Career Development

What Does a Transportation Specialist Do?

Find out what a transportation specialist does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a transportation specialist.

Transportation specialists are responsible for moving people and goods from one place to another. They may work directly for a company or government agency, or they may be employed by a third-party logistics company that specializes in transportation services.

Transportation specialists must have an extensive knowledge of the area they serve. They need to know which roads are most efficient at different times of day, which routes are best avoided due to traffic congestion or construction, and how to plan out their route so as to arrive on time and without incident.

Transportation Specialist Job Duties

A transportation specialist typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Estimating fuel needs for each job, ordering supplies, and making sure that vehicles are properly stocked with fuel and oil
  • Maintaining records of transportation expenditures and revenues to support accounting activities
  • Scheduling drivers’ work hours to meet customer needs and comply with regulations regarding driver hours of service
  • Coordinating with contractors or other third parties to arrange for vehicle maintenance
  • Developing and implementing safety policies and procedures for drivers and vehicles to prevent accidents or injuries
  • Establishing or maintaining relationships with vendors such as fuel suppliers or insurance companies to ensure adequate coverage for vehicles
  • Inspecting vehicles to make sure they are roadworthy, ordering repairs if needed, and tracking repair status
  • Coordinating with insurance companies to settle claims involving damage to vehicles or injuries to passengers
  • Providing information to passengers about routes and schedules, answering questions about routes or billing issues

Transportation Specialist Salary & Outlook

Transportation specialist salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the company they work for.

  • Median Annual Salary: $52,500 ($25.24/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of transportation specialists is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Employment growth will be driven by the need to improve the nation’s transportation infrastructure. In addition, the need to address traffic congestion and ensure safe roads will sustain demand for transportation specialists.

Transportation Specialist Job Requirements

A transportation specialist typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: A minimum of a high school diploma or GED is required to become a transportation specialist. Some employers prefer candidates who have a bachelor’s degree in logistics, transportation or a related field. Logistics and transportation degrees include coursework in business, management, economics, mathematics, statistics and transportation.

Training & Experience: Many transportation specialists receive on-the-job training when they start a new position. This training may last for a few weeks or a few months, depending on the complexity of the job.

Certifications & Licenses: Certifications are not usually a requirement to become a transportation specialist, but they can help you become a more competitive candidate when applying for jobs.

Transportation Specialist Skills

Transportation specialists need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Transportation specialists communicate with many people throughout their careers. They often communicate with clients, employers and other transportation specialists. They also communicate with other transportation specialists to plan routes and schedules. Transportation specialists also communicate with clients and employers to ensure that the transportation needs of their clients are met.

Customer service: Transportation specialists interact with clients and customers on a daily basis. Customer service skills can help you interact with clients and customers in a friendly and professional manner. Customer service skills can also help you answer questions and solve problems for clients and customers.

Problem-solving: Transportation specialists often work with a team to plan and execute transportation strategies. They may also work with a variety of transportation systems, including public transportation, private transportation and transportation for special needs individuals. Problem-solving skills allow transportation specialists to identify challenges and develop solutions to overcome them.

Organization: Transportation specialists often have to keep track of many different types of information, including vehicle maintenance records, employee schedules and transportation routes. Having strong organizational skills can help transportation specialists keep track of all the information they need to do their job well.

Driving: Transportation specialists often drive company vehicles to and from job sites. They also drive to pick up and drop off equipment and materials. Driving is a necessary skill for this career, so it’s important to have a valid driver’s license and a clean driving record.

Transportation Specialist Work Environment

Transportation specialists typically work in an office environment, although they may travel to attend meetings or to observe the operation of transportation systems. They usually work a standard 40-hour week, although they may occasionally work overtime to meet deadlines or to attend evening or weekend meetings. Some transportation specialists may be required to travel frequently, sometimes on short notice. The work of transportation specialists can be stressful because of the need to meet deadlines, the potential for errors in their work, and the need to deal with difficult people.

