Becoming a Freight Broker in Virginia – Get Your License
Freight brokers are an integral part of the US economy. Thanks to these hardworking professionals, everything from cars to clothing, computers, and food is accessible to residents nationwide. Brokers coordinate with shippers and customers and take on a wide range of duties to make sure that the shipment arrives on time and without a hitch. They ensure that the freight carriers get those shipments to their ultimate destinations despite obstacles and challenges that are sure to pop up along the way. There are lots of details Freight Brokers must keep track of as well to ensure a smooth and consistent workflow in their brokerage.
Freight brokers must familiarize themselves with industry software like SAP and business software like Microsoft Office. Additionally, they must hone their communication skills to work with shippers and customers. Freight brokers must also have sound knowledge of geography and time management skills. They also monitor weather forecasts and must maintain a professional demeanor when things get busy or the circumstances become challenging.
What is Required to Become a Freight Broker in Virginia
Specific education programs are not needed to become a Freight Broker. Still, most have at least a high school diploma or GED, while about 30 percent have a bachelor’s degree. A few items are required to be a Freight Broker. Registration with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) is imperative to obtain a Broker Authority License and multiple government-issued numbers must be obtained, which identify each Freight Broker.
Training on the job is possible, but taking courses to become familiar with the duties of the position and gain industry knowledge would be beneficial. They are especially important if you are determined to start and run your own freight brokerage.
Educational Opportunities Available in Virginia
Not many Freight Broker programs are available in Virginia, and on-campus courses are not offered.
- Virginia Wesleyan University in Virginia Beach, VA offers a six-month training program via Brooke Transportation Training Solutions that includes all information required to run a successful freight brokerage, including licensing requirements. Graduates of this program are offered monthly opportunities to meet virtually with industry professionals and explore career resources. Financial aid options may be available.
Certification and Licensing to Become a Freight Broker in Virginia
Freight Brokers in Virginia are required to obtain a license, an insurance bond, as well as 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 and to apply for a Broker Authority License. Numbers required for specific shipment types, such as a Cargo Tank (CT) Number, can also be obtained from the FMCSA.
Each Freight Broker purchases a surety bond to protect them against loss due to property damage or bodily injury. The amount of the bond is $75,000.
Salary and Long-term Career Outlook
Within the United States, the number of Freight Brokers is expected to grow by 10 percent by 2028. In Virginia, that growth is expected to be 3 percent. There were 3,190 Freight Brokers in Virginia in 2018. You can expect about 320 job openings per year for this position based on the statistics.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Virginia Freight Brokers make an annual average of $42,450 in 2020 or an hourly average of $20.41. The highest earners within the state make an average yearly salary of $70,660. The average national salary of a Freight Broker is $43,770 per year or $21.04 per hour. The growth for this profession is not as fast as some other states but is expected to be steady, and the pay for Freight Brokers in Virginia is in line with the national average.
Working in Virginia as a Freight Broker
The ports of Virginia have multiple terminals. Due to this, Freight Brokers must track which ones are closed to container traffic, which are under construction, which have rail access, and which have warehouse space. Keeping these details in mind would aid in choosing the most suitable destinations for incoming shipments, which helps keep customers happy.
If you enter the industry as a Freight Agent, you can work for a brokerage and learn on the job or take the online course to become a Freight Broker and run your own business. In under a year, it’s possible to have the certificate from the Freight Broker program, as well as a license, insurance bond and all the government-issued numbers needed to get started.
Port cities like Newport News, Norfolk and Richmond will be more likely to have job opportunities available, as more freight activity is there. If running your own business is what you prefer, you can even be a Freight Broker via a home-based business.