How to Become a Freight Broker in Washington

When an item arrives at a shipping company, it will be packaged and documented. A carrier will then be needed to transport the item to its intended destination. When a shipping company does not have the time or resources to find available carriers, they may rely on freight brokers, who are responsible for doing the research and investigation required to connect carriers with shipping companies. The freight broker will communicate with both parties throughout the shipping process, ensuring that items arrive as expected. To help with these duties, brokers will often employ freight agents as independent contractors.

Requirements for Becoming a Freight Broker in Washington

There are currently no U.S. states with regulations in place for freight brokers. There are national laws, however, that every freight broker across the country must follow, which include earning a high school diploma or equivalent, along with a government-issued Broker Authority license to practice.

Enrolling in a post-secondary education program is not required, but it can be a useful option to learn more about the industry before starting your career. Additionally, you may choose to earn certification, complete an internship or find a professional who is willing to act as your mentor. All of these options will help prepare you for a successful career as a freight broker.

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Washington Schools for Freight Brokers

Freight broker training programs are a great idea for those who want to increase their level of expertise in a curriculum-based environment.

  • Load Training allows tudents to undergo training either online or in-person. In-person courses currently take place exclusively in the cities of Phoenix, Atlanta and Houston. These in-person training sessions last for just five days at a time. Students will learn how to create a truck availability database, how to respond to inquiries from carriers and shippers, and much more.
  • Brooke Training also llows students to choose from in-person or online courses. Areas of study include both basic and advanced industry techniques. Veterans who qualify are invited to attend courses for free, and every student will receive job placement assistance upon course completion.
  • Freight Movers School instructs new freight brokers on basic techniques. Those who are experienced may be interested in taking the course on improving sales. Courses are offered both in-person and online. Currently, on-campus courses can only be taken in Texas and Georgia.

Certifications for Becoming a Freight Broker in Washington

The Broker Authority license is commonly referred to as a Motor Carrier Operating Authority license. The regulations to obtain this license are set in place by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

According to this administration, to obtain this license you must first register your company as a business. Next, you must obtain a U.S. Department of Transportation number. After doing so, you will send this number, along with an application and $300 application fee, to the FMCSA.

Application approval time is between four and six weeks. It is important to note that all licensed freight brokers are expected to carry a $75,000 surety bond at all times.

If you’re interested in earning certification, you may want to sit for the Certified Transportation Brokers exam, which is offered through the Transportation Intermediaries Association. This certification is not required to find employment; however, it may help you land higher paying jobs or find more high-end clients as a professional freight broker.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

The freight brokerage industry in Washington, 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 Washington earn an average salary of $50,670 per year. The top 10 percent of earners in Washington make more than $72,140 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. Washington Salaries:

Percentile United States Salary Washington Salary
10% $32,720 $39,520
25% $38,400 $48,200
Median (50%) $46,860 $50,670
75% $58,710 $61,490
90% $70,280 $72,140

Salaries by Region in Washington:

Location 10% 25% Median (50%) 75% 90%
Bellingham, WA $37,960 $40,670 $46,270 $49,080 $59,680
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA $35,290 $43,680 $45,810 $59,000 $113,640
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA $39,530 $49,330 $51,260 $64,540 $72,300
Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA $33,890 $36,410 $46,520 $61,490 $62,710
Yakima, WA $37,130 $38,910 $54,620 $76,970 $108,570

Freight Broker Trends in Washington

In Washington, the employment trends for Cargo and Freight Agents (43-5011.00) indicate a steady growth pattern for the decade from 2020 to 2030. In 2020, Washington had 2,250 employees working in this occupation. This number is projected to increase to 2,440 employees by 2030, representing a growth rate of 8%. Additionally, there are expected to be around 270 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 Washington, slightly below 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)
Washington 2,250 employees 2,440 employees 8% 270
United States 95,900 employees (2022) 105,200 employees (2032) 10% (Much faster than average) 11,000

Sources of Data:

Washington Data: The employment figures and projections for Washington 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 Washington

Seattle is the most populated city in Washington State, by far. This makes it a perfect city for freight brokers to work, as the high population will equate to a large amount of freight distribution.

Brokerage companies are an ideal place for new freight brokers to start their careers. This is because you’ll be surrounded by more experienced brokers, allowing you to learn from their mistakes to avoid making your own. When you have started earning large amounts of revenue, you may decide to start your own brokerage company. This will be an easier task if you already have substantial experience under your belt. If this career sounds exciting to you, apply your ambition and ability to self-motivate so that you can get started on your professional journey as a freight broker.