Is Transportation a Good Career Path in 2022?

Is Transportation a Good Career Path

Every day, millions of Americans drive to work or school. But not everyone has access to a car, or the opportunity to learn how to operate one safely.

Luckily, there are other ways you can get to work and other opportunities outside of personal vehicles. Becoming a transportation professional can open lots of doors—not only for you but for the people around you too.

The career path of a transportation specialist is dynamic and ever-changing. As cities grow more congested, new technology is making mass transit easier to access from home and work.

Transportation professionals typically earn higher wages than their peers with similar job titles who do not hold a degree in the field as well as savings through retirement plans and company pensions.

If you’re considering a career in transportation, there are many positive aspects to this field. Jobs in the industry can be stable and offer a good salary after many years of experience. However, not every position is right for every person, so it’s important to consider all the pros and cons before making a final decision.

Before you leap into a potentially rewarding field that requires dedication and perseverance, here’s everything you need to know about becoming a transportation professional…

What Is a Transportation Professional?

A transportation professional works for any entity that moves people. Typically, these entities are either government or private organizations to provide transportation services.

Transportation companies range from large corporations to local bus services or taxi companies. Large corporations like UPS, FedEx, and American Airlines are a few examples of transportation companies. However, there are many, many others.

Transportation also includes all modes of transport, meaning a transportation professional can work in any field that involves vehicles and/or the movement of people, such as automobiles, airplanes, boats, trains, etc.

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Career Opportunities for Transportation Professionals

Transportation professionals work in a variety of fields, from fleet management to law enforcement. Depending on your specific interests and skills, you might be able to work in a variety of industries, including transportation planning and traffic engineering, transportation operations, public transportation, freight, and intercity bus transportation.

Transportation job options are plentiful and have a wide range of potential career paths, in part because of the increasing need for alternative modes of transportation. Whether you want to work for a trucking company or a private or public transportation agency, there’s a job for you.

Transportation Planners: They develop long-term transportation plans for a city or state. They analyze the current transportation system to help determine future needs and develop and implement solutions.

Traffic Engineers: They help cities and states to manage and reduce traffic congestion.

Operations Professionals: They work for various transportation agencies to manage the flow of people and goods.

Transportation Managers: They work for organizations like airports, transit agencies, and intercity transportation companies.

Safety and Security Professionals: They help agencies to prevent, investigate, and solve crimes that pose a threat to transportation operations. They work in law enforcement, including city officers and highway patrol officers. They also may work in transportation-related industries like railroads, ferries, ports, or intercity bus companies.

Drivers: Drivers of all types are in demand in the transportation industry. With more and more people shifting to work from home, there’s a growth in demand for delivery drivers.

Transportation Training and Education Requirements

When it comes to getting started, there are a few key factors to consider, including the sector you work in, the type of training you need, and the level of education.

Typically, transportation professionals need bachelor’s degrees in a related field, such as transportation planning, operations management, or computer science.

As the field continues to diversify and evolve, it’s important to stay on top of relevant educational requirements. However, you can still get a job with a bachelor’s degree in another field, or even without any formal schooling at all.

You can also try online education programs or community colleges offering transportation-focused degree programs. Beyond your degree, there are a few other factors to consider when looking into a career in transportation.

Transportation Professional Salaries

Transportation professionals are generally well compensated for their level of experience. In addition to on-the-job training, many professionals choose to obtain a master’s or doctoral degree to increase their earning potential.

While some professions (like owning a taxi or limousine business) are naturally lucrative, there are many opportunities in the transportation industry that do not include a hefty salary.

Truck drivers often make a decent amount of money in their first few years of driving. Over time, their wages increase as they gain more experience behind the wheel. The average hourly wage for a truck driver is $24.74, with an average annual salary of $46,950.

Transportation company executives and transportation managers typically earn the highest salaries, while those who work as transportation inspectors or drivers earn the lowest.

A transportation specialist who works for a large corporation can expect to earn a salary of $110,000 per year, according to PayScale. Transportation specialists who work for government agencies, on the other hand, can earn as much as $120,000 per year.

What Are the High-Paying Jobs in the Transportation Industry?

There are a handful of high-paying transportation jobs that can lead to comparable or higher salaries.

Aviation Management: Aviation managers are responsible for all aspects of a commercial or private aviation operation, including finance, people, facilities, and operations. Aviation managers earn a median salary of $118,000 annually.

Rail Transportation Operations Manager: Rail transportation operations managers oversee the operation of transit stations and other transportation facilities. The job responsibilities of a rail transportation operations manager vary depending on the type of railroad being managed.

The job duties of a private railroad transportation operations manager are usually very similar to those of a public transportation operations manager. The median salary for rail transportation operations managers is $110,000 annually.

Benefits of Becoming a Transportation Professional

There are many benefits of becoming a transportation professional. The stability of a regular job, the flexibility of self-employment, and the opportunity for career growth are among the most desirable aspects of this field.

Stable Income

Transportation professionals typically earn higher wages than their peers with similar job titles who do not hold a degree in the field as well as savings through retirement plans and company pensions.

Flexible Job Options

As cities grow more congested, new technology is making mass transit easier to access from home and work. New self-driving car technology could make this even easier.

Potential for Career Growth

Transportation professionals have the opportunity to grow their skills and advance in the profession through on-the-job training and self-directed study.

There are also benefits like health care coverage, retirement plans, and workers’ compensation coverage.

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Drawbacks of Becoming a Transportation Professional

The stability of a regular job, the flexibility of self-employment, and the opportunity for career growth are among the most desirable aspects of this field. These benefits, however, come with a few drawbacks as well.

Lack of Out-of-The-Box Thinking

While transportation professionals are typically well-paid and have a stable career path, they have been criticized for lacking creativity and out-of-the-box thinking skills.

Lack of Creative and Strategic Thinking

Transportation professionals have also been criticized for lacking creativity and strategic thinking skills.

Lack of Entrepreneurialism

Transportation professionals have been criticized for lacking entrepreneurialism skills as well.

Is Transportation an Ideal Career Path?

The choice is yours. Whether you want to become a truck driver, bus driver, taxi driver, limo driver, train operator, air-traffic controller, or a manager in any of these industries, the sky is the limit.

If you decide to pursue a career in transportation, you will face unique challenges along with unique opportunities. The job field is extremely demanding, but also extremely rewarding. On the flip side, you will need to work extremely hard for little pay, but you will also have the opportunity to make a significant difference in the lives of others.

Before you take the plunge, however, it’s important to consider all the pros and cons. Many careers, like transportation, can be extremely rewarding, but they also require a great deal of dedication and perseverance.


Transportation professionals are integral members of society. Working in this field, you’ll be exposed to new technologies and experience a variety of career options. In addition to the highest-paying careers in transportation, you have the opportunity to work for organizations that provide critical services for citizens and communities.

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