20 Best Paying Jobs in Transportation in 2023

Best Paying Jobs in Transportation

The transportation sector is divided into numerous subsectors, such as logistics, air, and express delivery, freight rail, trucking, and maritime.

The industry determines how quickly products go from manufacturing to the market. Even though it moves 71% of all freight in the United States and is valued at an estimated $800 billion, the trucking sector is one of the promising sectors.

Despite being an $8.9 trillion business, occupations in transportation are typically not among the highest paid.

The average hourly wage for a transportation worker, according to Zippia’s analysis, is $30, which is still above average.

However, with so many varied career prospects in all four modes of transportation (water, air, rail, and road), as well as pay ranges from $30,000 to $150,000, it may be difficult to make a decision.

This article provides insights on the benefits of a career in transportation, the best paying jobs, and how to land yourself a job in this industry.

Why Choose Transportation? 

People who prefer to experiment, work as a team, and see the results of their effort in the real world may seek professions in transportation. 

Careers in logistics and transportation offer the chance to work in a vibrant sector that is expanding. These occupations frequently offer a fast-paced setting with a variety of daily responsibilities and difficulties. 

Furthermore, transportation careers need a lot of labor, and each day may bring a different difficulty. For instance, workers in the transportation industry may deal with difficulties like bad weather.

You may utilize your problem-solving abilities to find a solution in these circumstances that strikes a balance between efficiency and safety. 

In addition, transport jobs may offer other benefits such as paid vacation days, health insurance, bonuses, and sick days leave.

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What are the Different Types of Transportation Jobs? If any exists

Transportation is one of the most massive industries in the world, and it steadily keeps growing. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be a 28% increase within some sub-sectors in the industry. This means that there will be plenty of new jobs for people who have indicated an interest in the transportation industry.

Also, the transformation sector offers a wide range of career opportunities for different skill levels, preferred schedules, interests, and abilities.

The different types of transportation jobs that are the best paying include:

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Transportation Jobs That Require Actual Traveling 

  • Truck Drivers
  • Locomotive Drivers
  • Ship Captain
  • Airline and Commercial Pilots 
  • Transportation Mechanics
  • Marine Cargo Inspectors
  • Bus Drivers

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Transportation Jobs That Are Behind the Scene

  • Long Share Workers
  • Delivery Truck Dispatchers 
  • Train Mechanics

Cargo and Freights Movements Agents 

  • Freight Brokers 
  • Freight Forwarders
  • Cargo Inspectors 
  • Supply-Chain analyst

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The Benefits of a Career in Transportation

Transportation is also one of the most important industries in our economy and the world at large. Without the transportation industry, we wouldn’t be able to commute or deliver goods from one destination to another.

Since the industry is diverse and lucrative, considering a career in one of its sub-sectors is a good choice. 

To enable you to make the right choice, let us examine the benefits of a career in the transportation industry.

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Acquisition of new skills

There is always something new to learn thanks to the ongoing technological developments in the transportation industry.

Numerous professions additionally call for you to obtain particular certificates; these are chances for you to push yourself to try new things and develop technical skills.

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Non-standard timetable

You must be willing to work shifts outside of regular business hours for many transportation-related occupations. 

For instance, working midnight shifts may be necessary for transportation jobs including warehouse operations and moving freight.

The flexible timetable enables you to travel around the world, learn and adapt to the cultures of different countries and also spend time with family and friends.

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Job security

Businesses frequently need to transport products and goods, and most people have places they need to go. Because of this, a job in the transportation sector is quite secure. 

Additionally, this sector presents several chances for development and improvement, thus enhancing your work stability.

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Possibility for development

You have access to many transportation-related organizations that offer career advancement opportunities. 

You can learn new skills, hone leadership qualities, and push yourself to seek promotions in these challenging workplaces. 

For instance, you might begin your job as a forklift operator but later learn the abilities to work your way up to become a distribution manager or warehouse supervisor.

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How Many Jobs are Available in the Transportation Field?

The transport industry is one of the most diverse and rapidly growing industries in the world today. However, with technological advancements, there is no specific number of jobs made available but a constant increase in job opportunities.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry is projected to grow by 6% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. 

This means that there are several job opportunities for those who want to enter the transportation industry.

Some of the jobs available in the transportation industry are as follows

  • Supply-Chain Manager
  • Truck Drivers
  • Air Traffic Controllers
  • Flight Attendants
  • Airline and Commercial Pilots
  • Railroad Workers
  • Civil Engineers
  • Marine Cargo Inspector
  • Subway Train Operators
  • Automotive Service Technician

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20 Best Paying Jobs in Transportation in 2023

The best paying transportation jobs can bring in significant yearly salaries and fantastic retirement benefits. 

