Skip to content

A Guide to Starting and Advancing Your Career in Freight Forwarding

Starting a career in freight forwarding can be an exciting and lucrative venture for individuals interested in the logistics industry. Whether you’re just beginning or seeking advancement opportunities, this guide will provide valuable insights on how to embark on a successful journey in freight forwarding.

How to Become a Freight Forwarder in the USA

If you aspire to become a freight forwarder in the USA, there are several steps you can take to kick-start your career:

Obtain Relevant Education: Consider pursuing a degree or certification program in logistics, supply chain management, or international trade. This will provide you with a solid foundation of knowledge and increase your employability.

Gain Practical Experience: Seek internships or entry-level positions in freight forwarding companies to gain hands-on experience. This will help you develop a deep understanding of industry operations, documentation, customs regulations, and customer service.

Acquire Industry Certifications: Enhance your credentials by obtaining certifications such as the Certified International Freight Forwarder (CIFF) or Certified Customs Specialist (CCS). These certifications demonstrate your expertise and commitment to professional growth.

Networking and Professional Associations: Join industry associations and attend networking events to connect with experienced professionals and stay updated on the latest trends. Organizations like the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) provide valuable networking opportunities and resources.

Starting a Career in Freight Forwarding

Here are some essential steps to launch your career in freight forwarding:

Research Companies: Conduct thorough research on freight forwarding companies to identify those aligned with your career goals and values. Look for companies that offer comprehensive training programs, mentorship opportunities, and a supportive work environment.

Craft a Standout Resume: Tailor your resume to highlight relevant skills such as knowledge of import/export regulations, proficiency in logistics software, and excellent communication abilities. Emphasize any previous experience or internships in the logistics or transportation industry.

Prepare for Interviews: Prioritize understanding the specific needs and challenges of the freight forwarding industry. Be prepared to showcase your problem-solving skills, adaptability, and ability to work well under pressure.

Seek Entry-Level Positions: Start your career by applying for entry-level positions such as freight coordinator or customer service representative. These roles provide valuable exposure to the day-to-day operations of freight forwarding and lay the foundation for career growth.

Advancing Your Career in Freight Forwarding

Once you’ve established your career in freight forwarding, here are some strategies to advance to higher positions:

Continuous Learning: Stay updated on industry trends, regulations, and advancements by attending seminars, workshops, and webinars. Consider pursuing advanced certifications to further expand your expertise.

Build a Strong Network: Cultivate relationships with industry professionals, colleagues, and mentors who can provide guidance and open doors to new opportunities. Join online forums and LinkedIn groups to connect with like-minded individuals.

Develop Leadership Skills: Take on additional responsibilities and projects that allow you to demonstrate your leadership potential. Seek opportunities to manage teams, develop strategies, and contribute to the growth of your organization.

Consider Specialization: Identify areas of interest within freight forwarding, such as customs compliance, hazardous materials, or perishable goods. Becoming a specialist in a niche area can open doors to more challenging and rewarding roles.

Earning Potential in the Freight Forwarding Industry

While salaries in the freight forwarding industry can vary based on factors like experience, location, and company size, professionals in this field can earn a competitive income. According to industry data, the average annual salary for a freight forwarder in the USA ranges from $40,000 to $80,000, depending on the level of experience and expertise.


Embarking on a career in freight forwarding offers a world of opportunities for individuals passionate about logistics and international trade. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can start your journey in the industry, progress to higher positions, and enjoy a fulfilling and prosperous career.

Remember, success in freight forwarding requires continuous learning, adaptability, and a passion for providing excellent customer service. Whether you’re just starting or seeking advancement, the key is to remain committed to professional growth and stay informed about the latest industry developments.