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Opportunities in Transportation, Distribution and Logistics

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Date: 
Monday, December 16, 2019
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Opportunities in Transportation, Distribution, & Logistics (TDL)

Iowa Career Pathways

This project was completed by the Iowa Department of Education, in support of the Future Ready Iowa Initiative, through a public/private collaboration with the Iowa Department of Transportation, Iowa Motor Truck Association, APICS-Central Iowa, and Iowa Wholesale Beer Distributors Association. Special thanks to Western Iowa Tech Community College, Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART), Iowa Central Community College, Iowa Beverage, Dohrn Transfer Company, Iowa Workforce Development, and Iowa Economic Development Authority. Quantitative research was conducted to identify the most common occupations in transportation, distribution, & logistics in Iowa, in addition to a series of online surveys and in-person focus groups with employers in Sioux City, Des Moines, Fort Dodge, Cedar Rapids, & the Quad Cities. This direct employer feedback and support was vital in building job descriptions and employer expectations, while the included education and wage levels are averaged based on labor market intelligence gathered from across the state.

FOREWORD

Transportation, distribution, and logistics professionals in Iowa connect our communities with the world every day by road, air, rail, and water through safe, reliable, and innovative technologies and services. Steady demand for these services to fuel a growing economy and changing consumer purchasing preferences requires skilled Iowans able to design, operate, and maintain these complex supply chain networks and associated vehicles, machinery, and equipment.

To meet these and similar workforce needs of industries across Iowa, the Governor’s Office established the Future Ready Iowa Initiative with a goal of 70 percent of Iowans possessing education or training beyond high school by 2025. To support this important initiative, the Iowa Department of Education partnered with the Iowa Department of Transportation, Iowa Motor Truck Association, APICS-Central Iowa, and Iowa Wholesale Beer Distributors Association to develop these promotional materials and career pathways to highlight a wide range of exciting career opportunities offered in Iowa’s fast-paced transportation, distribution, and logistics industry.

A challenge to readers of this document, from students just beginning to learn about jobs to adults with extensive work experience who may be looking for a career change, is to drop any preconceived notions or ideas they may have about this industry. With an expansive list of career paths, diverse work environments, and innovations in technology, this industry offers much more than the well-known truck driving positions.

No matter your experience, background, personality, or interests, you will find great opportunities in this industry that offer a good paycheck, huge potential for secure and long-term career growth, and the ability to transfer those skills anywhere in the world!

Download these pathways and additional resources at SectorPartnerships.EducateIowa.gov and FutureReadyIowa.gov.

WHAT T-D-L MEANS TO ME

Through a series of focus groups and surveys, we asked Iowans what it means to work in transportation, distribution, and logistics. Below are a few examples of the responses we received from across the state. As reflected in the words and quotes provided, this industry is full of proud, passionate, and hard-working people.

Keywords: fast-paced, smart, transportation, passion, independence, rewarding, variety, distribution, robots, fulfilling, fun, new, advanced, 3D models, innovative, connect, logistics, network, technology, challenging, community, supply chain

Quotes: “I love visiting different cities and towns across all of Iowa’s 99 counties.”

“I can pick up extra shifts or routes to make more money, but still have time for my family.”

“Seeing our direct impact and hearing from happy customers makes my day!”

“There are so many ways to make a difference.”

“I’m able to fix my own vehicles now, saving tons of money.”

“The new tech coming out is just amazing! We get to play with so many cool things.”

“Happiness to me is the open road.”

 “You can’t beat no student loan debt, a nice truck, and a fun job.”

“These are actual skills I can use anywhere I go in the future.”

“Every day is different and an opportunity to do something new and exciting.”

 

Todd F. - Shop Supervisor for Brown Truck Leasing (Des Moines, IA)

“I followed in the footsteps of my father who worked as a diesel tech for over 40 years. We help fix brakes, engines, diagnostic errors, and other normal maintenance. I supervise our shop by planning out workloads to limit down time and processing work orders or invoices for completed work. You never know what’s going to roll through those doors and I feel a sense of accomplishment when we find and fix a problem. Find someone who works in this industry to watch and learn from before tweaking it to make it your own.”

Holly F. - Concrete Hauler for King’s Material Inc. (Cedar Rapids, IA)

“I’ve been around the concrete business all my life and always wanted to see it for myself. I had recently gotten my Class A Commercial Driver’s License and found this opportunity to drive a concrete mixer and deliver concrete to contractors in a safe and timely manner. Job sites are different every day and it is exciting and rewarding to help build our communities. I love the job and the people the most. King’s has been a great career choice for me!”

James W. - Diesel Technician for Ruan Transportation (Cedar Falls, IA)

“I love being a diesel technician! It’s definitely not the grease pit of the old days – we’re actually playing with pretty advanced computers and technology most of the time. If you’re interested in being a mechanic or technician and enjoy working with your hands, there are lots of opportunities out there to help keep these trucks in safe, running order.”

Heather R. - Operations Service Representative for AET Hybrid Transit Systems (Cedar Rapids, IA)

“I got my first taste of the transportation world while working for a local appliance delivery company. I saw a job posting in logistics and it sounded like a great fit for me. I now work with drivers, dispatchers, and customers to bring them all together to get our freight to where it needs to go. There are endless opportunities and job security in transportation that not every trade can offer. Hybrid Transit is a great company and I plan to remain here for a long time while continuing to learn and grow.”

TECHNOLOGIES OF THE FUTURE

Although there are already some amazing and innovative transportation, distribution, and logistics technologies in use across the state, below are a few additional examples that have the potential for creating new and exciting career opportunities. These technologies further fuel the need for a skilled workforce with advanced computer, information technology, and problem solving abilities. Behind every new or improved technology are real people who set up, operate, and maintain them as we continue to advance into the future.

Advanced Robotics and Automation

Advanced robotics provide a more safe, convenient, and efficient experience by assisting with complicated mathematical equations, lifting and transporting heavy materials or equipment, and even allowing for automated or remote control of vehicles equipped with drone technology and global positioning systems (GPS) accurate down to a fraction of an inch. Although delivery drones and completely driverless commercial vehicles have not made it into the mainstream yet, they are being tested and proven across the nation in limited capacities. Regardless of the type of technology, system, or strategy used, there will always be a need for direct human interaction with these collaborative robots, or “cobots”, in a shared space or working in close proximity with one another.

Safety, Convenience, and Remote Monitoring

Similar to many personal vehicles currently on the road, commercial vehicles and machinery are equipped with a growing number of new or improved convenience and safety features like automatic transmissions, adaptive traction control, lane guidance or brake assistance, and roll-over prevention that provide a much safer environment and experience for drivers, passengers, and others who share the road, air, water, or rail. Maintenance and service teams are also able to remotely and more accurately monitor vehicles, cargo, and equipment in real-time for service or repair needs before a potentially expensive or dangerous breakdown, failure, or accident occurs while in operation at high speeds or in populated areas.

Artificial Intelligence and Smart Infrastructure

“Smart” buildings, roads, intersections, bridges, and other structures that are connected to the Internet present a new frontier for careers that blend information technology with transportation, distribution, and logistics. This new technology increases energy efficiency, durability, and safety by allowing a consistent and accurate flow of usage data, information analytics, and real-time weather or other environmental factors that can be quickly addressed or resolved automatically by an intelligent system and communicated to additional interconnected users, vehicles, components, and systems.

FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING OPTIONS – Three- or four-day work weeks and bonus pay options

An aspect of this industry that many workers appreciate are flexible and nontraditional scheduling options that are helpful to those with personal or professional responsibilities such as students, parents, and retired workers. Many modern storage and distribution centers run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Some even offer 10- or 12- hour shifts that allow employees to complete an entire week of work in three or four days, with the rest of the week off for relaxing, family time, or extended travel. Below are a few of the more common shifts in this field, but many employers are willing to work with employees on customized schedules, delivery routes, or remote working options.

Most employers also offer hard-working and dedicated employees the opportunity to earn overtime pay or shift differentials as a perk for working off hours or weekends. Workers can expect to earn their normal hourly wages plus an added bonus for these shifts (i.e. $20 per hour base + $10 per hour bonus = $30 per hour total). Additional incentives such as paid employee benefits, tuition reimbursement, and performance-based bonuses allow workers in this industry to quickly make substantially more than some other industries.

1st Shift                7 AM – 9 AM until 3 PM – 5 PM

2nd Shift              3 PM – 5 PM until 10 PM - 12 AM

3rd Shift               10 PM – 12 AM until 6 AM – 8 AM

4x10                      6 AM – 8 AM until 4 PM – 6 PM                 *Four 10-hour days, three days off          

3x12                      5 AM – 7 AM until 5 PM – 7 PM                 *Three 12-hour days, four days off          

 

FLEXIBLE TRAINING OPTIONS – Registered Apprenticeship programs let you earn while you learn!

Many employers also offer additional training options to fit varying schedules, learning preferences, and career goals. Some careers highlighted in this document have a corresponding Registered Apprenticeship option that offers hands-on training and related technical instruction (RTI) that allows Registered Apprentices to earn a paycheck from day one. Look for the Earn & Learn logo for a career that is apprenticeable. Visit EarnAndLearnIowa.gov to learn more about these great opportunities, view testimonials from actual apprentices in Iowa, and fill out a form to be contacted by a representative from a local IowaWORKS field office for a direct conversation.

Iowa consistently has the highest number of high school students jointly enrolled in a community college program in the nation, providing students the opportunity to earn college credit and sometimes even full industry-recognized credentials while still in high school. A growing number of careers also include options to begin on-the-job training in high school or through one of Iowa’s 15 community colleges, saving further time and money, allowing students and workers to begin planning for their future and earning a paycheck sooner. Contact a school counselor, community college, or the Iowa Department of Education to explore local opportunities.

VEHICLE, CARGO, & EQUIPMENT TYPES – You work in what type of vehicle?

There are a wide range of vehicles, equipment, and machinery used to transport, store, and distribute goods, people, and services that are referenced throughout this document. A general overview of these types and associated license, certification, or permitting needs is offered in the diagrams below. This is not meant to act as an exhaustive guide, but rather a general starting point for further review with local employers or service providers. Refer to the Iowa DOT Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) site for additional information and license requirements, most of which are based on the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), as outlined below. Drivers, operators, and other workers from this industry are able to find a type of vehicle, cargo, or equipment that fits their interest or personality type. Which fits you best?

