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Is Air Cargo/Delivery Services the Right Career for You?

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Despite the recent downturn in e-commerce related to globalization, a complete turnaround is not expected as the demand for air freight and delivery services continues to grow in tandem. In fact, the industry generates billions of dollars every year and is expected to grow over the next five years.

As the demand for these services increases, the demand for workers in this sector also increases. Different positions in this industry require different skills and come with varying salaries. So is pursuing air cargo and delivery services a good career path?

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What qualifications are needed to work in air cargo delivery services?

Qualifications vary for different types of jobs. Some positions only require a high school diploma, while others involve obtaining an air cargo transportation certificate. Higher-level positions may require college degrees in specific fields, such as logistics.

Some air cargo delivery positions require physical strength and stamina to meet the demands of the position. Other jobs require workers skilled in machine operations, such as using a pallet truck. Demonstrating a strong safety awareness and time management skills are skills that cut across all positions within the industry.

What are some types of careers in air cargo delivery services?

Air cargo delivery service positions range from entry-level to professional. Here are some of the best jobs in the industry worth looking into.

freight handler

Handlers are in charge of incoming and outgoing freight. Primary responsibilities include transporting goods, maintaining records and monitoring safety standards. Typically, cargo handlers use machines, so they often need to be certified to drive and operate vehicles, such as forklifts. Organization, communication and basic computer skills are a high priority for the position.

  • Average annual salary: $47,470
  • Estimated hourly rate: $18.67 per hour
  • Core Skills Required: Organization, communication, attention to detail, respect for health and safety and IT knowledge

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Forwarding agent

Freight forwarders manage the entire transportation process from start to finish. The job description usually includes:

  • Communicate and arrange appropriate arrangements with relevant parties
  • Negotiate prices
  • Coordinate transit and obtain insurance coverage
  • Documentation preparation
  • Preparation of storage facilities
  • Records management through computer systems

Most freight forwarders don’t need any education beyond a high school diploma. However, some have higher degrees and these workers may have more job responsibilities due to their education.

  • Annual salary scale: $43,042 to $77,059
  • Estimated hourly rate: $21 to $37
  • Core Skills Required: Communication, negotiation, organization, accounting and computer culture

Air Cargo Handling Supervisor

An air cargo handling supervisor may also be known as an “aircraft loadmaster”. This person oversees shipment loading/unloading, staffing requirements and security measures. Additionally, they are often part of the in-flight crew to monitor cargo and help manage emergencies.

  • Annual salary scale: $38,830 to $82,450
  • Estimated median hourly rate: $25.74
  • Core Skills Required: High level communication skills, ability to analyze and resolve discrepancies, attention to detail and computer skills – especially with data entry and processing

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freight broker

A freight broker identifies and secures freight solutions to minimize costs and maximize sales while meeting all required standards. They work as middlemen to arrange loading and deliveries and oversee the status of every order they place. Keeping records for orders is essential, and freight brokers need to follow market trends to spot and get the best deals.

  • Annual salary scale: $30,020 to $69,450
  • Estimated hourly rate: $37.18
  • Core Skills Required: Negotiation, sales, accounting, attention to detail, communication and computer literacy

Freight Logistics Operations Manager

A freight logistics operations manager will work with third parties and staff to control warehouse facilities, including arranging drivers for transporting goods and ensuring that all employees are performing their jobs to standards. Although the warehousing team receives significant support for this role, it is the freight operations manager’s job to ensure that processes run smoothly and errors do not occur through the people management.

  • Annual salary scale: $64,202 to $77,928
  • Estimated hourly rate: $31 to $37
  • Core Skills Required: People management, leadership, compliance, customer relationship management and organization

freight agent

The responsibility of an air cargo agent is to coordinate imports and exports between airlines and terminals. They track and route shipments while keeping records of every delivery that arrives. Strong customer service and oral communication is essential to liaising with clients and negotiating financial rates. Health and safety qualifications as well as university degrees are beneficial for the position.

  • Annual salary scale: $36,317 to $49,594
  • Estimated hourly rate: $17 to $24
  • Core Skills Required: Attention to detail, organization, negotiation and communication

Final take

Air cargo delivery services can be a brilliant industry to work in to develop a long-term career. There is great earning potential as workers gain experience and move up the ranks, making this an ideal proposition for someone interested in the business and transportation sector.

Those interested in pursuing any of the above roles can search for opportunities and training online. Updating a resume, preparing a cover letter, and practicing interview techniques are great ways to maximize your chances of landing a job.


Here are some common questions people ask about careers in air cargo and delivery services.
  • Is freight a good career?
    • Freight services can be a good career with high earning potential, especially when following progression paths and earning qualifications.
  • Which states pay the most for air freight delivery services?
    • According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Connecticut, Maine, South Dakota, Oregon, and Massachusetts pay the most for cargo and freight workers.
  • Where can I find a job in air cargo delivery services?
    • Some of the largest companies in the United States, including DHL, FedEx, and many others, are hiring for air cargo delivery service jobs. Thousands of job postings can be found on reputable websites such as and LinkedIn.

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About the Author

David is a qualified financial adviser in the Republic of Ireland. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business and entrepreneurship, as well as over five years of investment experience.

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