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Is Transportation A Good Career Path? An Overview.

Service engineer sat at the back of his van

Choosing a career – The one phrase that gives rise to many varied emotions in youth today. This is natural as their choices at this crucial juncture will shape their future. At Totempool, we would like to solve their dilemmas and provide them with a guide to make informed decisions. So we started our ‘good career path’ series. In this article, we answer the question – Is transportation a good career path?

First, let’s take a look at some definitions.

What Is Transportation, And Logistics?

Logistics and transportation are areas that take care of moving products and services from one location to another. Logistics is an area that includes transportation, but it’s much more complete, it involves the inward and outward of products in the supply chain.

To be more specific, logistics include receiving, storing, manufacturing, managing, loading, transporting, and delivering goods or services. So transportation is part of logistics.

In the next sections, we detail the most important stages of logistics and transportation.

Stages of Logistics and Transportation

Stages of Logistics and Transportation career path
Stages of Transportation

Before deciding on a career specialization in a particular field, it is vital to know what it entails. So what is the first step on our journey to find the answer to – Is transportation a good career path? – It is to look at the different stages of logistics and transportation.


This step involves locating the necessary materials required for production. Also, the materials must be available at the right time and in the appropriate quantity.

Additionally, sourcing also involves inviting quotes from suppliers. The final choice is made depending on various factors such as:

  • Budget
  • Quality
  • Availability of substitutes


Here the most efficient method of moving goods and raw materials from the supplier to the site, where they are required, is discussed.


Businesses have increasingly adopted the just in time philosophy to reduce storage costs. However, there exists a risk of the supply chain breaking down if things go haywire. Once a product is completed, it needs to be stored again, albeit for a short period before it is redistributed.


The final goods have to be produced efficiently with minimal wastage. They must also be made in sufficient quantities to meet demand. This step calls for the effective utilization of staff and machinery.


Here the focus is on ensuring that the goods reach the customers in the most efficient manner possible.

Logistics jobs are typically available in supermarkets, hospitals, or other organizations that have outsourced the job of moving supplies to third-party firms. These firms could either move all kinds of goods or specialize in a particular supply type, such as dangerous chemicals.

Logistics divisions of large firms such as airlines also have several jobs on offer. Then some retailers sell directly to customers. They tend to have a lot of job openings.

Moreover, several logistics consultancy companies advise logistics firms on further streamlining operations.

What Are The Careers Types in The Transportation Career Path?

Career types in Transportation
Transportation industry.

A career in transportation can be across many diverse niches. This is so because transportation is a vast industry. It includes transportation of people, goods, and materials from one place to another across land, sea, or air.

Here we will briefly discuss the various types of careers in transportation.

Truck Driving

Trucks and truck drivers usually transport goods between locations. They generally include deliveries from manufacturers to distribution centers. The goods are then sent from the distribution center to the individual locations. This job involves long hours and a thorough understanding of operating and maneuvering trucks safely.

The occupation of a truck driver is also synonymous with tight deadlines and an irregular schedule.

Freight and Material Movement

People who work in material movement handle items such as stock or freight. They help prepare goods for transport or unload them after delivery.

Additionally, their responsibilities include packing or wrapping materials, cleaning equipment. They also carry materials from time to time. This is an entry-level position that does not require any formal education.

However, physical strength and stamina are necessary.

Distribution and Warehouse Operations

Warehouses and distribution centers are an inseparable part of effective cargo transport. Working in warehouse and distribution operations requires individuals to display a high degree of coordination, strategic planning. They must also possess the ability to multi-task.

This is necessary to get the goods where they need to be and at the right time. These transportation hubs usually employ a mix of blue and white-collar workers.

Traffic, Transportation and Travel Logistics

People who work in travel and transport logistics are involved in moving people or cargo from the point of departure to their destination.

These employ a network of people on the ground and in an administrative capacity to manage the complex task at hand. This field is witnessing constant growth.

Technology is also playing a significant role in the continuous enhancement of this sector.

What is Intermodal Transportation?

Intermodal transportation is a mixed type of transportation mode used to transport containerized products and raw materials. Below you can see all types that apply and the skills needed to work with them:

— Air Transportation

Careers in air transportation include the transport of both people and cargo. These cover every aspect of air travel and range from mechanics to pilots and everyone in between.

The education, experience required, and certifications differ for each position.

— Railroad Transportation

This form of transportation involves moving a large number of people. Railroad transportation is also extensively used to move goods.

Jobs in the railroad industry could either be in trains or rail yards, and the jobs in this sector do not require high educational qualifications. Instead, they have comprehensive on-the-job training.

— Water Transportation

Workers in water transportation perform a diverse variety of tasks. They operate and maintain vessels that move people over bodies of water. Water transportation workers carry out several highly specialized responsibilities depending on the vessel they work in.

The term ‘water transportation worker’ is an extremely broad one. Merchant mariner, captain, deck officer, pilot, sailor, ship engineer — all fall under its umbrella. There are no educational requirements for entry-level, but senior positions need specific certification.

— Public Transportation

Working in public transportation is unique because it calls for good customer skills. There are many career options here as the safety of people is paramount.

Hence professionals in public transportation are expected to adhere to road safety guidelines. This has to be done while maintaining on-time performance. Public transportation workers acquire a thorough knowledge of various routes.

