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What are the Different Transportation Careers?

By Ken Black
Updated May 17, 2024
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Transportation careers cover a wide variety of jobs from the operation of various types of equipment and mechanical repair, to office personnel, and those who oversee the equipment and its movement. The job involves moving people or objects from one location to another in the most efficient manner possible. Some transportation careers pay well, but others may only be useful for supplemental income when there is another wage earner in the household.

Operators make up a great portion of those in transportation careers. These are the truck drivers, taxi drivers, ship's captains, airline pilots and train engineers. Nearly all these jobs will take some type of special training, though the level of training will vary based on the complexity of the vehicle being operated. Any transportation career involving these jobs could possibly require long hours away from home, or even outside of one's home country.

Careers in transportation also include transportation logistics careers. These are those people in the office involved in dispatch and scheduling. If a call comes in, for example, for a truck driver to perform a pickup of freight at a certain location, it will need to be relayed to the driver. This is usually done through a radio or computer network, though cell phones may also be used. Transportation careers in logistics often involve regular shifts, with others taking over in operations that run over multiple shifts or 24 hours. Those in logistics may also be responsible for handling much of the paperwork a driver brings in.

Air traffic control is one of those transportation careers that may be considered very similar to logistics, albeit a little more technical in nature. The job of a controller is to safely guide planes while on the ground and in the air. This is often a job that requires more than one person to complete, ranging from the tower controllers at airports to the radar controllers at FAA air traffic control centers. The goal is to make sure the aircraft being directed finds a safe and efficient route to its destination, while avoiding other aircraft. Often, a pilot will deal with several air traffic controllers during the course of a flight over great distances.

There are also transportation directors for transit systems and private transit systems. These individuals are responsible for scheduling drivers, planning routes, making adjustments to those routes when needed, and being there to handle any customer service issues. This person will also be responsible for hiring and supervising both drivers and logistics personnel. Those in this position will often have a degree in the business field, as well as experience in the industry.

Further, there are the mechanics, who are responsible for repairing any broken down machinery. Some mechanics may specialize in routine maintenance, while more experienced mechanics may do the highly technical repairs. As a team, the goal is to keep the vehicles running as long and as safely as possible.

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