Is Air Freight Delivery Services A Good Career Path

By: Jill Caren / Published: / Updated:

In 2022, U.S. commercial air carriers reported about 20.83 billion domestic cargo revenue ton-miles. This is the largest amount reported to date and is expected to only continue to grow.

This means more cargo and mail are being shipped by air every year. Workers like you are needed to keep these deliveries moving.

Key Takeaways:

  • Air freight delivery services are a solid choice for a career path due to the above-average job growth in air cargo transportation services.
  • The air freight industry offers well-paying jobs for those that have only a high school diploma or GED.
  • There are a variety of job opportunities in air freight services for all skill levels.

Many of these deliveries may include non-durable consumer goods, which is actually another good career path you should check out. Without workers to transport these goods, we would not have a lot of what we need in our daily lives.

air freight delivery services

Is air freight/delivery services a good career path

Yes, air freight delivery services are a very good career path due to the continued growth in the sector and the need for workers. With wages that are livable and good benefits in most positions, the opportunities make it possible to have a comfortable life.

There is a large variety of career types in the industry for everyone from blue-collar workers to those that prefer office work, making it a good option for so many job-seekers.

Pros and Cons Of Working In Air Freight Delivery Services

All jobs have them. Things workers love, things workers hate.

Careers in air freight delivery are no different. So, let’s get started with the pros of working in air freight delivery services:

  • No formal education is needed for many of the jobs available. A few jobs might require a certification or maybe vocational school, but most do not require advanced degrees.
  • Advancement opportunities are available for those that work hard and provide value to the employer. You are only limited by your own performance or lack of continued education and learning.

Now on to the cons of working in the industry:

  • Some jobs might require quite a bit of strength and be tough on the body. This might include air cargo handlers or aircraft loadmaster positions.
  • Scheduling can be chaotic as you will have to work when the deliveries need to be made. This might mean weekends or nights for both manual work and those in the office.

Careers In Air Freight Delivery Services

If college is not your thing, there is plenty of jobs for you in the air freight sector.

Below are some of the most common jobs (with a brief job description) that require either no education after high school or may require some type of certification.

The one trait all of these jobs will require are good communication skills. Whether you are handling customer relationship management or talking to coworkers, you will need to be able to work as part of a team.

If you are looking for jobs that are better for introverts, these would not be it!

Air Cargo Handlers or Handling Supervisors

Cargo handlers require some pretty strong people because you will be loading and unloading the cargo that is being delivered. This includes incoming and outgoing freight.

Standing for long periods of time is also common, so be ready. They may also need to get certified to operate vehicles like forklifts. An average annual salary for an air cargo handler is roughly $42,000.

Cargo handling supervisors will manage the process of loading and unloading shipments that are brought in by airplanes. They will also be responsible for all staffing and security and may sometimes act as part of the in-flight crew to keep track of the cargo.

Only a high school diploma or GED is required to be a cargo supervisor. Most cargo supervisors do start out at a lower level before being promoted to supervisor.

Salaries as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics range from $38,830 up to $82,450 annually. Education, experience, and location will greatly impact salaries. Non-supervisory roles will pay a bit less than this range.

Aircraft Load Masters

These are the people that are responsible for making sure the cargo is placed on the plane properly. This means abiding by any rules regarding weight, load restrictions, and making sure everything is balanced properly.

In some cases, a loadmaster will fly with the cargo to ensure it gets to its destination safely.

Cargo Agent – $46,910 median annual wage

A cargo agent (or sometimes they are called cargo and freight agents) will work with customers to manage the entire process of shipping. This might include arranging for the pickup of the freight and getting it loaded on the platform. Manage and review all taxes, shipping charges, and bills of lading.

They might work for airlines or freight delivery services. They might do their jobs from an office, in warehouse facilities, or even at shipping locations. Cargo agents can also work with trains and trucking companies as well as deal with air freight.

Freight Logistics operations manager

Freight logistics operations workers are responsible for the entire supply chain of a company. Working on air logistics is only one part of the job, they often will work with shipping, trains, and trucking as well.

They will handle the full life cycles of products from purchasing to transporting and warehousing.

With a median salary of $77,000 and an expected 30% growth in job opportunities, this is one of the best-paying jobs with a lot of security. While some companies do ask for a college degree, many workers in this position do not have one.

Flight Operations

The cargo cannot move without people to help the plane to get where it is going safely. As a flight operations specialist you will be a part of an airline’s flight operations. This might include and are all of the following:

  • Flight plans
  • Route planning
  • Weather monitoring
  • Acquiring necessary permits
  • Hiring and training pilots
  • Making sure the aircraft is safe to fly by contacting the appropriate service team like a line service technician
  • Act as liaison and admin to travel teams

There is no formal data on an average salary, but positions that were available at the time of this writing were in the $49,000-$75,000 annually. Some jobs did note they preferred a Bachelor’s degree, but some noted experience was more important.

Freight Forwarder

As an airline freight forwarder, you would be responsible for making sure the entire transportation process is seamless.

This means making sure all of the following happen:

  • Pricing is negotiated and approved
  • All parties involved are communicated with on status and arrangements
  • Ensuring insurance is in place
  • Creating a transit plan that safely transports products from point A to point B
  • Make sure the receiving warehouse is ready for the arrival of the delivery
  • Preparing all the necessary paperwork and documents

No degree is required and most freight forwarders do the job with a high school diploma. Freight forwarders might work for an airline or an air freight company.

Estimated salaries can range from about $39,000 to $73,000 annually. Actual salaries will depend on the level of experience and location. Salaries are based on data from various employment websites like Indeed.com, Salary.com, and Glassdoor.

Freight Broker

Freight brokers will act as a representative of companies to buy and sell air freight on their behalf. They will work to negotiate rates on behalf of their client and will monitor and track the shipments. When issues arise, they will be the contact person to address them.

We noted above that a freight forwarder will do the shipping, but some companies prefer to use a broker instead.

While a freight broker secures freight solutions they will not have any responsibility for actually handling the freight.

Only a freight forwarder will actually take possession of the freight.

While no official education is required to be a freight broker, there are a few requirements to become a freight broker.

The median annual salary for a freight broker is roughly $47,170 as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Being a self-employed freight broker can be much more lucrative.

If you are not sure if this path is right for you, check out some of our other career path guides:

Frequently Asked Questions

Jill Caren
Jill Caren

Jill Caren is a self-taught web developer and SEO strategist with a passion for helping kids figure out a career plan. As a "lost" teen who found her way later in life, she hopes to help other teens know the many options that are out there for them! Jill can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.