Training for Pennsylvania Freight Brokers
Freight brokers are third-party logistics specialists working in the goods transportation industry. Shipping companies and goods carriers rely on these specialists to help coordinate their day-to-day activities. If you’re looking for excellent opportunities in goods transportation, a work-from-home broker position may provide everything you need.
Broker jobs can bring great reward in the state of Pennsylvania. That’s because the state is home to more than 15,000 goods exporters. Together, these exporters ship almost $40 billion in products a year. With such a large potential market, reputable brokers who understand the industry can expect to do quite well. Here are some tips on what you can do to succeed in this booming environment.
Requirements for a Freight Broker Career in Pennsylvania
To start your career as a Pennsylvania freight broker, you must meet all current qualifications. The same set of rules is in place throughout the country. An agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation oversees the enforcement of these rules. That agency is called the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Authority (FMCSA).
On the education front, all prospective brokers must at least be high school graduates or GED holders. If you have the necessary education, you can take the next step: registering for a USDOT number. Every business involved in goods transportation must hold one of these numbers. They allow federal regulators to keep tabs on the industry.
With your USDOT number in hand, you can apply for your operator’s license. You may hear this license referred to as a Broker Authority. You may also hear it referred to as an MC Authority. The terms are interchangeable.
To get your license, you must:
- Pay a $300 fee to the FMCSA
- Fill out a form that designates representatives of your business known as process agents
- Prove to the FMCSA that you have enough insurance protection to operate responsibly
Process agents are required to appear in legal proceedings that involve your company. They stand liable for any claims brought against you. They also act on your behalf if you take action against someone else. For every state where you open for business, you must appoint one agent. In your home state, you can appoint yourself.
The FMCSA currently maintains a $75,000 insurance requirement for all freight brokers. Many new brokers acquire a surety bond to meet this requirement. However, you may also fulfill your obligation with a trust fund agreement.
The time you must wait for your broker license can vary. Typically, you can expect the FMCSA to approve a properly filed application in a four- to six-week timeframe.
Training Options for Pennsylvania Brokers
As a rule, well-trained freight brokers are more successful than poorly trained brokers. With this reality in mind, you’ll want to put thorough training on your immediate to-do list. When looking for broker courses, be aware that the required knowledge falls into four main categories:
- Things you must know to work well with both shippers and carriers
- Things you must know to run a well-managed broker business
- Things you must know to keep your business operations legal
- Things you must know to develop and carry out effective marketing plans
The best courses provide complete training in each of these areas. An excellent example of what to look for comes from Brooke Transportation Training Solutions and its partner ed2go. These two entities have created one of the nation’s top programs. In a Brooke Transportation/ed2go course, you’ll receive a full 180 hours of essential instruction. All training is provided by professionals with firsthand knowledge of what you’ll need to succeed.
Institutions offering this comprehensive course in Pennsylvania include:
- Community College of Philadelphia
- Eastern Center for Arts and Technology (Willow Grove)
- Manor College (Jenkintown)
- Temple University (Ambler)
- Community College of Allegheny County (Pittsburgh)
- Lenape Tech (Ford City)
- Community College of Beaver County (Monaca)
- Millersville University (Millersville)
- Reading Area Community College (Reading)
- Central PA Institute of Science and Technology (Pleasant Gap)
Just insert your zip code to find freight broker/agent training near you.
Certification is an additional, optional step for freight brokers. Certificate holders go through additional coursework to demonstrate their knowledge and abilities. The most prized credential is the Certified Transportation Broker certificate from the Transportation Intermediates Association.
Earning Potential for New and Experienced Brokers
In Pennsylvania, the spectrum of annual income for freight brokers ranges from $14,000 to a whopping $162,000. The overall average is just under $60,000. These figures do not include income from broker commissions. Such commissions can provide you with $20,000 or more in added earning potential each year. New brokers usually start out with modest profits and increase their income over time.
Where to Establish Your Pennsylvania Freight Broker Business
Location can have a profound effect on your broker business. The highest earning brokers typically set up shop near manufacturing hubs. In Pennsylvania, the biggest of these hubs are Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie and Reading.