Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics
Careers in this cluster
Cluster definitionWould you enjoy working outdoors in all kinds of weather?
Do you have good eyesight and quick reflexes?
Can you estimate distances accurately?
Do you drive trucks or tractors to do work on a farm?
Would you like to learn to fly an airplane?
Do you repair your or your family's and friends' vehicles?
Do you like to read automotive or mechanical magazines?
If you answered yes to two or more of the questions above, you might be interested in considering a career in transportation, distribution, and logistics.
If you are interested in working in this cluster, you have three avenues. One is to move people and products by road, air, rail, or water. You would drive or pilot different means of transportation. The second is to repair and maintain the vehicles, trains, plains, and ships to keep people and products moving. The third option is to work behind the scenes to make sure the products and people get to the right place on time.
Facility and mobile equipment maintenance
Transportation relies on equipment. It must work properly when needed. In the Facility and Mobile Equipment Maintenance pathway, you would keep machinery running and fueled. You would also look for ways to operate equipment safely but for less money.
Health, safety, and environmental management
People in the Health, Safety, and Environmental Management pathway are concerned about safety and environmental issues, especially related to transportation. Workers research, plan, and carry out activities to make the environment cleaner and safer.
Logistics planning and management services
To get products to a location, a company may have to use different types of transportation. For example, to get a product from China to your home town, a company might use ships, trains, and trucks. This is a complex process. In the Logistics Planning and Management Services pathway, you would make sure products arrive when and where they should at the lowest cost.
Sales and service
Workers in the Sales and Service pathway sell transportation services for people and freight.
In the Transportation Operations pathway, you would drive trucks or pilot trains, planes, or ships that carry goods and people around the country or world. Or you would provide the support to make sure that cargo and passengers are safe and secure and arrive on time.
Transportation systems/infrastructure planning, management, and regulation
In the Transportation Systems/Infrastructure Planning, Management, and Regulation pathway, you would design and operate transportation systems. These systems include airports, railroads, and interstate highways. Or you might enforce laws and regulations to make travel safer. Many of the employees in this pathway work for government agencies.
Warehousing and distribution center operations
In the Warehousing and Distribution Center Operations pathway, employees work at parts, terminals, or warehouses. You would receive, sort, label, and load products. Your job is to make sure items from all over the world are delivered to the right place on time.
Level of education and earnings
The training and education requirements to work in the occupations included in the Transportation, Distribution, and Logistics cluster depend on the specialty and the type of work performed. Some occupations require on-the-job training; however, engineers require a bachelor's degree to be licensed.
The information provided in the table below, presents the level of education or training required to work in the occupations related to this cluster and the median wages for those occupations. Note that some occupations may have more than one required level because the type of work performed may vary in specific jobs.
Also, keep in mind that there are non-wage benefits that workers receive. For example, these types of benefits are health insurance, paid vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans. It is important to consider these benefits when you are looking at pay. Some benefits, such as health care, are worth a lot of money. You should carefully weigh a job that pays well but does not have many benefits against one that has good benefits and lower pay. Remember, how much an occupation pays is only one factor to consider when making career choices.
|Short-Term, On-the-Job Training (Less than One Month)|
|Couriers and Messengers||$28,720||$35,670|
|Light Truck Drivers||$32,810||$37,960|
|Packers and Packagers||$24,580||$27,510|
|Parking Lot Attendants||$23,870||$30,330|
|School Bus Drivers||$32,420||$42,590|
|Service Station Attendants||$24,200||$28,560|
|Tank Car, Truck, and Ship Loaders||$38,220||$48,580|
|Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs||$25,980||$32,710|
|Tire Repairers and Changers||$27,890||$29,840|
|Moderate-Term, On-the-Job Training (One to Twelve Months)|
|Auto Glass Installers||$34,170||$39,470|
|Automotive Electronics Installers||$35,590||$53,320|
|Dispatchers||$39,470 - $40,660||$47,840 - $56,900|
|Locomotive Engineers||$52,630 - $62,100||$90,250|
|Pump Operators||$44,380 - $65,210||$46,250|
|Railroad Brake, Signal, and Switch Operators||$57,260||$63,010|
|Train Conductors and Yardmasters||$62,930||$69,280|
|Long-Term, On-the-Job Training (Over One Year)|
|Air Traffic Controllers||$124,540||not available|
|Auto Body Repairers||$42,730||$45,740|
|Bus and Truck Mechanics||$47,350||$55,290|
|Heavy Equipment Mechanics||$51,920||$58,990|
|Work Experience in a Related Occupation|
|Storage and Transportation Managers||$94,730||$108,530|
|Postsecondary Vocational Training (Certificate or Diploma)|
|Aircraft Mechanics||$62,920 - $64,140||$64,440|
|Airplane Pilots||$82,240 - $140,340||$92,140 - 8|
|Heavy Truck Drivers||$43,680||$47,700|
|Ship Captains and Mates||$69,180||$82,870|
|Subway and Streetcar Operators||$68,170||not available|
Employment & outlook
The demand for trucking and warehousing services is expected to increase. This is due to an increased demand for shipping raw materials and finished products over highways, rail lines, and waterways. However, technology and automation in warehousing enables better tracking and movement of items, which may decrease demand for workers who move freight or stock.
The employment opportunities in rail transportation are not expected to increase. As a result of improved technology, fewer workers are needed to arrange and operate trains.