Roads, waterways, and the air all fall under the transportation category. In other words, there are numerous employment options in the transportation industry.

You must be prepared to work sporadic hours and be methodical while adhering to regulations and guidelines to complete job obligations and satisfy industry standards if you want to succeed in the transportation business.

Are you wondering what are the best paying jobs in the transportation industry? Here’s a list of the 20 best paying jobs in transportation in 2023.

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#1. Highway Maintenance Worker 

To ensure road safety, Highway maintenance workers ensure the safety of roads for travel.

They maintain all forms of highway including airport runways, rural roads, Highways etcetera.

They do all these by patching up potholes and repairing guardrails.

Average salary: $159,624.

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#2. Subway Train Operator

Similar to being a bus driver, a subway train operator is a driver for trains along the same route transporting people via the subway.

Average salary: $145,383.

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#3. Helicopter Pilot 

A helicopter pilot is specifically trained to pilot a helicopter, delivering goods or people to set locations; they could also be used privately since they are smaller and can cover shorter distances more efficiently.

Average salary: $100,934.

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#5. Pilot 

These are trained and licensed pilots, their job includes the safety of passengers and the goods they deliver.

They also work with air traffic control to ensure safety, they perform routine plane checks, and fuel capacity and pay close attention to weather conditions so as to adapt accordingly.

Average salary: $87,912.

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#6. Supply Chain Analyst

The job of the supply chain analyst is to monitor the supply chain of companies, pricing, and demand of products, they also monitor the logistics.

This job requires a sense of mathematics and analytical skills, it is also one of the best paying jobs in this field.

Average salary: $84,927.

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#7. Flight Attendants

Flight attendants’ job description is to serve and ensure the safety of flight passengers.

They perform all safety checks, perform preflight plane inspections, and teach passengers how to use provided plane equipment and emergency kit.

Average salary: $80,731.

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#8. Marine Underwriters

If you are interested in analysis and numbers then being a marine underwriter might just be the job for you.

They work for insurance companies, specialized with the insurance of aquatic transport.

Average salary: $80,137.

#9. Transportation Engineers 

A branch of civil engineering whose main focus is on the construction of bridges, roads, railways, and every other structure necessary for transportation.

They are familiar with the terrain and create structures that function properly in said terrain.

Average salary: $70,710.

#10. Aircraft Mechanic 

Aircraft mechanics work to ensure the flight worthiness of a plane, they are in charge of routine checks and fixes.

This requires in-depth knowledge about planes and their parts.

Average salary: $69,102.

#11. Bus Drivers

These are simply a larger form of transportation when compared to taxi drivers, they allow for more passengers and might cover more distance. They also often work for companies and agencies that transport their workers. 

They may also carry out interstate travel for a few hours.

Average salary: $60,816.

#12. Taxi Drivers

Your primary duties involve transporting people from one place to another usually within a set destination within a city or town.

Taxi drivers or chauffeurs can also be used as private vehicles for hire.

Average salary: $49,060.

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#13. Deckhand

 A Deckhand’s duties are dependent on what’s assigned to them, they range from ship maintenance, cleaning, or assistance.

If you’re a fan of the sea and can withstand the seasickness then it’s the job for you

Average salary: $44,434 annually.

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#14. Construction worker 

Do you feel like you’re up for a physical challenge? Then a job as a construction worker might just be it for you.

They complete tasks on construction sites like loading and unloading building materials, operating construction equipment and transporting dangerous equipment to the site.

Average salary: $43,391

#15. Car Detailer

An entry-level job in the transportation field requires knowledge of cars and the most efficient way to clean them without causing damage.

It requires no formal education. 

Average salary: $43,244

#16. Diesel Engine Mechanic 

As a diesel engine mechanic, your primary duties are to check and manage diesel-powered vehicles, repair, and troubleshoot with a checklist of critical parts that might need changing.

In some situations, there is an entire overhaul if needed.

Average Salary: $30.16 per hour

#17. Dispatcher 

Quite similar to the couriers, they serve to deliver packages between locations through coordination, they also can act as liaisons between parties interested in business or want to remain anonymous.

Average salary: $37,000

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#18. Material handlers

They work with freight or stock; they handle the loading and unloading of goods to be transported.

They also move materials back and forth to the warehouses for shipment.

Average salary: $30 per hour.

#19. Courier

As a courier, they serve to deliver packages across locations, this job is quite reliant on the kind of courier you choose to be.

Some deliver food, documents, shoes and wear, and gems or jewelry for licensed couriers 

Average salary: $37,778.