As a result, one observes an increase in efficiency over time.

— Private Transportation

Similar to other means of transport, the focus is on transporting people safely from one point to another.

However, they could be working for private schools or large firms as a part of special contracts. Qualities needed to work in private transportation are experience and safe driving. It also helps if a person has strong customer service skills.

Phew! That’s quite an extensive list. But is it enough to answer yes to the question – Is transportation a good career path? Let us dive deeper.

What Do Transportation Jobs Pay?

In this section, we will look at some of the career options available in the transportation industry and respond to the question “what do transportation jobs pay”.

Material Handler

Hand laborers, material movers, or material handlers are responsible for the movement of stock and freight. They prepare materials for shipment.

Additionally, they also move goods around stockrooms and warehouses. Material handlers also operate forklifts. Material handlers make more than $33,000 every year.

Highway Maintenance Worker

They are entrusted with maintaining high-quality roadways for safe travel. Highway maintenance workers are responsible for maintaining highways, rural roads, airport runways, and municipal roads. Apart from all this, they also fill potholes and fix guardrails.

Moreover, they also work on clearing pathways and roadways. Highway maintenance workers make more than $40,000 a year.


They work on transporting people or cargo from one place to another. Pilots generally work for commercial airlines, but they also transport individuals or small families. They are also employed in the armed forces and evacuate people from dangerous situations.

Furthermore, pilots also assist in spraying crops and taking aerial shots. Pilots complete pre-flight safety checks, respond to changes in flying conditions.

Moreover, they also monitor the engine fuel and work with air traffic control to ensure a smooth and safe experience for all passengers. Pilots make more than $97,000 a year.


He receives information on various packages. Then the dispatcher focuses on scheduling the delivery of the package in the most optimal manner. The most efficient route and the best possible driver are chosen to achieve this goal.

Dispatchers are expected to be familiar with specific mapping software, or they learn it on the job. They plan their deliveries considering factors such as business hours, customer availability, and road closing times. Dispatchers also factor in unforeseen circumstances such as harsh weather conditions and unusually heavy traffic.

Despite the challenges, they communicate with the drivers and reroute them to ensure the fastest delivery.

Transportation Planner

He helps organize and develop transit routes. Transport planners help plan routes for all modes of transport. They identify the needs of transit projects and allocate resources accordingly.

Transportation planners study and analyzed data from transit systems in the past. They also look to incorporate best practices from transit systems the world over.

Transport planners supervise the technical aspects of construction. Their work includes carrying out feasibility studies and planning. They might require master's degrees given the research-heavy nature of their role.

A transportation planner’s work is primarily office-based though it contains the occasional fieldwork. A transportation planner makes more than $65,000 every year.

Transportation Engineer

A transport engineer works on designing transportation systems. These include bridges, roads, railways, highways, airports. Their work also extends to drainage and lighting systems.

A transport engineer must know about an area’s traffic conditions, population, topography, and other relevant geographical factors. He can also help upgrade existing transportation systems to optimize them for increased traffic. A transportation engineer makes close to $80,000 a year.

Reasons to Work in Transportation

Why work in transportation
Why work in the Transportation industry?

One of the most critical components of a career choice is the reason to pursue it. Let us look at the various reasons to take up a career in the transportation sector. These will definitely help us get a more precise answer to the question – Is transportation a good career path?

Creates an Impact

Transport systems deliver essentials and other items. They play a vital role in running the world. Transportation systems are similar to the circulatory system in our bodies, delivering oxygen and other nutrients where there are needed the most.

So workers in the transportation sector have a real-life impact on the lives of people and the economy of a nation. It is the transport sector workers that are come to the aid of people in times of distress.

Plenty of Opportunities

Working in a transportation organization provides tons of opportunities to advance in a career. This is due to the complex nature of the industry that allows employees to pick up a wide variety of skills. An individual can be armed with skills such as analytics, load planning, sales, or customer service.

He is sure to find a role that suits his experience. A person could also start as a forklift operator and make his way up to a distribution manager or warehouse supervisor with time.

New Challenges Everyday

The transportation industry provides exposure to different environments. One day you could be working to develop new transit systems. But on the next day, you could be working with environmental experts to design sustainable solutions.

No matter what you do, you will be engaged in solving problems and making the world a better place.


A career in transportation is extremely rewarding. This is because one constantly faces new roadblocks and has to find innovative ways to solve them. Also, technology is dramatically changing the landscape of this industry.

So it is essential to keep oneself informed of the current and upcoming trends. This makes it a very satisfying field to work in.

Is Transportation a Good Career Path?

So, Is transportation a good career path? Yes, indeed. Especially if one is looking for entry into a sector that does not have too many educational requirements.

The transportation area is also ideal to build close-knit relationships with colleagues, customers, and other professionals. However, one must be mindful of the irregular hours and the long time spent away from home.

Now that you know all about the career path in Transportation, you must do your calculations and make a fair decision, keeping your interests in mind. Best of luck!

Want To Learn About Other Career Paths?

If you want to know more about other career paths, check out this list on Totempool. You will be able to make your choices with solid information before moving to a particular industry:

If you are indecisive about the area, you want to work. Here we list a few functional career paths:

As more industries are published on the website, we will keep updating the list for you. If you want to learn how to choose your career path, check out this article.

1 Comment on this post

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