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

If you like a challenge and enjoy communicating with people, consider working in freight and cargo brokering in Pennsylvania. A career as a freight broker is ideal for anyone who loves to plan, organize, and problem solve. This career is flexible and doesn’t have formal education or state licensing requirements. You can get started working and earning quickly.

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What is a Freight Broker?

Also known as a freight and cargo broker, a freight broker acts as an intermediary between carriers and people and companies shipping goods. They set up transportation for customers, help carriers fill empty spaces and plan routes and other details.

People turn to freight brokers in Pennsylvania when they need to ship cargo quickly and within budget. As a freight broker, you may work for a freight company or start your own independent business. In either case, you will be responsible for:

  • Taking shipping orders
  • Getting all the required details for a shipment, including special requests, budget, and timing
  • Maintaining a database of carriers
  • Matching the right carrier to each shipper
  • Working within a shipper’s budget and negotiating prices with carriers
  • Coordinating all details of a shipment from beginning to end
  • Keeping track of a shipment’s progress and communicating it to the shipper

The best freight brokers are organized, pay attention to detail, communicate well, and work hard, sometimes during off-hours.

What Do You Need to Be a Freight Broker in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania has not set any formal requirements for training, education, or licensing for freight brokers. All brokers must have a federal license, however. You can get one through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) by following these steps:

  1. Apply for a U.S. Department of Transportation number through a Unified Registration System application.
  2. Purchase a Surety Bond or Trust Fund Agreement for at least $75,000.
  3. Complete the BOC-3 form to designate a process agent for each state in which you will operate. This can be you, but it doesn’t have to be.
  4. Apply for an FMCSA license and pay the $300 fee.

These are the minimum requirements to begin working as a freight broker, but there are other credentials to consider, especially if starting your own business. Become a Certified Transportation Broker (CTB) to highlight your knowledge. Also, consider establishing a legal entity for your business, such as a limited liability company.

Training Programs in Pennsylvania

You don’t need to earn a degree or certificate to work as a freight broker, but it’s a good idea to take some classes. You can find many online options and programs through Pennsylvania colleges:

  • Community College of Philadelphia. This school offers a 180-hour online program. It costs $1,895, and you get six months to complete it at your pace.
  • Pennsylvania Highlands Community College. This purchasing, supply chain management, and freight broker training program is also online. It includes training for freight brokering but also for additional careers in logistics.
  • Temple University. Temple in Philadelphia offers a 100% online course in freight broker training.

Salary and Outlook

The national median salary for freight brokers in 2020 was $43,770 per year. Salary can vary widely, especially if you start your own business. Doing so allows you to charge your own rates and determine how many hours you work. The typical salary range in Pennsylvania is $49,030 to $57,580.

Career growth for freight brokers mirrors average job growth at a rate of about 10%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Pennsylvania had between 980 and 2,340 freight brokers in 2020.

Finding Work as a Freight Broker in Pennsylvania

As an independent freight broker, you can begin working anywhere in the state. The work is primarily done online and over the phone, giving you the flexibility to work where you choose. If you want to work for a freight brokering company, jobs are available throughout the state but especially in big transportation centers. Examples include Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Reading.