasing number of retail stores and online shops that are being founded each year. As a result, freight brokers can expect to see their field grow by about 29 percent by 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Freight broker salaries across the country average $43,926 per year. Tennessee-based brokers can expect to make an average of $41,990, slightly below the national average.

Working as a Freight Broker in Tennessee

Freight brokers have two options for their working environment once they receive their licenses. Some may choose to start their own businesses. This is ideal for those who are ready for an entrepreneurial challenge and want the most flexibility over their projects and schedules.

Others may choose to join an existing brokerage. This allows brokers to focus solely on negotiations and client communication, rather than on marketing and other tasks related to owning a business. Working in an established office also provides more stability. Brokerage firms in larger cities, such as Nashville, typically offer the highest salaries.

Both options provide new brokers with an engaging and ever-changing career that presents them with new challenges each day, plenty of small projects and a sense of accomplishment.