Automotive & Light Truck                            Iowa Driver’s License (Noncommercial)

Class 1 - 6,000 lbs GVWR or less                                 Minivan, Cargo Van, SUV, & Pickup Truck

Class 2 - 6,001 lbs to 10,000 lbs GVWR                    Van, Cargo Van, Step Van, & Full-Size Pickup

Delivery & Light Truck                                    Iowa Driver’s License (Noncommercial)

Class 3 - 10,001 lbs to 14,000 lbs GVWR                 Walk-In, Box Truck, City Delivery, & Heavy-Duty Pickup

Class 4 - 14,001 lbs to 16,000 lbs GVWR                 Mid-Size Walk-In, Large Box Truck, City Delivery, & Flat Truck

Medium Duty Truck & Bus                           Chauffeur’s License or Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) - Class C for some vehicles and school buses

 

Class 5 - 16,001 lbs to 19,500 lbs GVWR                 Large Walk-In, Tow Truck, & Large City Delivery

Class 6 - 19,501 lbs to 26,000 lbs GVWR                 School Bus, Single Axle Truck, & Rack Truck

Heavy Duty Truck & Bus                               Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) - Class B (single truck) or Class A (truck-trailer combination)

Class 7 - 26,001 lbs to 33,000 lbs GVWR                 Garbage/Recycling, Furniture/Delivery, City/Charter Bus, Semi Truck/Tractor Truck & Trailer/Cargo

Class 8 - 33,001 lbs GVWR & Over                             Dump Truck, Cement Truck, Semi Truck/Tractor, Sleeper Semi Truck/Tractor, & Heavy Equipment/Freight Transport

Specialty Vehicles                                                           Specialty Certification or License

Plane/Helicopter/Air, Train/Locomotive/Rail, & Ship/Boat/Water

Specialty Vehicle/ Cargo Endorsements

Passenger Bus (P)*

School Bus (S)*       *CDL required if vehicle designed to carry 16 or more passengers, including the driver.

Hazardous Materials (H)   - Required for placardable amounts of HAZMAT. TSA threat assessment.

Tanker (N)

HAZMAT/Tanker (X)

Doubles/Triples (T)

 

DIVERSE WORK ENVIRONMENT OPTIONS – You work where?

Modern transportation, distribution, and logistics offers the ability to research, design, operate, and maintain a wide range of projects, work duties, and associated vehicles or equipment in a growing number of locations or work environments, either indoors or outdoors, year round. In addition to the open road, these professionals may work in offices, labs, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers each day to connect and improve the lives of those in their community.

The list below offers a few examples of some of the more common types of environments or areas of focus that offer some of these new and exciting opportunities. Each occupation description throughout this document is also clearly labeled to assist the reader with finding one that may fit their personality or interest type. As technology continues to expand, so will the types of environments and the ways in which they are practiced. Which fits you best?

Work Environment & Description

Mobile/Remote - Whether by road, rail, water, or air, workers have the opportunity to be primarily outside while handling, transporting, and distributing goods or services in a local, regional, or national area. May also include emergency or remote vehicle and equipment service, maintenance, or repair.

Commercial/Industrial - Manufacturing, construction, and other commercial or industrial settings that produce various goods, resources, and materials for use by different types of customers around the world. Offers a mix of indoor/outdoor work.

Warehouse/Storage - On-site locations that focus on the safe, accurate, and secure handling and storage of a company’s own perishable or non-perishable goods, resources, and materials before they are sold and shipped. Most work will be conducted indoors, sometimes in a refrigerated or other controlled environment.

Logistics/Distribution Center - Centralized locations that specialize in the safe, accurate, and secure handling and storage of perishable or non-perishable goods, resources, and materials that belong to other companies or 3rd party vendors before they are sold and shipped. Most work will be conducted indoors, sometimes in a refrigerated or other controlled environment.

Business/Office - Secure office environment with reliable access to power, telecommunications, inventory controls, and other computer or database systems. Advances in remote vehicle operation and monitoring will also expand this area. Most work will be conducted indoors, but may allow for some travel and outdoors work.

Laboratory/Research Facility - Secure and often sterile locations dedicated to the research, development, inspection, and other quality control efforts necessary to keep products, resources, and related vehicles or equipment safe, efficient, and desirable to customers. Most work is conducted indoors while observing, gathering, and testing samples or procedures with various workers and departments within an organization.

Agricultural/Food Processing - Farms, livestock, and other structures or locations involved primarily in the housing, production, and storage of agricultural or food products and resources. Offer a mix of indoor/outdoor work, sometimes in a refrigerated or other controlled environment.

Power/Energy - Solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass are growing areas of sustainable or alternative energy production that provide unique types of new or improved methods to collect, transport, store, and distribute power, fuels, and other natural resources to our communities. Most work will be conducted indoors, but often in remote areas and could include outdoors.

Specialized/HAZMAT - Some hazardous materials (HAZMAT) or specialized products, services, or projects may require advanced training, endorsements, monitoring, or clearance because of heightened security or safety concerns and special handling codes, rules, regulations, and laws. Offers a mix of indoor/outdoor work.

 

CAREER INTEREST TYPES – What type of career matches your personality and interests?

We are born with certain character traits, while some are developed as we grow and experience new things. There are many different tests or assessments available to help us determine what careers might match our personality or interests. The most common test includes six interest themes based on research by John Holland that can be taken for free at FutureReadyIowa.gov. These include the Realistic (R), Investigative (I), Artistic (A), Social (S), Enterprising (E), and Conventional (C) groups, reflected in the diagram to the right.

After identifying the top three preferred interest areas, a user is left with an interest type code, such as RIS, CEA, or ECR. Occupations in this document have been labeled with these codes to help readers better understand potential matches for further research and investigation. Don’t worry if a career doesn’t match exactly to your code as this is not an exact science, but rather a starting point to help guide users in their career exploration process. There are careers for everyone in transportation, distribution, and logistics.

REALISTIC - You like to work with your hands and use physical skills including repairing and making things with tools and machines. You prefer working on projects you can see and feel, not what can be imagined or theorized.

INVESTIGATIVE - You tend to focus on ideas and enjoy collecting and analyzing information. You are curious and tend to prefer situations with minimal rules or regulations. You tend to like math and science.

ARTISTIC - You focus on artistic self-expression, value independence, and are not afraid to experiment with ideas. You enjoy variety and tend to feel cramped in structured situations. Creativity guides you.

SOCIAL - You are highly concerned with people, make friends easily, and are a good communicator. You enjoy working with others to identify and solve problems. You are helpful, friendly, and trustworthy.

ENTERPRISING - You are goal-oriented and often provide leadership and a high degree of energy when working with others. You tend to get bogged down by too much science, data, and analytical thinking. You are more comfortable selling and negotiating.

CONVENTIONAL - You pay close attention to detail and work well with numbers and data. You prefer following the rules and working with clear expectations.

 

USING THESE CAREER PATHWAYS

The information in these pathways is not intended to cover every occupation within transportation, distribution, and logistics in Iowa. Rather, it is intended to provide the student, job-seeker, parent, educator, and others with a high-level view of some in-demand or growing positions. Information has been averaged to help guide the reader in evaluating which of these jobs are of interest and worthy of further research through the online Future Ready Iowa Career Coach tool, which allows readers to customize labor, salary, education, and other information based on their specific location within the state. Additional recommendations for next steps and a career exploration action plan are included at the end of the document.

Occupations have been grouped into the following three levels based on factors such as typical education, experience, and wages. Many workers in this industry do not follow a direct pathway within the same occupation family, but rather enter and progress through a wide range of different careers from each family. Actual education requirements, job duties, and wage levels will vary from employer to employer around the state. Leadership and management opportunities are available in all families, but may not be reflected in these materials.

SENIOR LEVEL - “Get Specialized”

Typical Experience: 8+ years

Job Title Keywords: Manager, Director, Master, Engineer, & Expert

These positions are typically high-level management or specialized positions and require significant experience in the industry, advanced education or training, or completion of an apprenticeship program, in addition to applicable certifications, licenses, and leadership skills. Learning a specific organization’s history, culture, and values is also often important to lead at this level.

MID-LEVEL - “Get Skilled”

Typical Experience: 4-7 years

Job Title Keywords: Supervisor, Specialist, Journeyman, Assistant, & Lead

These positions pay more than those at the entry level, but also often require some related work experience and additional education, such as a technical training/certificate, two-year associate’s degree, or completion of an apprenticeship program. This is generally the point where workers have identified a career they enjoy and begin fine-tuning their skills and earning additional certifications, licensures, or endorsements. Some experienced workers from other industries or students who have completed a degree or apprenticeship training program may be able to enter at this elevated level.

ENTRY LEVEL - “Get Started”

Typical Experience: 0-3 years

Job Title Keywords: Worker, Technician, Apprentice, Operator, &Driver

These positions are the best entry points for someone with little experience or education, as they typically require only a high school diploma or equivalent (HSED) or a technical training/certificate and little to no prior related work experience. Many workers enter this industry through the Transportation & Distribution, Storage & Quality Control, or Safety & Maintenance families, sometimes through a Registered Apprenticeship or other on-the-job training program. Although some of these careers start with lower wages, they are often a great starting point with huge potential for promotion and advancement with hard work, dedication, and planning.

 

T-D-L OCCUPATION FAMILIES

In our modern and interconnected economy, there are many exciting and high-paying careers involved in the handling, storage, and movement of goods, materials, and people. The occupation families below outline how these careers will be grouped for purposes of this project, which follows the general business flow from initial system planning and design to the sale and final delivery. Attention is also paid to the additional stages necessary to keep everyone safe and equipped while doing so within the diverse transportation, distribution, and logistics industry in Iowa. Which fits you best?

Planning & Design - The Innovators

[Common Interest Types: Investigative, Conventional, Realistic]

You can see the bigger picture! People present you with a problem, idea, or goal and you find a way to get it done by pulling together all of the various interconnected partners, sites, personnel, and services towards a successful transaction and satisfied customer. Your ideas and solutions lead the way.

Storage & Quality Control - The Keepers

[Common Interest Types: Conventional, Realistic, Enterprising]

You have an eye for detail! Your thoroughness and desire to do things the right way help ensure the proper inspection and accurate, safe, and secure handling of various materials, foods, products, and resources. You’re always ready to quickly and efficiently locate, prepare, and transfer products for delivery to customers around the world. Your investigative and tracking skills are unmatched.

Sales & Business Operations - The Closers

[Common Interest Types: Enterprising, Conventional, Social]

You seal the deal! Your top notch communication, sales, and business skills help keep the business open and customers happy. You play an important, but often unseen role by helping to promote, sell, and manage various products, services, and customer relationships. Your charm and charisma are infectious and people like being around you.

Transportation & Distribution - The Movers

[Common Interest Types: Realistic, Conventional, Social]

By air, rail, water, and road, you get things done! Your impressive driving and machine operation skills make it look easy to transport, distribute, and deliver goods, materials, and people to their destinations in a safe, efficient, and enjoyable manner. Anything can happen while out on the open road, so your superb planning and problem solving abilities come in handy.

Safety & Maintenance - The Fixers

[Common Interest Types: Conventional, Realistic, Investigative]

You keep everyone safe! Your impressive inspection, maintenance, and repair skills help ensure the wide range of vehicles, facilities, machinery, equipment, and the workers who use or operate them perform in a safe and efficient manner. Your attention to detail and ability to fix anything is amazing.

