Whether it’s making sure people get from Point A to Point B safely or overseeing the shipment of materials, transportation jobs offer potential for those with an interest in the field.
While duties, entry level requirements, job availability and median pay can vary greatly based on the position sought, the overall field remains a promising one for students with an interest in transit.
Here is a look at seven of the most sought-after jobs in this arena:
Air Traffic Controllers
While this is one of the highest paying jobs in the industry with a median salary of $122,530, according to a 2012 national survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), it’s also one of the slowest growing. The field is anticipated to grow only by 1% through 2022, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook 2014-15 edition.
Air traffic controllers are tasked with coordinating the movement of aircraft to ensure safety. The job requires an associate’s degree, successful passing of medical and background checks and a qualifying score on the Federal Aviation Administration’s pre-employment test. Controllers must also complete a course at the FAA Academy.
Airline and Commercial Pilots
Also one of the industry’s highest paying jobs with a median annual wage of $98,410, according to BLS, this field is anticipated to have a -1% growth rate through 2022. There are a number of requirements for entering this occupation, including holding a bachelor’s degree in just about any subject. A commercial pilot’s license is also required, along with certification from the FAA. Pilots typically are required to log several thousand hours of flight time before they are even considered for employment by major airlines. It is not uncommon for military pilots to transition into this career field upon return to civilian life.
This field can have workers performing a variety of jobs, including driving trains, coordinating schedules and activities and controlling switches and signals in rail yards. Entry in the field typically requires only a high school diploma, but on-the-job training is provided for specialty positions, such as engineers. This field is also in decline with an anticipated growth rate of -3%. The median pay in 2012 was $52,400, according to BLS.
Water Transportation Occupations
This is an expanding field with an anticipated growth rate of about 13% through 2022. The median pay was $48,980 in the 2012. Workers in this field maintain and operate cargo and passenger vessels. The entry level requirements for this field can vary greatly. Engineers, pilots and officers, for example, must typically have bachelor’s degrees. Dock workers and non-officers generally do not need a degree. Credentials, such as the Transportation Worker Identification Credential, and the Merchant Marine Credential are often mandatory.
Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers
Workers in this field are tasked with delivering goods from one place to another. In most cases, tractor-trailer drivers go on long-haul runs in trucks that exceed 26,000 pounds when fully loaded. This field is anticipated to grow at an 11% rate through 2022. The median pay in 2012 was $38,200 a year. Trucker drivers are required to have a Commercial Driver’s License, or CDL. They are also required to attend a professional truck-driving school, but can start out with driving credentials and a high school diploma or equivalent.
With an anticipated growth rate of -7% through 2022, this is another career area that is in decline. It offered a median pay of $37,240 in 2012. Workers in this field can generally enter with only a high school diploma or equivalent, but they receive employer training and are required to pass a certification program overseen by the Federal Aviation Administration. Some college and previous customer service work can also be helpful. Workers in this field are tasked with ensuring the comfort and safety of passengers on commercial flights.
Material Moving Machine Operators
Workers in this field are tasked with using machinery to move items on construction sites, in factories, warehouses, mines and other locations. This field is anticipated to have a growth rate of 1% through 2022. The median pay in 2012 was $31,530 annually. Entry requirements for this field can vary based on the position, but in most cases a minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent is required. Most positions involve on-the-job training, but heavy equipment operators, for example, might opt to attend the International Union of Operating Engineers apprenticeship program.
The transportation industry offers a diversity of jobs for entry level workers with a variety of educational backgrounds. While job growth is sluggish in many areas, some positions are growing at a steady pace. Workers who are interested in entering this field are urged to conduct independent research as entry requirements, job availability and pay can vary based on location and employer.