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Transportation Manager Career

How to Become a Transportation Manager

Do you have an interest in the transportation industry? Have you ever thought about a future career as a transportation manager? These professionals ensure that transportation operations are conducted safely, efficiently, and cost-effectively. The value of a transportation manager cannot be understated because they bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to organizations, resulting in smoother transportation processes and improved bottom lines.  
Keep reading to learn more and start your journey as a successful transportation manager. 

What Is a Transportation Manager?

supply chain manager

A transportation manager is a crucial player in the field of transportation logistics. They oversee and coordinate the movement of people, goods, and vehicles from one location to another. They ensure that operations run efficiently and effectively by monitoring delivery schedules, optimizing routes, and managing personnel and resources. A transportation manager is well-versed in the technical aspects of transportation, including regulations and safety requirements, and is skilled in strategic planning and problem-solving. With an eye for detail and a dedication to customer satisfaction, a transportation manager's role is vital in ensuring that goods and people get to where they need to go safely and on time.

What Does a Transportation Manager Do?

The daily responsibilities of a transportation manager can vary depending on the size and type of company they work for. However, there are some typical duties that all transportation managers must perform, such as:

  • Ensuring that goods are delivered on time and in good condition
  • Investigating lost packages and shipments
  • Communicating with production managers
  • Writing policies for handling transportation issues and delayed shipments
  • Developing and implementing efficient routes for vehicles
  • Ensuring that all vehicles are properly serviced and repaired
  • Training drivers and transportation team members
  • Monitoring compliance with safety regulations
  • Overseeing budgeting and financial planning for the transportation department
  • Analyzing information about delivery times and expenses to minimize future costs 

How Do I Become a Transportation Manager?

If you're considering a career path in transportation management, there are steps you can take to achieve this goal. Firstly, earning a bachelor's degree in a relevant field such as business, logistics, or supply chain management can provide a solid foundation of knowledge and skills. Additionally, acquiring experience in the transportation industry through internships or entry-level roles can give you valuable insight into how transportation management works. Obtaining certifications such as the Certified Transportation Manager (CTM) designation can also demonstrate your expertise and commitment to the field. Lastly, networking with professionals in the industry and staying up to date with industry trends can further enhance your career prospects as a transportation manager. 

Best Degrees for a Transportation Manager

Finance – B.S.

This online finance program is career-focused so you will gain...

This online finance program is career-focused so...

This online finance program is career-focused so you will gain relevant industry skills.

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish similar programs within 42 months.
  • Tuition: $3,575 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 41 courses in this program.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Financial analyst
  • Finance director 
  • Investment banker
  • Insurance agent
  • Accountant

The competency-based model at WGU allows you to move as quickly as you can master the material, and do your coursework on your schedule. Flexibility is key with the B.S. in finance at WGU.

Supply Chain and Operations Management – B.S.

This online supply chain and operations management program will...

This online supply chain and operations...

This online supply chain and operations management program will prepare you for real-world experiences in business.

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish similar programs within 42 months.
  • Tuition: $3,575 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 41 courses in this program.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Operations Manager
  • Facilities Manager
  • Industrial Production Manager
  • Distribution Manager 
  • Buyer/Purchasing Agent
  • Project Management Specialist

With incredible growth opportunities in supply chain and operations management, this program helps prepare student to meet industry needs and become credentialed experts.

Business Management – B.S. Business Administration

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:...

Hone your business acumen and garner added...

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:

  • Time: 68% of graduates finish within 36 months.
  • Tuition: $3,755 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Account executive
  • Business analyst
  • Program manager
  • Director or senior director
  • Vice president

This online degree program is an excellent choice for kick-starting your organizational management career.

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What Skills Does a Transportation Manager Need?

logistics buyer at work

A transportation manager needs a variety of skills, most notably:

  • Strong organization: Transportation managers must be able to keep track of multiple moving parts and ensure that everything is in place for a seamless delivery process. Strong organizational skills allow transportation managers to streamline operations, minimize delays, and reduce costs.
  • Effective communication: Transportation managers need to communicate effectively with drivers, customers, vendors, and various internal teams, among others. They must communicate clearly to coordinate pickup, delivery, and transportation schedules while ensuring that all parties are aware of any updates.
  • Problem-solving: Whether it be an issue with a specific vehicle or a larger problem with the flow of transportation, a transportation manager must be able to identify and diagnose problems that arise within the system. They must also be able to formulate strategies and solutions to address problems in a timely manner.
  • Negotiation: Transportation managers must find common ground with carriers, shippers, and consignees for the benefit of all parties. Additionally, a transportation manager skilled in negotiation can help a company save money by negotiating lower rates and ensuring timely delivery of goods.
  • Time management: With many shipments destined for different locations, shipments being received almost every other hour, drivers and shippers to coordinate, and a host of other logistics-related matters, the transportation manager must be able to handle competing priorities and complete them in good time. 
  • People management: Transportation managers require a deep understanding of human behavior in a professional setting. It is the responsibility of the transportation manager to display excellent leadership skills, including the ability to handle conflicts and motivate employees to meet business objectives. 
  • Financial management: A successful transportation manager must be able to anticipate expenses and revenue, balance budgets, and create sustainable financial models that can withstand economic fluctuations. 
  • Collaboration: Transportation managers must be able to work collaboratively with a variety of stakeholders. This includes communicating regularly with drivers, dispatchers, and logistics coordinators as well as liaising with suppliers, clients, and government agencies. By fostering positive relationships with all of these groups, transportation managers can help to streamline operations, reduce costs, and improve overall customer satisfaction. 
  • Attention to detail: As a transportation manager, any small oversight or mistake can have significant consequences. From ensuring that the right cargo is loaded onto the correct truck to double-checking delivery addresses, every detail matters. Furthermore, transportation managers must also pay attention to regulatory compliance and safety regulations. 

How Much Does a Transportation Manager Make?


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for transportation, storage, and distribution managers is $98,560. However, the exact salary for a transportation manager will depend on factors such as geographic location, level of experience, and type of industry.  

What Is the Job Outlook for a Transportation Manager?


As our world becomes increasingly connected, the job of a transportation manager is becoming even more critical. The job outlook for this profession is quite promising, with the BLS projecting a 28% growth rate through 2031. Given the expanding global economy and the need for efficient transportation solutions, it's clear that the demand for transportation managers will continue to increase in the years to come.

Where Does a Transportation Manager Work?


This management role can be found in many industries, including shipping, trucking, and public transit. A transportation manager may work in an office environment where they will create schedules budgets and maintain accurate records. They may also spend time on the road, monitoring routes and ensuring that drivers follow regulations.

Interested in Becoming a Transportation Manager?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this lucrative career.

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