Sourcing & Purchasing - The Equippers

[Common Interest Types: Conventional, Enterprising, Investigative]

You keep everyone supplied and working! You purchase the materials, fuel, equipment, and other resources that are necessary to maintain, improve, or expand business operations, accounting for various setbacks and supply shortages that may impact production or delivery time. Your negotiation skills and ability to plan ahead keep everyone equipped and working their best.

 

PLANNING & DESIGN – THE INNOVATORS

Occupations in the Planning & Design family focus on turning plans or ideas into reality! These professionals use their vision and creativity to work with customers to create customized distribution plans or routes, 3D structural or storage and distribution center models, and detailed supply chain network design plans that will be used by the drivers, handlers, inspectors, mechanics, and other skilled professionals throughout the transportation, distribution, and logistics process.

Many of these occupations require a higher level of formal education, such as an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, but some only require a technical certificate or training and little or no industry experience. A growing number of these careers offer an “earn and learn” option as well, such as an internship or Registered Apprenticeship.

Someone who is creative, enjoys working with technology, and doesn’t mind working in an office setting will do well in these careers. Travel may be required to research or visit current and potential facilities or sites, but advances in artificial intelligence, advanced global positioning systems (GPS), and smart infrastructure are changing and expanding how many of these careers are practiced.

 

CAREER SPOTLIGHT: Ben D. - Transportation Broker at Stutsman Logistics (Cedar Rapids, IA)

“I work as the broker or connector between our customers and all of the other departments and locations throughout a logistics network to make sure we get shipments to where they need to go on time. I originally applied for a sales job, but found that I really liked this work. When you look around your house, office, and community, most of the goods or products you see were at some point transported over the road. Helping provide the service to deliver those products to the consumer is a satisfying feeling. I plan to continue to build on the success of our business at Stutsman Logistics and expand my leadership role within the organization to eventually lead our Logistics Team.”

 

Freight Broker  

Career Interest Types: CEI - Conventional, Enterprising, Investigative

Typical Education/Training: High School Diploma/HSED  

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years      

Wage Range: $14 - $25/hour

Research and recommend shipping rates, routes, or modes of transport for products in coordination with supply chain, logistics, sales, and other trade professionals. Maintain awareness of regulations affecting the movement of cargo entering, moving through, and exiting a defined service area or region. Make arrangements for additional services, such as storage, customs, or emergency redirection.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Analyze Data & Information

2) Logistics & Supply Chain Basics

3) Project Management & Leadership

4) Shipment Processing & Storage

5) Sales & Negotiation

6) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

Similar Roles/Titles: Freight Forwarder, Freight and Cargo Specialist, Relocation Coordinator, Route Specialist, Transportation Broker

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Specialized

 

Engineering Technician

Career Interest Types: RCI - Realistic, Conventional, Investigative

Typical Education/Training: Technical Certificate/Diploma            

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years      

Wage Range: $15 - $26/hour

Apply engineering theory and principles to help plan, design, and oversee the construction and maintenance of streets, highways, distribution centers, and other related structures or facilities, usually under the direction of engineering staff. Collect, analyze, and report data research findings, often with detailed dimensional drawings, maps, and diagrams created and managed with advanced or 3D modeling and design software or applications.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Engineering & Technology

2) CAD or AutoCAD Software

3) Mathematics & Measuring

4) Mechanical Tools & Equipment

5) Inspection & Attention to Detail

6) Analytical Thinking & Problem Solving

Similar Roles/Titles: Civil Designer, Engineering Assistant, Design Technician, Engineer Technician, Civil Engineering Technician

Typical Work Environments: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Technician

Career Interest Types: RIA - Realistic, Investigative, Artistic

Typical Education/Training: Technical Certificate/Diploma            

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years      

Wage Range: $17 - $27/hour

Assist drafters with the development, review, and analysis of detailed design drawings and specifications for logistics and construction projects, using computer-aided design (CAD) equipment and other advanced design software. Consult and coordinate with other workers to design, layout, or detail components and systems and to resolve problems to ensure high levels of quality and safety.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) CAD, AutoCAD, & Design Software

2) System Design & Drawing

3) Engineering & Technology

4) Mathematics & Measuring

5) Analytical Thinking & Problem Solving

6) Transportation & Logistics

Similar Roles/Titles: CAD Designer, CAD Drafter, Drafting Assistant, Design Drafter, Civil Drafting Technician

Typical Work Environments: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

Logistics Planner

Career Interest Types: RCS - Realistic, Conventional, Social

Typical Education/Training: Associate’s Degree 

Work Experience: 4 - 7 years      

Wage Range: $20 - $32/hour

Analyze and coordinate the logistical functions for an organization, including receiving, distribution, delivery, and waste management of materials or resources within facilities or on job sites. Maintain and develop positive business relationships with customers and vendors to assist in long-term business growth and success. May assist in contract analysis or negotiation.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Analyze Data & Information

2) Logistics & Supply Chain

3) Project Management & Leadership

4) Shipment Processing & Systems

5) Communication & Coordination

6) Supply Storage & Organization

Similar Roles/Titles: Logistician, Logistics Team Lead, Supply Chain Planner, Logistics Analyst, Logistics Engineer

Typical Work Environments: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Specialized

 

Transportation Engineer             

Career Interest Types: RIC - Realistic, Investigative, Conventional

Typical Education/Training: Bachelor’s Degree   

Work Experience: 4 - 7 years      

Wage Range: $21 - $45/hour

Direct, conduct, or verify land survey findings and related studies, including data relevant to the shape, elevation, and dimension of land or land features for construction and land development purposes. Collaborate with architects, engineers, and other trades professionals on traffic studies, intermodal networks, and system design projects. May also assist with property boundary investigations or disputes.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Engineering & Technology

2) Transportation System Design & Analysis

3) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

4) Inspection & Attention to Detail

5) CAD, AutoCAD, & Design Software

6) Mathematics & Physics

Similar Roles/Titles: Civil Engineer, Project Engineer, Transportation Designer, Infrastructure Engineer, Systems Engineer

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/ Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

Project Manager

Career Interest Types: ECI - Enterprising, Conventional, Investigative

Typical Education/Training: Bachelor’s Degree   

Work Experience: 4 - 7 years      

Wage Range: $26 - $41/hour

Consult and negotiate with internal and external customers to determine project details, budget, and deadlines. Coordinate projects and delegate tasks across various design, logistics, and business operations teams. Monitor, gather, and assess information for project status reports, ensuring compliance with regulations and keeping projects on time and within budget.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Communication & Negotiation

2) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

3) Computers & Technology

4) Basic Transportation & Distribution

5) Engineering & Design

6) Time & Project Management

Similar Roles/Titles: Project Lead, Project Owner, Senior Project Engineer, Project Development Lead, Project Director

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/ Energy, Specialized

 

Supply Chain Manager

Career Interest Types: ECI - Enterprising, Conventional, Investigative

Typical Education/Training: Bachelor’s Degree   

Work Experience: 8+ years          

Wage Range: $28 - $45/hour

Direct or coordinate production, purchasing, warehousing, distribution, or financial forecasting activities to limit costs and improve accuracy, efficiency, or customer service. Examine existing procedures for opportunities to streamline inventory management activities and systems to meet production and distribution needs for fast-paced supply chain networks and logistics projects.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Management & Leadership

2) Computers & Technology

3) Sales & Negotiation

4) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

5) Communication & Coordination

6) Supply Chain & Logistics

Similar Roles/Titles: Supply Chain Director, Supply Chain Vice President, Logistics Manager, Logistics Solution Manager, Logistics Operation Manager

Typical Work Environments: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

Director of Operations

Career Interest Types: ECS - Enterprising, Conventional, Social

Typical Education/Training: Bachelor’s Degree   

Work Experience: 8+ years          

Wage Range: $33 - $48/hour

Plan, direct, and coordinate the general operations of a transportation and distribution organization or system. Communicate policies, review financial statements or performance data, and plan the use of materials and human resources to keep operations running smoothly and profitable. Examine existing operations for opportunities to streamline staffing, processes, systems, or procedures to meet transportation, distribution, and operational goals.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Management & Leadership

2) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

3) Accounting & Finance

4) Transportation & Distribution Systems

5) Transportation Regulations & Policies

6) Negotiation & Sales

Similar Roles/Titles: Operations Manager, Business Manager, Operations Director, Director of Logistics, General Manager (GM)

Typical Work Environments: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

SALES & BUSINESS OPERATIONS - THE CLOSERS

Occupations in the Sales & Business Operations family seal the deal! They market, sell, and manage a wide range of products, relationships, and services to keep the business running smoothly and profitable so that everyone continues to work and get paid.

Simply having a great product or service isn’t enough if no one is aware of or wants to purchase it. These professionals follow the progress of projects, accounts, or processes to ensure customer satisfaction, strong business relationships, and long-term success. Sometimes this means working with other teams and departments for new customer leads and maintenance, inspection, or improvement plans for existing accounts.

Many of these occupations will require advanced education or training in addition to a high school diploma or equivalent. Experience in the industry may   serve as a replacement, however, to help professionals “speak the language” when selling or consulting on projects. Experience with social media and digital marketing is often a must as this industry becomes more digitized and managed in a virtual environment. An added perk for some of these occupations is that they may include the opportunity for increased wages through commissions based on sales performance or service level agreements, allowing workers to make substantially more than their base pay.

Someone who works well with others, has a competitive side, and doesn’t mind spending most of their time in an office setting will do well in these roles. They often work behind the scenes to ensure customers are happy and more likely to return for future business or refer others.

 

CAREER SPOTLIGHT: Michelle V. — Service Advisor at Thompson Truck & Trailer (Davenport, IA)

“My father’s a mechanic, so I grew up around this type of work. Although I started in the maintenance department, I found that I really liked working directly with the customers. From the time the trucks are checked in to when the repair is complete, I assist with estimates and customer communication. I like the fast-paced, ever-changing environment, building relationships with our customers, and working with our great team each day. People should approach this industry with an open mind. Whatever you think it may be, it is different, and changes often. I don’t believe I’ve reached my full potential yet and look forward to continuing my growth with Thompson in either fleet or service management positions.”

