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

When clients want to transfer a load of freight or cargo from one place to another, they need to figure out what kind of transportation company, called carriers, would be required. During this stage, Freight Brokers step in. Freight Brokers are professionals that connect cargo shippers with carriers. They maintain an extensive list of carrier companies that specialize in transporting different kinds of cargo.

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These professionals make sure that they’re connecting the shipper with the most appropriate carriers, taking into account the specifications of the shipment and the shipper’s range of budget. Freight Brokers are in charge of all communication between the shipper and carrier, negotiate the perfect budget for the transaction, and oversee every step of the process, from pick-up to drop-off.

If you are industrious and driven, interested in facilitating efficient processes, and have excellent communication skills, a Freight Broker career might be perfect for you. Although this profession requires intense organization and focus, it can lead to a lucrative and fulfilling career for the right person. If you are thinking of diving into this profession, here are some essential duties and responsibilities that Freight Brokers perform regularly:

  • Take orders and schedule client appointments to talk about specifics of the shipment
  • Look through a database or other methods for suitable carrier companies that offer the right services
  • Negotiate the shipment price that would be fair for both parties
  • Finalize every little detail, such as the date and time of the transaction
  • Keep a close eye on the ongoing shipment, making sure that everything is done in an errorless and timely manner
  • Update clients and carriers on the current status of the shipment
  • Create invoices and oversee payment processes

Requirements and Licensing for Becoming a Freight Broker in California

There are currently no specific educational requirements to become a Freight Broker in California. Still, employers would be looking to hire those who have at least a High School or GED diploma. Aside from this, learning about the trade and attending training classes would be extremely helpful in your journey to knowing the ins and outs of the industry and becoming a professional Freight Broker.

When it comes to licensing, there is no specific license for Freight Brokers in California, but all registered professionals must obtain a license from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), an organization within the U.S. Department of Tourism that enforces rules and regulations to ensure that carrier companies operate safely and efficiently. Here is a step-by-step guide for obtaining your Freight Broker license.

  • New applicants must first apply for a USDOT (Department of Transportation) number through the Unified Registration System (URS) Application of the FMCSA.
  • Obtain a Surety Bond (Form BMC-84) or Trust Fund Agreement (Form BMC-85) with an amount no less than $75,000.
  • Designate and apply for registration for Process Agents through FMCSA Form BOC-3. A Process Agent is needed to be the legal representative in the state where the broker operates.
  • Pay the $300 application fee and wait the required 4-6 weeks of processing time.

Freight Broker certifications are another way to earn credentials and valuable insight to continue working in the industry. Although not a requirement to practice in this profession, applying for one will certainly help you learn more about the field and set you apart from others. The Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA)
offers courses to become a Certified Transportation Broker (CTB), the highest and most widely recognized certification for brokers in the industry.

Where to Get Relevant Education in California

Many institutions across the country offer training and courses for Freight Brokers. Most of these are fully online-based, making them convenient for those whose schedules are geared more toward online learning. Some examples include:

  • San Diego State University in San Diego, CA, offers an online course in Freight Brokering. It tackles everything from the fundamental job duties of the profession to setting up and obtaining licenses for your brokerage office.
  • Stanislaus State Extended and International Education offer a comprehensive course on Freight Brokering, including lessons on operations, laws, and financial management. This course is 100 percent online-based.
  • Brooke Training, located in Ontario, CA, is a school specializing in Freight Broker training. They take pride in the excellent quality of their instructors, curriculum, and carrier contacts.

Career Growth and Salary

A Freight Broker in the United States earns an average annual pay of $54,880, or $21.04 per hour. The actual salary would still depend on the Freight Broker’s experience. The commissions they earn would also add to that amount. Higher-earning Freight Brokers have reported annual wages amounting up to $69,890.

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about 95,600 Freight Brokers are currently practicing in the U.S. as of this writing. This number is still subject to change as the long-term growth rate for this occupation is at a national average of 10 percent.

Working as a Freight Broker in California

When it comes to cargo movement and freight transfers, California is the most active across the nation. With it being the hub for more imports than any other state in the country, there are plenty of Freight Broker opportunities in California. Employers are looking to hire competent and efficient professionals, especially around the bustling seaport cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.