Becoming a Freight Broker in Illinois – Get Your License
Thousands of trucks travel around the United States daily, carrying various cargo loads like food, clothing, and equipment. Freight Brokers are employed to handle all the planning and organization needed to make transportation services as efficient as possible. Manufacturers, or shippers, get in touch with Freight Brokers. The latter comb through their extensive database of carrier companies to find the perfect carrier for the client’s specific needs. These professionals then negotiate the cargo details, shipment date and time, and transaction price between the two parties, ensuring that everything is fair. Aside from being the liaison contact between the shippers and carriers, Freight Brokers also manage and oversee every step of the shipment process, ensuring that no unexpected situations or delays arise.
Becoming a Freight Broker in Illinois requires hard work and determination. Still, it can certainly lead to a rewarding and lucrative career for the right person. If you are an excellent communicator, have good time management and organization skills, and can remain calm and level-headed during stressful situations, then training to be a Freight Broker might be perfect for you.
Freight Broker Licenses and Certifications in Illinois
Although there are no specific licenses needed to become a Freight Broker in Illinois, you have to keep in mind that all professionals must apply for a license from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This nationwide organization generates and enforces rules and regulations to ensure that carrier companies operate safely and efficiently. Here are the steps you will need to take in order to obtain your federal Freight Broker license:
- Apply for a USDOT number through the Unified Registration System (URS) if you are a first-time licensure applicant
- Obtain a Surety Bond (Form BMC-84) or Trust Fund Agreement (Form BMC-85) worth $75,000 or higher
- Appoint a Process Agent and have them apply for registration through FMCSA Form BOC-3 (A Process Agent is a legal representative in the state where you will be operating as a broker.)
- Pay the $300 application fee and wait the standard 4-6 weeks processing time
When it comes to certifications, these are also not a requirement to work in this profession. However, training for and earning a Freight Broker certificate can be beneficial for aspiring brokers. Aside from the additional knowledge and valuable experience you will gain from these programs, certifications also prove your competency in the industry. The Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) offers courses that award a Certified Transportation Broker (CTB) certificate at the end, the most widely recognized certification for brokers in the U.S.
Relevant Freight Broker Education in Illinois
To become a successful Freight Broker, you will need to have at least a High School or GED diploma. Employers would be more likely to hire those who have these credentials. Attending training and relevant classes is also necessary to learn all you can about the field. Most of the Freight Broker programs currently offered are based almost entirely on an online platform. This is convenient if your schedule is more appropriate for online classes. Here are several colleges located around Illinois to get you started on your journey:
- Morton College in Cicero, IL, offers an online Freight Broker training course. The comprehensive course includes the basics of the field, information about licenses, and sales and marketing.
- Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove, IL, offers an online course on supply chain management and Freight Broker training. Lessons include all the relevant knowledge and resources you will need to work as a Freight Broker or start your brokerage.
- Richland Community College in Decatur, IL, offers an online course on Freight Brokering with seasoned professionals in the industry as their instructors. Their extensive curriculum promises to teach the ins and outs of the field, producing competent and qualified graduates.
Career Outlook and Salary of Freight Brokers
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 95,600 professionals work as Freight Brokers across the country. The growth rate for this career is at a national average of 10 percent for the years 2020 until 2030, which means there will be around 9,500 new Freight Broker jobs projected to come up each year.
The average hourly wage of a Freight Broker in the U.S. is $21.04, or $54,880 per year, excluding commissions and bonuses earned. Higher-earning Freight Brokers, who have been working in the industry for a good amount of years, have reported annual wages amounting up to $69,890.
Freight Broker Opportunities in Illinois
With many international airports and an extensive highway system located in Illinois, the state is a busy hub of transportation services. Since there are numerous brokerages around the area, competent and qualified Freight Brokers are always in high demand, especially in the state’s largest city, Chicago.