 

Administrative Support Specialist

CEI - Conventional, Enterprising, Investigative

Typical Education/Training: High School Diploma/HSED  

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years      

Wage Range: $13 - $20/hour

Provide administrative support for transportation, logistics, and distribution projects by conducting research, preparing reports, handling information, and performing clerical functions, such as scheduling meetings, facilitating communication between team members, and organizing billing, financing, or permitting paperwork and digital records.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Project & Time Management

2) Computers & Technology

3) Written & Oral Communication

4) Customer & Personal Service

5) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

6) Accurate Time & Record Keeping

Similar Roles/Titles: Office Aide, Office Assistant, Office Clerk, Account Assistant, Account Specialist

Typical Work Environments: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

Order Analyst

CES - Conventional, Enterprising, Social

Typical Education/Training: High School Diploma/HSED  

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years      

Wage Range: $13 - $23/hour

Receive, review, and process incoming orders via mail, phone, fax, online, or other electronic means for materials, products, or services such as transportation, distribution, repairs, installations, or rental of vehicles or facilities. Work directly with customers to resolve order problems or complaints, answer questions about prices, shipping dates, or delays, and assist with contracts or sales negotiations.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Account & Project Management

2) Computers & Technology

3) Written & Oral Communication

4) Customer & Personal Service

5) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

6) Inspection & Record Keeping

Similar Roles/Titles: Order Clerk, Order Entry Representative, Order Processing Clerk, Sales Assistant, Processing Specialist

Typical Work Environments: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

Customer Service Representative

ESC - Enterprising, Social, Conventional

Typical Education/Training: High School Diploma/HSED  

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years      

Wage Range: $13 - $25/hour

Interact with customers by phone, email, online, and in person to provide information in response to inquiries about products and services. May utilize social media, video chat, and other digital tools to effectively track and resolve customer concerns. Handle, record, and resolve complaints when necessary, weighing the needs of the customer and the company for long-term growth and success.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Customer & Personal Service

2) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

3) Sales & Marketing

4) Active Listening & Understanding

5) Conflict Management & Resolution

6) Social Media & Communication Tools

Similar Roles/Titles: Customer Service Agent, Call Center Representative, Customer Care Representative, Customer Service Specialist, Member Services Representative

Typical Work Environments: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

Sales Representative

ESC - Enterprising, Social, Conventional

Typical Education/Training: High School Diploma/HSED  

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years      

Wage Range: $17 - $34/hour + Commission

Identify the needs of current and potential customers through direct and indirect interaction and research. Match customers with product or route offerings, negotiate sales, and draft contracts. May also train customers to operate and maintain vehicles or related supplies, materials, and equipment. Estimate or quote prices, credit or contract terms, warranties, and delivery dates. Opportunity for increased wages through commissions based on sales performance.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Communication & Interpersonal Skills

2) Sales & Negotiation

3) Social Media & Marketing

4) Transportation, Distribution, & Logistics Basics

5) Computers & Technology

6) Customer Service & Critical Thinking

Similar Roles/Titles: Sales Associate, Outside Sales, Inside Sales, Marketing Representative, Technical Sales Representative

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/ Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

Marketing Specialist

IEC - Investigative, Enterprising, Conventional

Typical Education/Training: Technical Certificate/Diploma            

Work Experience: 4 - 7 years      

Wage Range: $19 - $31/hour

Research market conditions and gather information to determine potential sales of transportation or distribution- related products or services in local, regional, or national service areas. Measure the effectiveness of marketing, advertising, and communications programs and strategies, including social media and other digital tools. Collect and analyze data on competition, customer base, and other methods of marketing and distribution.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Research, Data, & Analytics

2) Customer & Personal Service

3) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

4) Sales & Marketing

5) Social Media & Communication Tools

6) Computers & Technology

Similar Roles/Titles: Marketing Analyst, Communications Specialist, Market Research Analyst, Social Media Specialist, Digital Marketing Consultant

Typical Work Environments: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

Customer Service Supervisor

ECS - Enterprising, Conventional, Social

Typical Education/Training: Associate’s Degree 

Work Experience: 4 - 7 years      

Wage Range: $18 - $34/hour

Plan, direct, and coordinate the activities of customer service agents and representatives of the organization who answer questions, address complaints, and may handle billing for customers. Handle complex or elevated cases and customer complaints. Assist in the training and professional development of new and existing employees. May also assist with accounting, finance, and budget duties.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Management & Leadership

2) Customer & Personal Service

3) Active Listening & Understanding

4) Conflict Management & Resolution

5) Computers & Technology

6) Accounting & Human Resources

Similar Roles/Titles: Administrative Supervisor, Personnel Coordinator, Office Supervisor, Client Facing Supervisor, Customer Service Lead

Typical Work Environments: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

Service/Account Manager

CES - Conventional, Enterprising, Social

Typical Education/Training: Associate’s Degree 

Work Experience: 4 - 7 years      

Wage Range: $17 - $30/hour

Research, assist, and advise drivers, operators, suppliers, and other internal coworkers or external customers with administrative or technical support, such as reviewing project progress or goals, monitoring vehicle service or repair needs, resolving issues, and building or strengthening important customer relationships. May also train and supervise lower-level project, administrative, or clerical staff.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Project & Time Management

2) Sales & Negotiation

3) Computers & Technology

4) Written & Oral Communication

5) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

6) Customer & Personal Service

Similar Roles/Titles: Account Coordinator, Service Advisor, Service Writer, Client Relations Manager, Client Relationship Manager

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/ Energy, Specialized

 

Technical Sales Lead

ERS - Enterprising, Realistic, Social

Typical Education/Training: Bachelor’s Degree   

Work Experience: 4 - 7 years      

Wage Range: $31 - $52/hour + Commission

Sell products requiring extensive technical expertise and support for installation and use, such as material handling equipment, specialized vehicles or storage containers, and advanced computer systems. Prepare and deliver technical presentations that explain products or services to customers, sometimes at work sites, trade shows, and on live production floors. May include opportunity for increased wages through commissions based on sales performance.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Design & Drafting Software

2) Sales & Negotiation

3) Social Media & Communication Tools

4) Supply Chain & Logistics Systems

5) Communication & Marketing

6) Customer & Personal Service

Similar Roles/Titles: Senior Sales Representative, Customer Engagement Manager, Product Manager, Product Sales Engineer, Account Executive

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/ Energy, Specialized

 

Marketing Manager

ECS - Enterprising, Conventional, Social

Typical Education/Training: Bachelor’s Degree   

Work Experience: 8+ years          

Wage Range: $30 - $55/hour

Plan, develop, and coordinate marketing policies and programs, such as determining product demand and competitive market analysis. Develop pricing strategies with the goal of maximizing profits or share of the market while ensuring customer satisfaction. Oversee product or project development and monitor trends that indicate the need for new or improved vehicles, facilities, and other products or services.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Sales & Negotiation

2) Management & Leadership

3) Communication & Marketing

4) Computers & Technology

5) Market Research & Analytics

6) Social Media & Digital Marketing Tools

Similar Roles/Titles: Director of Marketing, Brand Manager, Business Developer, Marketing Officer, Marketing Planner

Typical Work Environments: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

Customer Service Manager

ECS - Enterprising, Conventional, Social

Typical Education/Training: Bachelor’s Degree   

Work Experience: 8+ years          

Wage Range: $26 - $43/hour

Oversee the management, training, and coordination of all customer service representatives, administrative staff, and other employees who interact directly or indirectly with customers by phone, email, social media, or other communication methods. Review and negotiate contracts, service level agreements, and other financial or budgetary models to ensure long-term success and growth.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Management & Leadership

2) Customer & Personal Service

3) Contracts, Budgets, & Financial Models

4) Active Listening & Understanding

5) Personal & Professional Development

6) Sales & Marketing

Similar Roles/Titles: Customer Service Coordinator, Customer Service Director, Client Facing Manager, Administrative Officer, Business Administrator

Typical Work Environments: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

Sales Manager

ECS - Enterprising, Conventional, Social

Typical Education/Training: Bachelor’s Degree   

Work Experience: 8+ years          

Wage Range: $29 - $56/hour + Commission

Plan, direct, and coordinate sales distribution and strategy by establishing sales territories, quotas, and goals, including the establishment of associated training programs for sales representatives and support staff. Analyze sales statistics gathered by staff to determine variables such as sales potential, inventory requirements, and changing customer preferences or regulatory and political guidelines.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Management & Leadership

2) Customer & Personal Service

3) Contracts, Budgets, & Financial Models

4) Transportation & Distribution Systems

5) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

6) Sales & Marketing

Similar Roles/Titles: National Sales Manager, Regional Sales Manager, Sales and Marketing Vice President, Sales Director, Sales Supervisor

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/ Energy, Specialized

 

STORAGE & QUALITY CONTROL – THE KEEPERS

Occupations in the Storage & Quality Control family are responsible for ensuring the safe, secure, and accurate storage and control of consistently high-quality materials, products, or resources that customers want to buy and use.

Many of these careers only require a high school diploma or equivalent and a specialized certification or training to be successful. These occupations can be a good entry into the broader transportation, distribution, and logistics industry, with huge potential for advancement with focus, hard work, and a willingness to learn.

New and exciting advances in robotics, automation, and other technology will continue to change how we practice these types of occupations. More accurate and real-time inventory monitoring, testing, and controls will help workers locate, handle, and prepare products for shipment quickly, safely, and efficiently to customers around the world.

Someone with an eye for detail, enjoys working with their hands, and is able to stay focused will do well in these careers. An appreciation for following checklists, policies, and procedures will also be important for long-term success.

 

CAREER SPOTLIGHT: James B. - Equipment Tester for EZ Liner Vogel Traffic Services (Orange City, IA)

“I conduct quality control checks on our finished custom road striping trucks and equipment before they get shipped to our customers. This includes many hours of road testing, troubleshooting, and fixing any issues we find so it doesn’t break or become a problem when the customer begins using it. I really enjoy working with equipment and the challenges and learning opportunities it presents. Seeing our trucks being used by customers and doing their job out on the road is always exciting. I plan to continue to learn and work my way up here at EZ Liner. There are so many great opportunities within this industry that can fit a broad range of personalities and lifestyles.”

 

Security Officer

RCE - Realistic, Conventional, Enterprising

Typical Education/Training: High School Diploma/HSED  

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years      

Wage Range: $11 - $18/hour

Guard, patrol, or monitor products or areas to prevent theft, vandalism, or other illegal and illicit behavior. Monitor and authorize the entrance and departure of employees, visitors, and other persons, including any associated materials, freight, and other inventory or resources. May utilize technology such as metal detectors, security cameras, x-ray machines, and other surveillance equipment. Collaborate with local law enforcement professionals when necessary.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Public Safety & Security

2) Computers & Technology

3) Attention to Detail & Monitoring

4) Customer & Personal Service

5) Accurate Record & Time Keeping

6) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

Similar Roles/Titles: Security Guard, Security Agent, Inventory Protection Officer, Loss Prevention Officer, Site Security Specialist

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/ Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

Materials Handler

REI - Realistic, Enterprising, Investigative

Typical Education/Training: High School Diploma/HSED  

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years      

Wage Range: $12 - $17/hour

Manually move freight, stock, or other materials and perform general labor duties in a supply warehouse, distribution center, or work site. Attach tags or mark containers and shipments with identifying information. Read work orders and record numbers of units stored, handled, or moved with production and tracking sheets or tickets, often with computers, tablets, and other mobile devices or technology.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Comprehend & Follow Instructions

2) Gather & Analyze Data

3) Computers & Technology

4) Materials Inspection & Monitoring

5) Communication & Critical Thinking

6) Safety & Quality Control

Similar Roles/Titles: Materials Receiver, Materials Tender, Merchandise Pickup/Receiving Associate, Shipping and Receiving Materials Handler, Warehouse Worker

