The transportation sector is growing rapidly, and it's a career field that military veterans should keep their eyes on. Recently, the U.S. Departments of Transportation, Education, and Labor released a joint report on the industry that stated that the industry added 417,000 skilled and semi-skilled job openings from 2012 to 2014, and needed to train and hire 4.6 million new workers over that time alone.
When considering jobs in the transportation sector, it's important to realize how broad it is in terms of different types of jobs, which can include construction, general office clerks, and airline pilots. Furthermore, certain job areas within the transportation sector are expected to grow faster than others.
Below we look at the top 10 jobs according to this report as ranked by projected job openings. We also compare this with current Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected growth and median income, so you can best target the jobs that interest you and meet your budget goals.
Top 10 Transportation Industry Jobs, Based on Growth
1. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers
(1.23 million job openings per the report; Growth of 5% and Median Salary of $40,260 per BLS)
If you enjoy driving trucks and transporting goods, this job may be for you. It can be a major lifestyle change, and you should consider the amount of time spent away from home. The job requires a commercial driver's license, and most heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers have a high school diploma before attending professional truckdriving school.
2. School or special client bus drivers
(330,700 job openings per the report; Growth of 0.9% and Median Salary of $29,490 per BLS)
Another job for those of you that like driving, but here you would be transporting students or clients such as the elderly or persons with disabilities. This is also a job that does not require an advanced education.
3. Laborers and freight, stock and material movers
(264,210 job openings per the report; Growth of 5% and Median Salary of $24,090 per BLS)
If you like to have a physical job, consider this route. This job may require moving materials, feeding materials to machines, cleaning vehicles, and more. Some workers are required to work night shifts, especially those in warehousing. You will not be required to have an advanced education.
4. Transit and inner-city bus drivers
(200,530 job openings per the report; Growth of 6% and Median Salary of $30,950 per BLS)
Many of us are familiar with the jobs of bus drivers, so you should know what you are getting into here. This job field can include regular bus routes, or chartered trips and sightseeing tours. As with any driving job, it can be dangerous because of street accidents. To pursue a job as a bus driver, you must obtain a commercial driver’s license. You will likely be required to have a clean driving record and may be required to pass a background check. In addition, bus drivers often need a high school diploma or the equivalent.
5. Taxi drivers and chauffeurs
(194,110 job openings per the report; Growth of 1.4% and Median Salary of $23,510 per BLS)
Here you get to drive limousines, vans, or other automobiles to transport passengers. The job category includes hearse drivers, and does not require advanced education.
6. Highway maintenance workers
(141,010 job openings per the report; Growth of 1.2% and Median Salary of $36,930 per BLS)
Another laborious job, here you would maintain highways, roads, runways, and more. The job might entail clearing roads and plowing snow, and does not require an advanced degree.
7. Flight attendants
(96,210 job openings per the report; Growth of 2% and Median Salary of $44,680 per BLS)
You've likely interacted with a flight attendant and are familiar with the duties of this job. Just remember that you would also be required to respond to emergencies to ensure safe travel, work odd hours and even on holidays, and be away from home for days at a time.
Flight attendants must be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). You should have a valid passport and a high school diploma to qualify for this job, though some airlines prefer employees to have taken at least some college courses.
8. Construction laborers
(89,990 job openings per the report; Growth of 13% and Median Salary of $30,890 per BLS)
This is a very physically demanding job. It can also be dangerous, as you work at great heights and in all weather conditions. Formal education is not typically required.
9. Bus and truck mechanics and diesel engine specialists
(86,850 job openings per the report; Growth of 12% and Median Salary of $44,520 per BLS)
In this job you may inspect, repair, and overhaul buses and trucks, or maintain and repair any type of diesel engine. The job can be noisy, and may involve work on roadsides or at worksites. Overtime and evening shifts can be common. A high school degree is normal, and employers increasingly prefer applicants who have completed postsecondary training programs in diesel engine repair. Industry certification can also be important for diesel technicians.
(85,450 job openings per the report; Growth of -3% and Median Salary of $38,010 per BLS)
This was interestingly the only job category that had a negative projected growth per BLS, but positive job openings projected per the report. It will be and interesting one to watch and see which direction it goes.
If you want to pursue this career path, you may be a police, fire, or ambulance dispatcher, where your job would be to answer emergency and nonemergency calls. You would be required to be available around the clock, including on weekends and holiday. A high school diploma is often required, and some states require dispatchers to become certified.