Transportation Specialist Trends

Here are three trends influencing how transportation specialists work. Transportation specialists will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Growth of the Sharing Economy

The sharing economy is growing rapidly, and this is having a major impact on the transportation industry. As more and more people turn to services like Uber and Airbnb, there is a need for professionals who can help these companies operate safely and efficiently.

Transportation specialists can capitalize on this trend by becoming experts in the sharing economy. This will allow them to work with both startups and established businesses, and it will give them the skills they need to stay ahead of the competition.

Driverless Trucks Are Coming

As driverless trucks become a reality, transportation specialists will need to learn new skills to stay competitive.

One of the most important skills that transportation specialists will need to learn is how to manage fleets of driverless trucks. This includes everything from setting up routes to monitoring vehicle performance. In addition, transportation specialists will need to be familiar with the latest technologies related to driverless trucks, such as sensors and mapping systems.

More Focus on Supply Chain Management

As businesses focus more on supply chain management, transportation specialists will be in high demand.

This trend is due to the fact that transportation is a critical part of any supply chain, as it is responsible for getting products from point A to point B. As businesses look for ways to improve their supply chains, they will turn to transportation specialists for help.

How to Become a Transportation Specialist

A career as a transportation specialist can be rewarding in many ways. It offers the opportunity to work with people from all walks of life, and to help them reach their destinations safely and on time. You’ll also have the chance to learn about different modes of transportation and how they work.

To become a transportation specialist, you’ll need to have a strong understanding of math and science, as well as an interest in learning about new technologies and methods of transportation. You should also be able to work independently and be comfortable interacting with people from all walks of life.

Advancement Prospects

There are many ways to advance your career as a transportation specialist. One of the best ways is to get more education and training. With more education and training, you will be able to apply for positions that are not otherwise open to you. For example, you may be able to get a position as a transportation planner or a transportation engineer. You can also advance by getting further education that leads to specialty certification, such as the Certified Transportation Professional credential.

Another way to advance your career is to become involved in professional organizations. These organizations can provide you with networking opportunities, which can help you to find a new job or get a promotion. They can also provide you with continuing education opportunities, which can help you to keep up with new developments in the field of transportation.

Transportation Specialist Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we understand that time is money. That’s why we need a highly-skilled transportation specialist to keep our business moving. You will be responsible for coordinating the transportation of our products and materials to and from our facilities, as well as to and from our customers’ locations. This will include local, national, and international shipments. In addition, you will be responsible for ensuring that all shipments are properly documented and meet all applicable regulations. The most successful transportation specialist will be an excellent communicator with strong organizational skills.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Serve as the primary point of contact for all transportation-related inquiries
  • Maintain up-to-date knowledge of DOT regulations and compliance requirements
  • Coordinate with third-party logistics providers to schedule and track shipments
  • Prepare shipping documents, including bills of lading, packing lists, and commercial invoices
  • Arrange for pick-up and delivery of shipments with carriers
  • Monitor inbound and outbound shipments to ensure timely delivery
  • Investigate and resolve any delays or issues with shipments
  • Keep accurate records of all shipments, including tracking numbers and contact information for carrier
  • Generate reports on transportation activity, such as shipment costs and volume
  • Review invoices from carriers and reconcile with shipping records
  • Negotiate rates with carriers and identify opportunities for cost savings
  • Stay up-to-date on new technologies and trends in the transportation industry

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in transportation, logistics, or related field
  • 3-5 years experience in transportation planning, analysis, or management
  • Working knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook
  • GIS mapping software experience (ESRI ArcGIS, MapInfo, etc.)
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Masters degree in transportation, logistics, or related field
  • Experience with project management
  • Experience with data analysis and statistical software (SPSS, SAS, R, etc.)
  • Experience developing and presenting transportation plans and reports
  • Certification in Project Management Professional (PMP)


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