Typical Work Environments: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

Shipping & Receiving Clerk

CRE - Conventional, Realistic, Enterprising

Typical Education/Training: High School Diploma/HSED

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years

Wage Range: $14 - $19/hour

Verify, prepare, and maintain records on incoming and outgoing shipments within a warehouse, distribution center, or other related storage operations facility with computers and mobile devices or technology. Assemble, address, stamp, and ship merchandise or materials. Receive, unpack, verify, and record incoming merchandise or materials before distribution to locations or departments for internal company use or final delivery to customers.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Computers & Technology

2) Equipment & Machine Operation Basics

3) Shipping & Receiving Methods

4) Communication & Coordination

5) Inventory Management & Record Keeping

6) Package Handling & Organization

Similar Roles/Titles: Receiving Clerk, Receiving Specialist, Shipping Assistant, Receiving Technician, Warehouse Worker

Typical Work Environments: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

Warehouse Equipment Operator

RCE - Realistic, Conventional, Enterprising

Typical Education/Training: High School Diploma/HSED  

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years      

Wage Range: $13 - $26/hour

Operate, inspect, and maintain various types of fork lifts, pallet jacks, loaders, hoists, and other materials handling or inventory control equipment to safely and efficiently lift or move materials and finished products in to, around, and out of a warehouse or distribution center. Review product loads for accuracy, comply with safety standards, and assist in meeting production and shipping deadlines. May require specialized training, certification, or license.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Fork Lift/OSHA Certification

2) Comprehend & Follow Instructions

3) Materials Storage & Organization

4) Communication & Critical Thinking

5) Equipment Operation & Maintenance

6) Transportation & Distribution Basics

Similar Roles/Titles: Fork Lift Technician, Fork Lift Driver, Materials Loader, Warehouse Transporter, Materials Mover

Typical Work Environments: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

Vehicle & Equipment Inspector

RCI - Realistic, Conventional, Investigative

Typical Education/Training: High School Diploma/HSED  

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years      

Wage Range: $15 - $28/hour

Inspect and monitor vehicles, machinery, and other transportation and distribution-related equipment to ensure compliance with all rules, regulations, and standards. Work with mechanics, maintenance techs, quality control analysts, and other service or repair professionals to ensure high levels of quality and safety at all times. Keep accurate records and provide recommendations when appropriate for improvements, repairs, or service needs for vehicles, machinery, and equipment.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Inspection & Attention to Detail

2) Computers & Technology

3) Mathematics & Diagnostic Testing

4) Maintenance & Record Keeping

5) Mechanical & Digital Hand or Power Tools

6) Safety Regulations and Procedures

Similar Roles/Titles: Vehicle Inspector, Transportation Inspector, Equipment Inspector, Quality Control Inspector, Emissions Inspector

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/ Energy, Specialized

 

Warehouse Technician

CER - Conventional, Enterprising, Realistic

Typical Education/Training: Technical Certificate/Diploma

Work Experience: 4 - 7 years

Wage Range: $16 - $24/hour

Coordinate and expedite the flow of work and materials within or between departments according to production or route schedules. Collaborate with department supervisors to compile, review, and distribute reports on progress of work, inventory levels, costs, and production, transportation, or other logistics issues that may be impacting profitability and long-term growth.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Attention to Detail & Mathematics

2) Storage & Inventory Control Systems

3) Safety Regulations & Procedures

4) Computers & Mobile Technology

5) Communication & Coordination

6) Critical Thinking & Decision Making

 Similar Roles/Titles: Logistics Technician, Warehouse Representative, Warehouse Worker, Production Project Clerk, Planning and Expediting Clerk

Typical Work Environments: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

Quality Control Analyst

CIR - Conventional, Investigative, Realistic

Typical Education/Training: Bachelor’s Degree   

Work Experience: 4 - 7 years      

Wage Range: $18 - $28/hour

Review, evaluate, and recommend changes to products or processes in order to achieve a high level of product or service quality and safety. Conduct routine and on-the-spot analysis of materials, samples, and perishable foods or non-perishable finished products. Interpret and compare test results to established specifications and control limits. Monitor physical, environmental, and other factors impacting the quality of stored goods to forecast and resolve any potential safety or quality issues.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Data Analysis & Record Keeping

2) Mathematics & Measuring

3) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

4) Advanced Computers & Technology

5) Inspection & Attention to Detail

6) Safety & Quality Control

Similar Roles/Titles: Quality Analyst, System Analyst, Quality Assurance Technician, Efficiency Specialist, Quality Control Technician

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/ Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

Warehouse Supervisor

CER - Conventional, Enterprising, Realistic

Typical Education/Training: Technical Certificate/Diploma            

Work Experience: 4 - 7 years      

Wage Range: $19 - $30/hour

Directly supervise and coordinate the activities of storage, inventory control, and other warehouse workers to keep storage and warehouse operations running safely and smoothly. Review procedures and policies, discuss findings with management and support staff, and make recommendations for improvements or repairs to facilities, machinery, vehicles, and other related systems or departments.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Leadership & Management

2) Storage & Inventory Control Systems

3) Safety Regulations & Procedures

4) Computers & Mobile Technology

5) Communication & Coordination

6) Critical Thinking & Decision Making

Similar Roles/Titles: Front Line Supervisor, Warehouse Foreman, Inventory Control Supervisor, Dock Supervisor, Shift Supervisor

Typical Work Environments: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

Inventory Database Manager

CIA - Conventional, Investigative, Artistic

Typical Education/Training: Bachelor’s Degree   

Work Experience: 8+ years          

Wage Range: $28 - $42/hour

Administer, test, and implement computer databases to assist in the storage of sensitive data and inventory control records necessary for the safe, secure, and accurate handling of goods, materials, and finished perishable or non-perishable products. Stay updated on advances in technology, cybersecurity needs, and industry trends to ensure data is safeguarded and private. May purchase and install new hardware or software equipment or components.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Database Management & Networking

2) Computers & Telecommunications

3) Active Listening & Communication

4) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

5) Analytical & Scientific Software

6) Data Collection & Analysis

Similar Roles/Titles: Data Architect, Inventory Controls Manager, Database Coordinator, Information Systems Manager, Database Administrator

Typical Work Environments: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Specialized

 

Warehouse Manager

ECS - Enterprising, Conventional, Social

Typical Education/Training: Bachelor’s Degree   

Work Experience: 8+ years          

Wage Range: $26 - $42/hour

Plan, direct, and coordinate the storage and distribution operations within an organization. Work with supervisors and other staff to prepare and manage departmental budgets. Supervise the activities of workers engaged in receiving, storing, and handling of products or materials. Utilize inventory control software and other advanced computer database systems to monitor inventory and prevent spoilage, loss, theft, and other quality control issues.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Electronic Inventory Controls & Systems

2) Management & Leadership

3) Safety & Quality Control

4) Communication & Delegation

5) Accounting & Finance

6) Mathematics, Data, & Analytics

Similar Roles/Titles: Distribution Center Manager, Inventory Control Manager, Shipping & Receiving Manager, Warehouse Operations Manager, Warehouse Director

Typical Work Environments: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

Director of Quality Control

CER - Conventional, Enterprising, Realistic

Typical Education/Training: Bachelor’s Degree   

Work Experience: 8+ years          

Wage Range: $30 - $47/hour

Plan, direct, and coordinate the activities of an organization to ensure compliance with safety, regulatory, and quality standards throughout the entire supply chain process from the raw materials to the packaging and transportation of the final product. Research, review, and consult with other department directors or leads on financial, budgetary, and forecasting findings to ensure profitability and long-term growth.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Analyze Test Results & Data

2) Advanced Computers & Technology

3) Management & Leadership

4) Accounting & Finance

5) Quality & Safety Control

6) Compliance & Regulatory Affairs

Similar Roles/Titles: Director of Quality, Quality Assurance Manager, Quality Control Manager, Director of Compliance, Compliance Manager

Typical Work Environments: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

TRANSPORTATION & DISTRIBUTION – THE MOVERS

Occupations in the Transportation & Distribution family are responsible for the safe, timely, and enjoyable transportation and distribution of people, products, and resources. From a short trip to the supermarket down the street to delivering products to customers on the other side of the world, these professionals keep us connected.

Many of these careers only require a high school diploma or equivalent and a specialized certification, training, or license to be successful, such as a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Similar to the Storage & Quality Control family, these occupations can be a good entry into the broader transportation, distribution, and logistics industry, with huge potential for advancement with focus, hard work, and a clean driving record.

Cutting edge technology like driverless vehicles, advanced safety or convenience features, and remote vehicle control or monitoring capabilities will continue to change how we practice these occupations, with a stronger need for critical thinking, information technology, and problem solving skills.

Driving, operating, and working within the fast-paced world of transportation and distribution by air, rail, water, or road is both challenging and rewarding. Someone who is organized, gets along well with others, and has a desire to travel and be outdoors will do well in these careers.

 

CAREER SPOTLIGHT: Tim and Cindy Anderson - Truck Drivers for Don Hummer Trucking (Cedar Rapids, IA)

“We’ve been married for 22 years and driving as a team for the last 12 years. One of us drives during the day and the other takes over at night as we transport freight all across the US. We absolutely love what we do and the freedom it provides us at this point in our lives. Weather and traffic can be a bit frustrating at times, but the pay is great and we get to see some of the most beautiful scenery together. Don Hummer Trucking has been great to work for and we look forward to many more years of driving with them. Don’t sweat the small stuff and always try to look at the bigger picture of what life has to offer.”

 

Delivery Driver

RES - Realistic, Enterprising, Social

Typical Education/Training: High School Diploma/HSED  

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years      

Wage Range: $12 - $21/hour

Deliver different types of supplies, equipment, and other packages safely and in accordance with all transportation rules, laws, and regulations. May assist with the collection of money, offering product or route recommendations, and building relationships with customers. May include the potential for sales or performance-based wage compensation. Vehicle size, cargo, and length of routes may require specialized license, endorsement, or certification, such as a Class C CDL.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Driving & Operating Vehicles

2) Reliability & Time Management

3) Transportation Safety & Laws

4) Sales & Negotiation

5) GPS & Route Logging Technology

6) Customer & Personal Service

Similar Roles/Titles: Driver, Route Driver, Order Delivery, Sales Route Driver, Truck Driver

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/ Energy, Specialized

 

School Bus & Shuttle Driver

RCS - Realistic, Conventional, Social

Typical Education/Training: High School Diploma/HSED + Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years      

Wage Range: $13 - $23/hour

Drive buses, vans, shuttles, and other vehicles to transport students and primarily young, elderly, injured, or disabled passengers safely and on-time. May also collect fares, check tickets or passes, monitor and record route or vehicle maintenance needs, and assist passengers in safely boarding or exiting vehicles. Vehicle type, size, and length of routes may require specialized license, endorsement, or certification, such as a Class B CDL.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Driving & Operating Vehicles

2) Reliability & Time Management

3) Transportation Safety & Laws

4) Customer & Personal Service

5) Communication & Conflict Resolution

6) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

Similar Roles/Titles: Bus Driver, Shuttle Bus Driver, Customer Transport Driver, Customer Access Driver, Paratransit Driver

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/ Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Specialized

 

