How Do I Become a Cargo Supervisor?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 May 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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A cargo supervisor is responsible for organizing the loading and unloading of an airplane, boat, or other vehicle. He or she must have a solid understanding of weight distribution characteristics for a certain type of craft, as well as moderate to advanced math skills. In order to become a cargo supervisor, you will first need to complete a high school education. You may be able to obtain a position in this area with just a high school education, but a college education is usually preferred if you want to become a cargo supervisor.

If college is not an option for you, or if you feel like you are ready for additional commitments, you can join certain branches of the military in order to become a cargo supervisor. You will learn the skills necessary to perform the necessary job functions with on the job training. More experienced supervisors will teach you the skills and techniques, and you will have plenty of opportunity to practice these techniques in live situations. Additional military applications may be part of the training if you want to become a cargo supervisor; you may, for example, need to learn how to secure cargo for transport as well as for drops from airplanes, and possibly even how to coordinate drops of materials and people from airplanes.


College degree or certificate programs can prepare you to become a cargo supervisor as well. Much of the coursework will focus on aircraft functions and load characteristics, as well as math and science courses that can prepare you to properly calculate weight limits and load distributions. A bachelor's degree in unrelated areas may still qualify you to become a cargo supervisor, but you should be prepared to spend several years as a loader who works under the command of a more experienced cargo supervisor.

Regardless of your qualifications, you are highly likely to start in the industry as a loader rather than as a supervisor. This job requires significant skill, so you can gain experience by working as a loader who can learn from an immediate supervisor. There is no set amount of time that you will need to spend as a loader before you can become a cargo supervisor; people who learn quickly and demonstrate exceptional ability to take on important tasks may move up on the career ladder more quickly than others, but there are no promotion guarantees.



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