Freight agents are responsible for organizing, tracking and billing cargo shipments of all kinds. The work involves coordinating with customers regarding goods to be shipped, method of shipment, special requirements for shipping, customs, tracking shipments, local pickup and delivery, and invoicing. Most freight agents are employed by freight brokers or freight companies, but some work on a freelance or contract basis. The work of a freight agent today involves considerable computer skills as well as an ability to interact effectively with clients. Most freight agent positions only require a high school diploma, but some freight agents aspiring to be freight brokers pursue a college eduction. Some freight agents entering the field today have taken courses (offered at technical schools and community colleges as well as online) to learn the job. Freight brokers must be licensed and post a surety bond, but this is not required for freight agents.
Earn your high school diploma and/or take a course to become a freight agent.
Sharpen your computer skills and educate yourself about the cargo and shipping industry, including usual and unusual shipping methods, typical rates to common locations, hazardous shipping regulations and so forth. If you are trying to break into the field, it is important to demonstrate that you have done your homework and are ready to hit the ground running when your employer hires you.
Apply for a job as a freight agent at local shipping and freight companies. Most jobs are listed online today (at least on a pro forma basis), so searching for freight agent jobs on the Internet is a good place to start. Unless you already have connections in the industry, it is best to work for a freight company for at least a couple of years to learn the ropes before you try to become an independent freight agent (or broker).
Pay attention and work hard during your on the job training. Unless you are blessed with an exceptional memory, it is a good idea to take step-by-step notes of operational procedures. It is a good idea to review the notes later. First impressions are critical, and it is important that you learn all the skills you are going to need to perform your job.
Consider taking almost any kind of a job at a shipping or trucking company to get your foot in the door, and you can move up to freight agent in a year or two.