Dispatcher

CRE - Conventional, Realistic, Enterprising

Typical Education/Training: High School Diploma/HSED

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years

Wage Range: $14 - $22/hour

Schedule, monitor, and dispatch drivers, equipment, or service vehicles to transport people or distribute products, materials, and other resources throughout a designated service area or region. Use various forms of radio, digital, telecommunications, and advanced technology to interact with drivers while in the field, provide weather or other hazardous alerts, and remotely monitor vehicle factors like location, speed, and service or repair needs.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Communication & Active Listening

2) Computers & Technology

3) Accurate Time & Record Keeping

4) Transportation & Remote Monitoring

5) Data Gathering & Analysis

6) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

Similar Roles/Titles: Route Dispatcher, Dispatch Manager, Operations Dispatcher, Route Controller, Truck Dispatcher

Typical Work Environments: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

City Bus & Public Transit Operator

RSC - Realistic, Social, Conventional

Typical Education/Training: High School Diploma/HSED + Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years      

Wage Range: $14 - $28/hour

Drive buses, motor coaches, vans, and other public vehicles to transport different types and ages of passengers safely and on-time. May collect fares or tickets from customers, inspect vehicles or monitor performance for necessary repairs or routine maintenance needs, and assist passengers in safely boarding or exiting vehicles. Vehicle type, size, and length of routes may require specialized license, endorsement, or certification, such as a Class B CDL.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Driving & Operating Vehicles

2) Reliability & Time Management

3) Transportation Safety & Laws

4) Customer & Personal Service

5) Communication & Conflict Resolution

6) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

Similar Roles/Titles: Bus Driver, Charter Bus Driver, Motor Coach Operator, Public Transit Driver, Intercity Bus Driver

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/ Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Specialized

 

Short-Haul Truck Driver

RCS - Realistic, Conventional, Social

Typical Education/Training: Technical Certificate/Diploma + Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years      

Wage Range: $18 - $28/hour

Drive trucks and larger vehicles over established routes or within a regional territory within state lines to deliver supplies, products, and other resources. Maneuver trucks into loading or unloading positions, maintain strong relationships with customers, and assist with product, route, and sales recommendations or improvements. Specialized certifications or CDL endorsements may be required based on factors like type of vehicle, weight, or cargo.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Driving & Operating Vehicles

2) Reliability & Time Management

3) Loading & Unloading Cargo

4) Safety Regulations & Procedures

5) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

6) Transportation Technology & GPS Systems

Similar Roles/Titles: Truck Driver, Local Truck Driver, Materials Hauler, Delivery Driver, Short Route Driver, Over-the-Road Driver (OTR Driver)

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/ Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

Long-Haul Truck Driver

RCS - Realistic, Conventional, Social

Typical Education/Training: Technical Certificate/Diploma + Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years

Wage Range: $21 - $31/hour

Drive large trucks and tractor trailers over established interstate routes or within a national territory to deliver supplies, products, and other resources, primarily to commercial or industrial customers and work sites. Maneuver trucks into loading or unloading positions, maintain strong relationships with customers, and assist with product, route, and sales recommendations or improvements. Specialized certifications or CDL endorsements may be required based on factors like types of trailer, weight, or cargo.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Driving & Operating Vehicles

2) Reliability & Time Management

3) Loading & Unloading Cargo

4) Safety Regulations & Procedures

5) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

6) Transportation Technology & GPS Systems

Similar Roles/Titles: Truck Driver, Materials Hauler, Heavy Equipment Operator, Line Haul Driver, Over-the-Road Driver (OTR Driver)

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/ Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

Captain & Water Transit Operator

RSC - Realistic, Social, Conventional

Typical Education/Training: Technical Certificate/Diploma            

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years      

Wage Range: $23 - $32/hour

Oversee the operation and maneuvering of vessels on rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water for the transport of different types of passengers or supplies, equipment, and other cargo. May collect fares or tickets from customers, inspect vessels for necessary repairs or routine maintenance needs, and monitor cargo manifests for reporting or related performance needs. Vessel type, size, and location or length of routes may require specialized license or certification.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Driving & Operating Watercraft

2) Reliability & Time Management

3) Maritime Transit Safety & Laws

4) Customer & Personal Service

5) Communication & Active Listening

6) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

Similar Roles/Titles: Boat Captain, Charter Boat Captain, Ferry Boat Captain, Tugboat Operator, Barge Operator

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Agricultural, Power/ Energy, Specialized

 

Train & Rail Transit Operator

RCI - Realistic, Conventional, Investigative

Typical Education/Training: Technical Certificate/Diploma            

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years      

Wage Range: $27 - $38/hour

Operate electric, diesel, gas-turbine, steam, or hybrid locomotives to transport passengers or freight safely and on- time. Interpret train orders, electronic or manual signals, and rail transit rules and regulations. May collect fares or tickets from customers, inspect engines or rail cars for necessary repairs or routine maintenance needs, and monitor cargo manifests. Engine or vehicle type, size, and location or length of routes may require specialized license or certification.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Driving & Operating Train & Rail Vehicles

2) Reliability & Time Management

3) Rail Transit Safety & Laws

4) Customer & Personal Service

5) Communication & Active Listening

6) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

Similar Roles/Titles: Locomotive Engineer, Railroad Engineer, Train Engineer, Trainmaster, Rail Transportation Specialist

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Agricultural, Power/ Energy, Specialized

 

Commercial Airline Pilot

RIE - Realistic, Investigative, Enterprising

Typical Education/Training: Associate’s Degree + Commercial Pilot’s License (CPL)             

Work Experience: 4 - 7 years      

Wage Range: $24 - $40/hour

Pilot and navigate the flight of airplanes, jets, helicopters, and other aircraft to transport passengers, cargo, and other equipment, supplies, or resources safely and on- time. May assist with the inspection or monitoring of aircraft and alert mechanics, maintenance techs, or other service staff to repair or service needs. Aircraft type, size, and location or length of routes may require additional specialized licensure or certification.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Flying & Operating Aircraft

2) Inspection & Attention to Detail

3) Aviation Safety & Laws

4) Computers & Technology

5) Customer & Personal Service

6) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

Similar Roles/Titles: Captain, Charter Pilot, First Officer, Helicopter Pilot, Flight Engineer

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Specialized

 

HAZMAT/Specialty Truck Driver

RCS - Realistic, Conventional, Social

Typical Education/Training: Technical Certificate/Diploma + Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)

Work Experience: 4 - 7 years      

Wage Range: $26 - $40/hour

Drive vehicles designed to transport hazardous materials (HAZMAT) and other dangerous, flammable, or specialized chemicals, fuels, and products. Check vehicles to ensure functioning mechanical, safety, and emergency equipment. Maneuver trucks into loading or unloading positions, maintain strong relationships with customers, and assist with product, route, and sales recommendations or improvements. Specialized certifications, endorsements, or licenses required based on factors like types of trailer, weight, or cargo.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Driving & Operating Vehicles

2) Reliability & Time Management

3) Handling & Transporting Hazardous Materials

4) Safety Regulations & Procedures

5) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

6) Transportation Technology & GPS Systems

Similar Roles/Titles: HAZMAT Truck Driver, HAZMAT Specialist, Master Truck Driver, Over-the-Road Driver (OTR Driver), CDL A Truck Driver

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/ Energy, Specialized

 

Transportation Supervisor

ECR - Enterprising, Conventional, Realistic

Typical Education/Training: High School Diploma/HSED  

Work Experience: 4 - 7 years      

Wage Range: $27 - $36/hour

Directly supervise and coordinate the activities of drivers, dispatchers, material-moving machine operators, and support staff. Plan, lead, and teach members of the transportation team regarding new vehicles, equipment, technology, or safety and regulatory standards. Create or read transportation and distribution reports and advise management of proposed updates or recommendations to ensure compliance and long-term success and profitability.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Transportation & Distribution Systems

2) Computers & Technology

3) Management & Leadership

4) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

5) Accurate Time & Record Keeping

6) Safety Regulations & Procedures

Similar Roles/Titles: Fleet Manager, Operations Supervisor, Transportation Foreman, Route Manager, Transportation Planner

Typical Work Environments: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

Director of Transportation

ECS - Enterprising, Conventional, Social

Typical Education/Training: Bachelor’s Degree   

Work Experience: 8+ years          

Wage Range: $33 - $48/hour

Plan, direct, and coordinate the general operations of a transportation and distribution company or system. Communicate policies, manage daily operations, review financial statements or performance data, and plan the use of materials and human resources to keep operations running smoothly and profitable. Examine existing policies for opportunities to streamline staffing, processes, systems, or procedures to meet transportation and distribution goals.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Management & Leadership

2) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

3) Accounting & Finance

4) Transportation & Distribution Systems

5) Safety Regulations & Procedures

6) Customer & Personal Service

Similar Roles/Titles: Operations Manager, Site Director, Operations Director, Transportation Director, Director of Distribution

Typical Work Environments: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

SAFETY & MAINTENANCE - THE FIXERS

Occupations in the Safety & Maintenance family focus on keeping everything and everyone safe! They help protect the lives and well-being of not only their coworkers on the road or work site, but everyone else who lives, works, and shares a broader community.

These professionals work hard to ensure the vehicles, equipment, facilities, roads, and other structures within our communities are clean, safe, and efficient. They carefully inspect new or existing vehicles and equipment, provide recommendations to improve safety or efficiency, and maintain existing structures or interconnected supply chain systems in accordance with all applicable rules, regulations, and laws.

Advanced computers, handheld devices, and even augmented or virtual reality technologies are used to help inspect and diagnose current or potential issues, sometimes even remotely from an office or home setting. As organizations continue to add more of these high-tech vehicles and equipment, additional skilled and tech-savvy maintenance workers and technicians will be needed to install, inspect, and maintain them.

Many of these occupations will require some technical training or certification in addition to a high school diploma or equivalent. To be the best, they also need to stay updated on new vehicles or equipment, health and safety certifications, and other rules, regulations, or training. Regulatory and technological changes will also continue to expand these roles and how they are practiced.

Someone who appreciates following the rules, working with their hands, and doing things the right way the first time will do well in these careers. From the open road to the work site, they play a critical role in getting everyone and everything safely to where they need to go.

 

CAREER SPOTLIGHT: Andy S. - Dealer Maintenance Supervisor for Peterbilt of Sioux City (Sioux City, IA)

“I supervise and inspect the work of our maintenance and service teams to ensure customers are happy and everything is repaired correctly and safely. I first learned about this type of    work during a career fair in high school. I appreciate that no two days are the same and there is always a challenge of taking a customer’s problem and finding a solution to get them back   on the road. My advice for someone thinking about a career as a diesel tech is to stick with it; the need will always be there.”

