How to Become a Freight Broker in Alabama – Get Your License

Freight brokers play an essential role in the transportation industry as they set up deals between carriers and shippers. They do so by matching the shipment to the appropriate carrier. Freight brokers must be self-motivated, have excellent communication skills, and be familiar with shipping procedures and regulations. However, a license and insurance are required to work as a freight broker. Other requirements may vary by state. Keep reading to find out the regulations for working as a freight broker in Alabama.

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What Do Freight Brokers in Alabama Do?

A freight broker is responsible for connecting companies who need to ship materials with the appropriate transportation methods to ship those goods. They are often the point of communication between the shipper and the carrier. Freight brokers may either work as independent contractors or for a brokerage company. Some of the responsibilities of a freight broker include:

  • Receiving orders from shippers
  • Making a note of any special requests from shippers
  • Being familiar with different types of carriers
  • Coordinating the appropriate shippers and carriers
  • Working out price details with all parties involved
  • Overseeing all shipping details from pickup to deposit
  • Keeping clients updated on the status of shipments
  • Sending bills and receiving payments

Freight Brokers Licensing Requirements

In Alabama, freight brokers must have a high school diploma or its equivalent, cargo and liability insurance, and a freight broker surety bond for $75,000. There are no state-level license requirements, but you need to register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). There are no state or federal educational regulations to work as a freight broker in Alabama, but completing a training program can help you learn the basics of freight brokering and better prepare you to work in this field.

You will need a legal framework if you open your own company, such as a limited liability corporation (LLC). You may also want to gain certification as a Certified Transportation Broker (CTB) through the Transportation Intermediaries Association. This is the highest recognized credential amongst freight brokers and may help you to land more clients.

Alabama Freight Broker Training Programs

While completing an educational training program is not mandatory, you may still want to consider enrolling in one if you’re interested in working as a freight broker. Here are some of the options available in Alabama:

  • Calhoun Community College
    Calhoun Community College has campuses in both Decatur and Huntsville. They offer an online freight broker training program that can be completed in six months.
  • University of South Alabama
    USA’s campus is located in Mobile, but they also offer an online program that takes approximately six months to complete.
  • Shelton State Community College
    Located in Tuscaloosa, Shelton State has an online freight broker training program as well. It consists of 180-course hours taken over six months.

Career Outlook and Salaries for Freight Brokers

Nationally, the job growth for this career is solid at 7.5 percent, according to Projections Central. That growth remains consistent in Alabama, with a projected growth of 11.5 percent. This means approximately 90 new freight broker jobs are expected to become available annually over the next few years.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the national median salary for freight brokers was $43,770 annually in May 2020. In Alabama, the average annual salary is $38,720, or $18.62 hourly. Freight brokers may make more or less than the national average, depending on where they are located. Also, freight brokers who own businesses can control the number of clients they take on, contributing to their total income.

Working as a Freight Broker in Alabama

As a freight broker, you have the choice of working for a brokerage company or yourself. Six interstate highways run through Alabama and 3,700 miles of railroad track, and 1,700 miles of waterways. Therefore, there is plenty of opportunity for cargo to be moved and plenty of opportunities for freight brokers to find work. While you can work almost anywhere in the state since most of the job is done by phone and online, you may have the most luck finding work in places where transport is busiest. These include the larger cities of Birmingham, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa and Mobile.