Transportation Careers - Job Titles and Descriptions

Freight ship on dock
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Transportation is a broad field that includes job titles ranging from aircraft pilot to yardmaster. Whether it's planning travel, moving materials, or transporting people or goods, there are many different roles available for those interested in working in the transportation sector. Review job titles, career options, in-demand jobs, and salary information for transportation and material moving occupations.

Careers in Transportation

Transportation careers includes jobs in industries that transport passengers and cargo via plane, rail, bus, boat, transit system, and other modes of private and public transportation. Transportation jobs might also involve scenic and sightseeing transportation.

The transportation and material moving sector also includes positions that support the industry. For example, travel and tour agencies that book transportation and logistics staff that coordinate transportation are part of the transportation industry. So are mechanical support personnel such as automotive mechanics, automotive service technicians, maintenance workers, and repair workers.

Just getting started on a job search in the transportation industry? It can help to familiarize yourself with common transportation occupations and job titles. You might also use this list to encourage your employer to change your job title to fit your responsibilities.

Common Transportation Job Titles

Some of the most common and in-demand job titles in the transportation industry are drivers, movers, and logistics personnel. For more information about each job title, check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Truck Driver

truck driver transports goods from one place to another. Often, they move products from a manufacturing plant to a retail or distribution center. They need to have mechanical knowledge and be able to maneuver their vehicle.

They also need to be able to complete their drive within a given amount of time. Truck drivers spend lots of time away from home, and are often alone in the truck. They must be comfortable with the irregular schedule and the physical demands of the job.

  • CDL Driver
  • Delivery Drivers
  • Delivery Helper
  • Truck Driver
  • Truck Driver Supervisor

Public Transportation / Bus Driver

Bus drivers might work for a school system, a private client, or the public (if they drive a city bus). They are in charge of following a given route, picking up and dropping off clients, and arriving at places at a given time. Unlike truck drivers, bus drivers regularly interact with passengers, so they need strong customer service skills.

  • Bus Driver
  • Public Transportation Inspector
  • Route Driver
  • Route Supervisor
  • Scheduler
  • Streetcar Operator
  • Subway Operator
  • Van Driver

Taxi Drivers, Chauffeurs, and Drivers

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs transport people to and from their destinations. They have to be good drivers and know their way around the area in which they are driving. They often have to go through some form of training, but there are rarely education requirements. Taxi driver and chauffeur jobs require strong customer service skills.

  • Cab Driver
  • Chauffeur
  • Courier
  • Dispatcher
  • Driver
  • Driver / Sales Representative
  • Driver / Sales Workers
  • Fleet Coordinator
  • Fleet Manager
  • Shuttle Car Operator
  • Taxi Driver

Material Mover

Material movers and hand laborers move materials such as freight or stock. They might retrieve or unload trucks carrying materials. They may pack or wrap products as well, or even clean transportation equipment. While there are typically no formal education requirements, material movers often receive some training, and need physical stamina and strength.

  • Expeditor
  • Fork Lift Operator
  • Logistician
  • Materials Control Manager
  • Materials Handler
  • Materials Handling Supervisor
  • Materials Planner
  • Package Handler
  • Packaging Engineer
  • Production Scheduler
  • Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors

Distribution / Warehousing Operations

Most cargo transportation depends upon the seamless operations of large distribution centers and warehouses. These busy hubs require both white- and blue-collar workers to ensure that freight is handled within established transportation schedules.

  • Distribution Center Manager
  • Distribution Director
  • Distribution Manager
  • Equipment Director
  • Estimating Manager
  • Estimator
  • Inventory Control Analyst
  • Inventory Control Clerk
  • Inventory Control Manager
  • Inventory Control Supervisor
  • Operations Manager
  • Operations Security
  • Shipping and Receiving Clerk
  • Shipping and Receiving Supervisor
  • Top Distribution Executive
  • Top Inventory Control Executive

Traffic, Transportation, and Travel Logistics

Traffic and Transportation Logistics Analysts and related personnel coordinate all details of the transportation of people or of cargo between their points of departure and destination.

  • Import/Export Clerk
  • Import/Export Manager
  • Import/Export Supervisor
  • Logistics Analyst
  • Logistics Coordinator
  • Logistics Manager
  • Logistics Specialist
  • Traffic Clerk
  • Traffic Director
  • Traffic Manager
  • Traffic/Rate Analyst
  • Traffic Supervisor
  • Transportation Analyst
  • Transportation Attendant
  • Transportation Broker
  • Transportation Director
  • Transportation Inspector
  • Transportation Manager
  • Transportation Planner
  • Transportation Supervisor
  • Travel Coordinator
  • Travel Manager

Water Transportation Worker

Water transportation workers perform a variety of tasks. They operate and/or maintain vessels that transport people or cargo across bodies of water. There are many specific job titles within the broader category of “water transportation worker,” including merchant mariner, captain (or master), mate (or deck officer), pilot, sailor, ship engineer, marine oiler, and more.

While there are no education requirements for entry-level oilers and sailors, upper-level positions (such as engineers and officers) typically require specific certificates.

  • Captain
  • Crew
  • Deck Officer
  • Deckhand
  • Marine Cargo Inspector
  • Marine Oiler
  • Marine Operator
  • Merchant Mariners
  • Motorboat Operator
  • Pilot
  • Sailor
  • Water Transportation Operator

Air Transportation Workers

In 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this industry employed an estimated 36,940 aircraft mechanics and service technicians, 75,120 pilots and flight engineers, 9,260 cargo and freight agents, and 83,320 reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks. Job titles in air transportation include:

  • Air Traffic Controllers
  • Aircraft Pilot
  • Airport Operations Crew Member
  • Flight Attendant
  • Flight Engineer
  • Flight Instructor
  • Gate Operations Staff
  • Helicopter Pilot

Railroad Transportation Workers

There were about 105,500 railroad workers in the U.S. workforce in 2016. These positions typically require a high school diploma and extensive on-the-job training.

  • Conductor
  • Engineer
  • Locomotive Engineer
  • Rail Car Repairer
  • Rail Yard Engineer
  • Railroad Brake Operator
  • Railroad Conductor
  • Railroad Yard Worker
  • Train Crew Member
  • Train Operator
  • Yardmaster

Wages and Salary

The median annual wage for transportation and material moving occupations was $31,600 in May 2017, which is below the median for all occupations of $37,690. On the higher end of the salary range, the median annual wage for heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers was $42,480 in May 2017 and the median annual wage for air traffic controllers was $124,540.