 

Safety Technician

CRI - Conventional, Realistic, Investigative

Typical Education/Training: Technical Certificate/Diploma            

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years      

Wage Range: $14 - $22/hour

Observe, collect, and maintain data on work environments, vehicles, machinery, and other equipment for analysis by occupational health and safety specialists. Prepare findings and provide recommendations where necessary to improve health or safety and to limit chemical, physical, biological, and ergonomic risks to workers. May assist in training employees on driving, operation, or work site safety equipment and policies.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Health & Safety Regulations

2) Customer & Personal Service

3) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

4) Active Listening & Questioning

5) Mathematics, Physics, & Measuring

6) Inspection & Data Analysis

Similar Roles/Titles: Occupational Health & Safety Technician, Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) Technician, Health and Safety Tech, Project Safety Assistant, Transportation Safety Professional

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/ Energy, Specialized

 

Maintenance & Repair Worker

RCI - Realistic, Conventional, Investigative

Typical Education/Training: High School Diploma/HSED  

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years      

Wage Range: $15 - $23/hour

Assists in keeping machines, vehicles, equipment, facilities, or building grounds repaired and in safe working order. Diagnose mechanical, structural, or safety problems and determine how to correct them by checking blueprints, repair manuals, technical journals, or parts catalogs. Assist other maintenance and janitorial staff to ensure compliance with environmental, air, and noise quality standards.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Machine Maintenance & Repair

2) Comprehend & Follow Instructions

3) Mechanical & Diagnostic Tools

4) Inspection & Problem Solving

5) Safety Regulations & Procedures

6) Hazardous Materials & Disposal

Similar Roles/Titles: Maintenance Crew, Maintenance Technician, Repair Technician, Equipment Technician, Maintenance Mechanic

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/ Energy, Specialized

 

Vehicle Service & Mechanic

RIC - Realistic, Investigative, Conventional

Typical Education/Training: Technical Certificate/Diploma

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years

Wage Range: $15 - $25/hour

Inspect, test drive, repair, and service automotive vehicles that have been damaged or are in need of routine maintenance, such as oil changes, brake replacement, and tire alignments. Use digital, diagnostic, and hand tools to develop and provide cost estimates or quotes for customers prior to replacing parts or providing services. May specialize in certain models, types, or systems, such as transmissions or foreign vehicles.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Vehicle Maintenance & Repair

2) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

3) Hand, Mechanical, & Digital Tools

4) Computers & Technology

5) Customer & Personal Service

6) System Diagnostics & Attention to Detail

Similar Roles/Titles: Automotive Mechanic, Automotive Tech, Vehicle Service Specialist, Automotive Repair Specialist, ASE Master Mechanic

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/ Energy, Specialized

 

Mechanical Technician

CIR - Conventional, Investigative, Realistic

Typical Education/Training: Technical Certificate/Diploma            

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years      

Wage Range: $17 - $26/hour

Modify, develop, test, and calibrate machinery and equipment, generally under the direction of engineering staff or mechanics. Read dials, test sample data, and analyze findings to determine safe and efficient operating performance of vehicles, machinery, and equipment throughout the transportation and distribution process. Provide recommendations for improvements or repairs.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Machine Maintenance & Repair

2) Attention to Detail & Inspection

3) Safety Regulations & Procedures

4) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

5) Basic Engineering & Technology

6) Mechanical Tools, Equipment, & Systems

Similar Roles/Titles: Mechanical Engineering Technician, Mechanical Designer, Engineering Lab Technician, Engineering Technical Analyst, Engineering Technician

Typical Work Environments: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

Heavy Equipment & Diesel Mechanic

RCI - Realistic, Conventional, Investigative

Typical Education/Training: Technical Certificate/Diploma            

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years      

Wage Range: $18 - $26/hour

Inspect, diagnose, adjust, repair, and maintain electronic, mechanical, hydraulic, and pneumatic equipment or vehicles used in the transportation and distribution process, sometimes in the field, with hand, power, and digital tools. Dismantle, test, and order replacement parts when necessary to keep machinery and equipment running safely and efficiently. May specialize based on various aspects like vehicle, component, or fuel types.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Mechanical Tools, Equipment, & Systems

2) Attention to Detail & Inspection

3) Safety Regulations & Procedures

4) Hand, Power, & Welding Tools

5) Computers & Technology

6) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

Similar Roles/Titles: Diesel Technician, Industrial Mechanic, Equipment Technician, Field Mechanic, Field Service Technician

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/ Energy, Specialized

 

Industrial Machinery Mechanic

RIC - Realistic, Investigative, Conventional

Typical Education/Training: Technical Certificate/Diploma

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years

Wage Range: $19 - $27/hour

Install, adjust, and maintain industrial production, processing, storage, and distribution machinery. Analyze diagnostic test results, error messages, and information from equipment operators to diagnose and repair problems. Inspect, operate, and test newly repaired machinery or equipment to verify operation and safety. Use tablets and other advanced technology to observe and report findings.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Mechanical Tools, Equipment, & Systems

2) Attention to Detail & Inspection

3) Safety & Quality Control

4) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

5) Hand, Power, & Welding Tools

6) Computers & Technology

Similar Roles/Titles: Industrial Mechanic, Machine Adjuster, Maintenance Mechanic, Master Mechanic, Machine Overhauler

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/ Energy, Specialized

 

Maintenance/Fleet Supervisor

ECR - Enterprising, Conventional, Realistic

Typical Education/Training: Technical Certificate/Diploma            

Work Experience: 4 - 7 years      

Wage Range: $25 - $36/hour

Directly supervise and coordinate the activities of mechanics, techs, installers, and repairers of vehicles, materials handling and storage equipment, or distribution machinery and related facilities. Plan, lead, and teach members of the maintenance team regarding new equipment or safety and regulatory standards. Create or read maintenance reports and advise management of proposed updates or repairs.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Facilities & Equipment Maintenance

2) Computers & Technology

3) Management & Leadership

4) Mathematics & Diagnostics

5) Mechanical Tools & Equipment

6) Safety Regulations & Procedures

Similar Roles/Titles: Facilities Manager, Facility Maintenance Supervisor, Maintenance Foreman, Maintenance Manager, Maintenance Planner

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Agricultural, Power/ Energy, Specialized

 

Safety Specialist

ICR - Investigative, Conventional, Realistic

Typical Education/Training: Associate’s Degree 

Work Experience: 4 - 7 years      

Wage Range: $21 - $34/hour

Review and evaluate vehicles, equipment, and work environments for health and safety concerns. Make recommendations and design programs or procedures to help protect workers from potentially hazardous chemical, physical, and environmental factors. May conduct inspections and enforce laws and regulations governing the health and safety of all employees within a work site, driving route, or facility.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Health & Safety Regulations

2) Computers & Technology

3) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

4) Active Listening & Communication

5) Mathematics, Physics, & Measuring

6) Inspection & Data Analysis

Similar Roles/Titles: Safety Officer, Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) Officer, Health and Safety Manager, Safety Consultant, Occupational Health & Safety Specialist

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/ Energy, Specialized

 

Lead/Specialty Mechanic

IRC - Investigative, Realistic, Conventional

Typical Education/Training: Associate’s Degree

Work Experience: 8+ years

Wage Range: $26 - $40/hour

Research, inspect, and test engines, machines, and other mechanically functioning equipment and how they interact with one another as part of a larger interconnected system for transportation and distribution services. Oversee installation, operation, maintenance, and repair of vehicles or equipment based on factors like budget, staffing, and time. May assist in supervising and training mechanics, technicians, and other support staff.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Mechanical Tools, Equipment, & Systems

2) Attention to Detail & Inspection

3) Safety Regulations & Procedures

4) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

5) Hand, Power, & Welding Tools

6) Advanced Engineering & Technology

Similar Roles/Titles: Mechanical Engineer, Mechanic Supervisor, Master Mechanic, Lead Service Technician, Automotive Engineer

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/ Energy, Specialized

 

Maintenance/Fleet Manager

ECI - Enterprising, Conventional, Investigative

Typical Education/Training: Bachelor’s Degree   

Work Experience: 8+ years          

Wage Range: $24 - $41/hour

Plan, direct, and coordinate the activities of all workers involved in the maintenance of structures, vehicles, facilities, and interconnected or related transportation and distribution systems. Assist in the planning, research, and implementation of operations, including overseeing higher level safety, financial, and regulatory compliance aspects with front-line supervisory staff and their teams.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Facilities & Equipment Maintenance

2) Management & Leadership

3) Finance & Accounting

4) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

5) Sales & Negotiation

6) Safety Regulations & Procedures

Similar Roles/Titles: Director of Maintenance, Fleet Director, Operations Manager, Facilities Maintenance Coordinator, Director of Facilities

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/ Energy, Specialized

 

Safety Director

ERC - Enterprising, Realistic, Conventional

Typical Education/Training: Bachelor’s Degree   

Work Experience: 8+ years          

Wage Range: $25 - $45/hour

Plan, direct, and coordinate the activities of an organization to ensure compliance with safety, regulatory, and quality standards throughout the entire transportation, distribution, and logistics process from the raw materials to final sale and regular maintenance or upkeep. Oversee the inspection, safety, and maintenance teams, training employees and consulting with other department heads and higher level management.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Health & Safety Regulations

2) Management & Leadership

3) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

4) Active Listening & Communication

5) Accounting & Finance

6) Inspection & Data Analysis

Similar Roles/Titles: Compliance Officer, Occupational Health Director, Site Safety Director, Director of Compliance, Safety Engineer

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/ Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

SOURCING & PURCHASING – THE EQUIPPERS

Occupations in the Sourcing & Purchasing family focus on keeping everyone supplied! They are a critical part of the transportation, distribution, and logistics process that equips drivers, workers, and teams from the other occupation families to do their best work each and every day.

These professionals forecast current and future project supply needs, negotiate with suppliers to get the best prices, order new or replacement parts, materials, and  other resources, and finally help to ensure everything is transported safely and quickly to the work site to keep projects and deliveries on-time. This is often easier said than done because of various factors, such as severe weather, supply shortages, transportation issues, and other potential set-backs.

Many of these occupations will require advanced education or training in addition to a high school diploma or equivalent. Experience in the industry may serve as a replacement, however, to help professionals “speak the language” when researching or purchasing vehicles, equipment, fuel, materials, and other necessary supplies.

Someone with initiative, enjoys supporting others, and is able to deal with uncertainty will do well in these careers. An eye for detail and ability to think quickly is also often needed to solve sudden issues and stay ahead of potential supply shortages.

 

CAREER SPOTLIGHT: Jessica G. - Procurement Auditor for MidAmerican Energy Company (Des Moines, IA)

“I spend most of my time reviewing purchases of fuel, equipment, and other supplies needed for our workers to do their job. I like working with numbers and data, so this is a perfect fit for me. I work with lots of different types of people from various departments or locations around the state also, so no two days are the same. My goal is to continue to learn and advance into a senior level management position here at MidAmerican. The sky is the limit for these types of careers!”

