Becoming a Freight Broker in Washington, D.C. – Get Your License

Items are shipped to retailers or arrive on trucks, and we do not tend to give much thought to how they got there. From our cars to clothing, computers and even our food, they are delivered due to the hard work of Freight Brokers. They coordinate with shippers and customers to ensure that carriers deliver shipments to their intended destinations. Freight Brokers need to be on top of every minute detail as the shipments are en route.

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There is a quite varied skillset that is essential to successful Freight Brokers. They must have comfort and familiarity with using business software, such as Microsoft Office, as well as industry software, like SAP. Top notch communication skills are imperative to negotiate with shippers, vendors, and customers. Freight Brokers need a strong knowledge of geography, including the weather, within the areas they service. A professional demeanor is a must to keep their cool when things get busy, and excellent time management is a must.

Requirements to Become a Freight Broker in Washington, D.C.

While a particular education is not required to become a Freight Broker, most of them have at least a high school diploma or GED. Approximately 19 percent have a secondary certificate and about 30 percent have a bachelor’s degree. The government does have licensing requirements for Freight Brokers though. They need to register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) to obtain their Broker Authority License, as well as multiple government-issued numbers which must be obtained, as these number distinguish each Freight Broker from any others.

On the job training is possible, however, taking courses to gain industry knowledge would be beneficial. These courses are especially important if you intend to start and run your own freight brokerage.

Educational Opportunities Available in Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. does not appear to have any Freight Broker programs, but several nearby community colleges offer online programs.

  • Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) has multiple campus locations in Maryland and offers an online training program. The curriculum is split into two parts and is designed to be completed within 6 months. The program includes all information and resources required to run a successful freight brokerage, including licensing requirements, operations, accounting, marketing, contracts, and negotiations. Upon completion, students will receive a Continuing Education Workforce Certificate from CCBC.
  • Wake Technical Community College (WakeTech) in Raleigh, NC has a completely online program that is also designed to be completed within 6 months. Students enrolled in this self-paced program are provided all information needed to run their office, obtain their Broker Authority License, and engage with clients and customers.

Certification and Licensing to Become a Freight Broker in Washington, D.C.

All Freight Brokers in Washington, D.C. are required by the government to obtain a license and insurance surety bond, as well as specialized government-issued ID numbers. These numbers include an Operating Authority (MC) Number and a United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) Number. These numbers identify each Freight Broker and differentiate them from others. Registration with the FMCSA is required to apply for a Broker Authority License, which is needed to obtain the government-issued numbers above, and to apply for a Broker Authority License. Numbers required for specialized shipment types, such as a Cargo Tank (CT) Number can also be obtained from the FMCSA. The application fee for the Broker Authority License is $300 and the processing time is 4 to 6 weeks.

A surety bond must be purchased by each Freight Broker so that they are protected against loss due to property damage or bodily injury. The required amount of that bond is $75,000.

Salary and Long-term Career Outlook

There is no specific data available at this time regarding the District of Columbia specifically, but this is an industry that is still experiencing steady growth. Overall, the expectation is that the number of Freight Brokers within the United States is expected to grow by 10 percent between the years 2018 to 2028.

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Washington, D.C. Freight Brokers made an annual average of $31,470 in 2020, or an hourly average of $15.13. The highest earners make an average annual salary of $62,220. The national average salary of Freight Broker is $43,770 per year, or $21.04 per hour.

Working in Washington, D.C. as a Freight Broker

Freight Brokers in Washington, D.C. potentially have unique opportunities to work in and with the nation’s capitol, which distinguishes the industry in that area.

Entering the workforce as a Freight Agent, allows you to work for a brokerage as you learn on the job or enroll in an online program to become a Freight Broker. Within a year’s time, it’s possible to have the certificate from a Freight Broker program, a Broker Authority License, insurance bond and all the government-issued numbers needed to get started.

The Washington, D.C. metro area should not be short of businesses to serve by any means. There are multiple shipping and trade locations not far from the Capitol. If you prefer, you can even be a Freight Broker via your own home-based business, which would allow for a flexible schedule.