By the time most people get to work in the morning, they have benefited from the hard work of professionals in the transportation industry. Yet, many probably have no idea how much they depend on these workers. Sure, if you take a bus for your morning commute, you're aware of the driver. But transportation workers are responsible for much more than just getting you to work each day.
According to the most recent data available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for transportation workers is expected to increase for truck and bus drivers and air transportation workers.
This growth can be attributed to its interconnectedness to other industries. For example, in December 2010, new building permits increased 16.7 percent. As construction of new homes and buildings rises, demand for transportation and delivery workers will grow.
For most positions you need a strong driving record, a commercial driver's license and in some cases, the physical ability to handle large cargo. The requirements for airline workers include a certain amount of flight experience and training.
If you enjoy being behind the wheel of a truck or bus, or even a ship or aircraft, the transportation industry could the right opportunity for you.
Jobs to consider
If you're thinking about making a career move, here are some positions that you should watch in the transportation industry:
1. Airline worker
Because most passengers consider airplanes as an alternative to taking a motorized vehicle or train between two cities, they might not realize that airline workers are part of the transportation industry. Yet, pilots are responsible for moving passengers from one location to another in the same way a bus driver is, albeit for a farther distance. Meanwhile, flight attendants make sure the trip is safe and enjoyable, which is a luxury you don't have on your morning bus ride. Freight airline pilots fly cargo instead of passengers, and their destinations can be domestic or international.
Salary: Pilot: $105,802; Flight attendant: $35,850 *
- Find Airline Worker Jobs
2. Bus driver
Bus drivers move thousands of citizens to their destinations every day. Never are they more appreciated than during the morning and evening rush hours, when you can read your book while angry motorists are gridlocked and honking their horns. They operate throughout the day, however, giving passengers a ride to the grocery store, gym or home.
- Find Bus Driver Jobs
3. Material mover
The job title "material mover" entails a variety of professions, such as crane operators and forklift operators. Crane and tower operators move gravel and large objects at construction sites. Forklift operators typically transport items within a warehouse or factory site. These large-scale items often include components (e.g., steel beams, pallets of wood) that are later transported to construction sites.
- Find Material Mover Jobs
4. Railroad transportation
Depending on their specialization, railroad transportation workers move people or cargo from one location to another. Passenger trains are used in lieu of planes, buses or cars to commute from one city to another. Cargo trains move large amounts of material, such as coal and salt, or heavy objects, including manufacturing components.
5. Truck driver
Truck drivers might be the first transportation worker you think about because you see them driving down your streets, delivering supplies to your local grocery stores, restaurants and retail stores. Some truck drivers work within neighboring cities, but others transport items (such as automobiles) between states, often requiring them to be gone for days or even weeks at a time. With automobile production surging in 2010, as the big car companies recovered from their 2008 slump, experts think this year could help truck drivers increase their workloads.
- Find Truck Driver Jobs
* Salary data based on average salary figures provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and CBSalary.com.