 

Materials Inspector & Tester

CRI - Conventional, Realistic, Investigative

Typical Education/Training: High School Diploma/HSED  

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years      

Wage Range: $14 - $23/hour

Inspect, sample, test, and grade materials, parts, and products for defects, wear, and other differences or variations from specifications. May use precision measuring instruments and complex test equipment in a lab, warehouse, production floor, distribution center, or other external job sites. Communicate findings to materials purchasers, clerks, and other related sourcing or quality control professionals.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Attention to Detail & Inspection

2) Analytical & Scientific Software

3) Comprehend & Follow Instructions

4) Mathematics & Measuring

5) Quality Control & Safety

6) Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

Similar Roles/Titles: Materials Reviewer, Materials Grader, Quality Control Technician, Quality Inspector, Quality Technician

Typical Project Types: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/ Energy, Specialized

 

Procurement Clerk

REI - Realistic, Enterprising, Investigative

Typical Education/Training: High School Diploma/HSED  

Work Experience: 0 - 3 years      

Wage Range: $15 - $21/hour

Compile information, prepare reports, and update records to develop purchase orders for procurement of goods, materials, and services to assist cost estimators, materials purchasers, and other sourcing professionals. Review, analyze, and pay bills for related products or services. May also assist with comparing prices, specifications, and delivery dates to determine the best bid among potential suppliers.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Materials Inspection & Monitoring

2) Gather & Analyze Data

3) Computers & Technology

4) Basic Accounting & Contracts

5) Communication & Critical Thinking

6) Safety & Quality Control

Similar Roles/Titles: Procurement Assistant, Materials Assistant, Procurement Specialist, Purchasing Assistant, Purchasing Clerk

Typical Project Types: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

Cost Estimator

CEI - Conventional, Enterprising, Investigative

Typical Education/Training: Associate’s Degree

Work Experience: 4 - 7 years

Wage Range: $19 - $26/hour

Research, prepare, and deliver cost estimates to aid in project bidding or determining price of associated products or services, sometimes specializing on specific aspects or types of projects throughout a transportation and distribution system. Consult with engineers, technicians, contractors, suppliers, and other professionals when necessary. May also assist with negotiation and financing processes or procedures.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Supply Chain Systems & Transportation

2) Accounting & Finance

3) Mathematics & Measuring

4) Sales & Negotiation

5) Analytical Thinking & Problem Solving

6) Project & Time Management

Similar Roles/Titles: Project Estimator, Cost Analyst, Cost and Risk Analysis Manager, Cost Consultant, Cost Engineer

Typical Project Types: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/ Energy, Specialized

 

Materials Purchaser

ECS - Enterprising, Conventional, Social

Typical Education/Training: Associate’s Degree 

Work Experience: 4 - 7 years      

Wage Range: $20 - $31/hour

Purchase resources and materials necessary for transportation and distribution services. Analyze past buying trends, pricing history, sales records, usage data, and quality of merchandise to determine value and yield. Select, order, and authorize payment for equipment and supplies according to contractual agreements. May also assist with contract negotiation and project bidding procedures.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Mathematics & Statistics

2) Sales & Negotiation

3) Computers & Technology

4) Business & Finance Fundamentals

5) Communication & Relationship Management

6) Basic Contract Language & Analysis

Similar Roles/Titles: Purchasing Buyer, Purchasing Agent, Buyer, Procurement Agent, Materials Coordinator

Typical Work Environments: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

Procurement Auditor

CEI - Conventional, Enterprising, Investigative

Typical Education/Training: Bachelor’s Degree   

Work Experience: 8+ years          

Wage Range: $23 - $38/hour

Oversee and audit all purchases made by a company to ensure legal, safety, and ethical guidelines are being followed by all associated departments and personnel. Prepare and present detailed reports on audit findings and recommendations. Consult with company officials about financial and regulatory matters currently or potentially impacting the industry and associated contracts or partners.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Accounting & Mathematics

2) Financial Regulations & Laws

3) Advanced Computers & Technology

4) Analytical & Critical Thinking

5) Records Inspection & Examination

6) Contracts & Procurement Procedures

Similar Roles/Titles: Procurement Review Auditor, Purchasing Auditor, Assurance Manager, Financial Auditor, Internal Audit Director

Typical Work Environments: Mobile, Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/ Energy, Specialized

 

Materials Manager

ECS - Enterprising, Conventional, Social

Typical Education/Training: Bachelor’s Degree

Work Experience: 8+ years

Wage Range: $28 - $47/hour

Plan, direct, or coordinate the activities of buyers, purchasing officers, and related workers involved in purchasing and transporting materials, products, and services used throughout the transportation and distribution process. Locate, interview, and negotiate contracts with suppliers and vendors to maintain a consistent and reliable supply of materials and inventory in a profitable manner to ensure long-term growth.

Knowledge & Skills:

1) Supply Chain Systems & Transportation

2) Management & Leadership

3) Communication & Organization

4) Complex Problem Solving Skills

5) Sales & Negotiation

6) Warehouse & Inventory Management

Similar Roles/Titles: Inventory Supervisor, Inventory Manager, Purchasing Manager, Director of Purchasing, Transportation Supplies Manager

Typical Work Environments: Commercial/Industrial, Warehouse/Storage, Distribution Center, Office, Lab, Agricultural, Power/Energy, Specialized

 

ADDITIONAL CAREER OPTIONS - THERE IS A CAREER FOR EVERYONE IN TRANSPORTATION, DISTRIBUTION, & LOGISTICS!

Don’t see a career you like? This document is not meant to cover every possible career option in this industry in Iowa, so don’t worry if you don’t see something that immediately grabs your attention or seems to match your career interest type.

There are a wide range of additional career options available that are necessary for all types of businesses, regardless of industry, size, or location. Below are just a few examples of where you might also fit within this exciting and fulfilling industry.

 

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY – A wide range of careers that focus on the use of computers and other technology to receive, store, transmit, and work with different types of information and data.

COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS, CYBER SECURITY ANALYSTS, NETWORK ENGINEERS, HELP DESK SUPPORTS, GRAPHIC DESIGNERS, AND WEB DEVELOPERS.

 

HUMAN RESOURCES – Those in charge of overseeing various aspects of employment for a company, such as recruitment, employee benefits, and compliance with labor laws.

HIRING MANAGERS, BENEFITS COORDINATORS, TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT SPECIALISTS, PAYROLL ADMINISTRATORS, AND RECRUITERS.

 

ADMINISTRATIVE AND FINANCIAL SERVICES – A group of support careers that assist in the day-to-day operations of a successful company, such as keeping track of finances, monitoring government regulations, and administrative support to other departments.

ACCOUNTANTS, FINANCIAL ANALYSTS, INSURANCE AGENTS, FINANCIAL ADVISORS, AND SUPPORT CLERKS.

 

SKILLED AND MECHANICAL TRADES – Buildings and facilities take a lot of time and work to maintain, so companies sometimes employ specialized workers or contractors to keep a facility properly maintained and running smoothly, in addition to leading any expansion efforts.

PLUMBERS, ELECTRICIANS, HEATING AND AIR CONDITION TECHNICIANS, CONSTRUCTION WORKERS, AND INDUSTRIAL PAINTERS.

 

EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT – A team of individuals at the highest level of management of an organization who oversee the mission, vision, and general tasks of managing an organization.

PRESIDENTS, VICE PRESIDENTS, CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICERS (COO), CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICERS (CIO), AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICERS (CEO).

 

NEXT STEPS & PLANNING RECOMMENDATIONS

This document was meant to begin the conversation about the great career opportunities available in transportation, distribution, and logistics in Iowa. Below are some additional recommendations for next steps readers can take to continue their career exploration journey. Utilize the basic career exploration plan and notes sections on the next few pages to begin putting thought into action. Links have been provided to help guide readers to additional online resources.

STUDENTS AND JOB SEEKERS

FUTURE READY IOWA CAREER COACH – The free interactive Career Coach tool at FutureReadyIowa.gov is a great way for students and job seekers of all ages to learn more about their career interests and research specific occupations, including the ability to customize labor market information, education offerings, and employer listings to their specific geographic location. The new Clearinghouse for Work-Based Learning also allows students to tackle projects to learn more about different industries and gain real-world experience, regardless of where they are located in Iowa.

VOLUNTEER, JOB SHADOWS, OR TOURS – Contact an employer directly to ask questions, learn about current openings, and request either a site tour or job shadow opportunity for a better idea of what it would be like to work for them. Internships and volunteering are also great opportunities to earn experience, build up a resume, and test out a career before making any long-term and expensive career decisions. Consult with counselors, educators, and the Iowa Intermediary Network for local opportunities or visit VolunteerIowa.org to search for additional openings. Also consider joining a local chapter of the student organization SkillsUSA to meet employers, gain industry skills, and compete in statewide and national challenge events.

EARN SKILLS AND CERTIFICATIONS – Many careers in this industry will rely on some foundational skills and certifications that can be earned relatively easily and affordably by students and job seekers proactively before entering the workforce. Some schools even have dual-enrollment or pre-apprenticeship agreements that allow students to earn college credit, apprenticeship technical requirements, and even full industry certifications before graduating. Having these skills, experience, and certifications will increase your chances of landing a great job compared to others who have not taken any such action to improve themselves.

EMPLOYERS, EDUCATORS, AND COMMUNITY SUPPORT PARTNERS

WORK-BASED LEARNING INTERMEDIARY NETWORK – The Iowa Intermediary Network is made up of 15 regional networks that serve as a single one-stop point of contact by connecting businesses and schools with work-based learning opportunities. These can include job shadows, internships, site tours, guest speakers, and educator externships. Contact your regional Intermediary and access the Work-Based Learning Guide to learn more about setting up a successful local work-based learning experience. With adult supervision and appropriate privacy and safety measures, youth under the age of 18 can work in this industry.

IOWA STEM TEACHER EXTERNSHIPS – Teachers across Iowa have the opportunity to take advantage of an externship program, where during the summer, they work side- by-side with knowledgeable and skilled industry professionals who help bring the classroom curriculum to life. Teacher Externships are full-time, six-week temporary summer positions in local businesses and agencies for secondary STEM educators. Teachers earn a stipend of up to $4,800 (including two days of professional development), as well as one graduate credit through the University of Northern Iowa’s Continuing Education program. Teacher Externships provide educators with the exposure to answer questions about real-world application, prepare students for careers they may have in the future, and improve educational experiences. Visit IowaSTEM.gov/externships to learn more and apply for these great opportunities.

SECTOR PARTNERSHIPS AND BOARDS – Employers, educators, and other community support partners can take a more active role in training and developing their local workforce by meeting to collaborate on local education, economic, and community issues. These employer-led groups are often referred to as sector partnerships   or sector boards. There are currently over 60 of them spread throughout Iowa, with a growing number devoted exclusively to various aspects of transportation, distribution, and logistics. More information, group locations, contact information, and resources can be found at SectorPartnerships.EducateIowa.gov.

 

*Disclaimer: This product does not necessarily reflect the official position of the Iowa Department of Education. The Iowa Department of Education makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership. This product is copyrighted by the Iowa Department of Education. Internal use by any organization and/or personal use by an individual for noncommercial purposes is permissible. All other uses require prior authorization. Revisions and/or corrections made when necessary.

 

 

 

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on September 30, 2020 at 1:47am.