#20. Traffic Engineers

As a traffic engineer, your job includes traffic control, picking a location for new roads if needed, you also decide the interval of traffic lights to ensure smooth movements for every road user including pedestrians.

Average salary: $25,251.

How to Get a Job in Transportation 

Are you interested in pursuing a career in transportation? There is an abundance of transportation jobs made available.

Since job applicants usually experience difficulty in getting a job in transportation, here are some ways to help you get a job in this field.

Complete all educational requirements 

All jobs within the transportation sector have specific educational requirements. To ensure you have a fair shot at getting the job position, make sure you have the stipulated educational requirement according to the job’s description.

While entry-level jobs require high school diplomas or General Education Development (GED), other technical jobs may require a bachelor’s and master’s degree with the necessary license to practice legally.

In your resume, emphasize your experience with transportation

The majority of transportation professions require skilled people. Although there are many entry-level jobs available, you must, at the very least, demonstrate to hiring managers that you have the abilities required for the position.

For instance, a Class A or B driver’s license, a clean driving record, and a high school diploma may be requirements for truck drivers. Make sure to include these qualifications in your cover letter and CV if they are listed in the job offer.

Don’t worry if you lack any relevant work experience. If you prove you’re a trustworthy, hard-working individual, most companies will train you. Just highlight your experiences that relate to the position, even if it’s in your education or skill sections.

Get to Know Your Target Company

Researching a little bit before applying will benefit you in two key ways:

1) It will assist you in creating cover letters and resumes that are more suited to the position, which should result in more interviews.

2) You will have more knowledge about who employs the most transportation personnel.

With this information in hand, you’ll make a stronger impression on employers. After all, hiring managers are swarmed with applications every day, and the vast majority of these candidates don’t take the time to read about the company. They send a generic, one-size-fits-all application and these applications usually end up in the trash can.

The Skills Required for a Career in Transportation 

Having a degree or professional certification in logistics, supply chain management, physics, or transportation-related courses and the required skills will open the door to a rewarding and challenging career in an ever-evolving and fast-paced industry

So what are the skills job applicants should possess when considering a career in the transportation industry?

  • Knowledge of the transformation industry
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Collaborative skills
  • Leadership skills
  • IT knowledge
  • Analytical skills
  • Communication skills
  • Adaptability
  • Ability to focus
  • Technical skills
  • Organizational skills 
  • Flexibility

What if You Don’t Have a Degree?

Transportation may provide an interesting career path. While some transportation careers require a high school diploma, bachelor’s, or master’s degree, other transportation careers require training received through a trade school or on-the-job training.

Some of the job positions that require no degree include

  • Flight Attendants
  • Air Traffic Controller
  • Transportation Inspector
  • Commercial Pilot
  • Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Manager
  • Aircraft Mechanic and Service Technician
  • Water Transportation Worker
  • First-line Supervisor
  • Taxi Cab Drivers
  • Delivery Truck Drivers

How Much Do Transportation Jobs Pay?

With the numerous and fulfilling job opportunities, the transportation sector has a good job and salary outlook which is reported by BLS to grow steadily within the coming years.

Since transportation services are essential, the industry provides well-paying jobs with different salary prospects. The pay rate is usually influenced by certain factors such as age, location, work experience, and educational background.

Some job positions and their pay rates are as follows

  • Civil Engineer -$76,000
  • Aircraft Mechanic – $53,000
  • Automotive Service Technician – $46,000
  • Highway Maintenance – $36,000
  • Marine Cargo Inspector – $47,000
  • Helicopter Pilot – $100,000
  • Cargo Agents – $33,000
  • Airplane Pilot – $103,000
  • Transportation Engineer – $65,000
  • Subway Train Operator – $39,000
  • Airworthiness Safety Inspector – $55,000
  • Supply Chain Analyst – $65,000
  • Transportation Security Officer – $33,000

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top companies in the transportation industry?

Some of the top companies in the transportation industry include UPS, FedEx, DHL, J.B Hunt, and Old Dominion Freight Line

How much does a helicopter pilot earn?

A helicopter pilot earns about $100,000 annually.

What jobs can you get with a degree in transportation?

Jobs such as purchasing manager, consultant, supply-chain manager, analyst, and logistics manager require a degree.

How many years does it take to study logistics?

It takes about 3 years to study logistics.


The transportation industry is one of the most important sectors in the world. It provides job opportunities for drivers, mechanics, engineers, and other transportation workers. 

The transportation industry is always diversifying, and new technologies have made it possible to convey goods and people using different methods which will always be essential in our day-to-day life.


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