Transportation Careers


When thinking about transportation careers, most people immediately think of airline jobs. The perks when you work for an airline are undeniably sweet, with most companies providing free air transportation to worldwide locations for their off-duty employees and sometimes their families. The jobs, though, are harder than they look. Outside of commuter flights, shifts are irregular and hours are often very long, with lots of overnight work. When you work with an airline, you generally have to shape your life to your career.

While wages have been pretty good up to now, the airlines are starting to suffer, and it’s likely that those with the best wages and benefits are either going to go under or have to drop those high salaries. It’s still a great business, but you can expect a great deal of fluctuation in the near future as airlines adjust to a changing economy and soaring fuel costs.


Either city light rail or Amway commuter trains, or nationwide freight train services: you’ll find a host of careers with train transportation. If you work in commuter trains, you’ll likely be an engineer or a conductor/ticket taker. With freight, however, there are dozens of careers, from engineer to loader to mechanic to shipping manager, and you’ll find plenty of room for all kinds of positions and advancement.

Trains are likely to see a spike in use in the near future; diesel trains are much more efficient at moving goods than trucks, even though they end up in less convenient destinations, and with more freight moving, high gas prices are going to drive shippers to using trains. When usage in an industry goes up, so do the wages. While fuel prices are high, expect better wages and opportunities in this transportation field.

Shipping By Land

Trucks move most of the goods we purchase in stores, and the industry is a huge factor in transportation today. However, with the rapid increase in fuel costs, there have been some problems in this field. A lot of truckers are very unhappy right now because they have to purchase the diesel that goes into their vehicles themselves, and prices have doubled over the last couple of years for a full tank, severely impacting their profits.

This field is growing, according the the U.S. Department of Labor – but the statistics they use are based on yesterday, not today and tomorrow. Right now, if fuel prices stay at the same level there may be a major correction in the market very soon.

Shipping By Sea

Most of the ocean-shipping jobs staffed by Americans are dock work positions, but the United States Merchant Marine also have thousands of seamen operating boats in navigable waters, from the coasts to the Great Lakes to the larger rivers of America. This is a job that requires long stays away from home, and if you operate internationally it may entail some danger as well; pirates are a real and growing threat in modern oceans.

The job outlook for these positions is particularly good, as it’s getting harder to entice young sailors to sign onto these ships. In addition, international companies are seeking U.S. sailors to work on their ships as well as international shipping grows increasingly competitive. If you can handle hard work, sometimes months away from home, and have a real desire to travel and see the world, the Merchant Marine might be for you.

Government Positions

Not all transportation jobs entail working for specific companies or organizations. Today’s travel challenges require strong government support, in areas as varied as air marshal and DOT officer. Working for the state or federal government gains you many of the perks of other transportation-oriented jobs, while giving you a job that has excellent benefits and guaranteed employment. It is harder to get a government job than to get a job in the private sector.