10 of the best-paying jobs in transportation

top-paying transportation jobs

10 of the best-paying jobs in transportation.

Sick of the daily grind and looking for a job that provides a little more flexibility - and maybe a little adventure? Consider a job in transportation. Believe it or not, the transportation industry offers a wide range of jobs requiring various skills and requirements. Perhaps most surprisingly, many of these jobs pay quite well. Using Emsi data, we looked at some of the highest-paying jobs in transportation that will see significant growth over the next few years. Take a look and consider if a job in transportation is right for you.

The following jobs are projected to grow at least 5 percent over the next five years and pay $15 or more an hour.

1. Bus drivers, transit and intercity

What they do*: Transport people between various places—including work, school and shopping malls—and across state or national borders. Some drive regular routes, while others perform chartered trips or sightseeing tours.

Training/certification needed: A commercial driver's license (CDL), which can sometimes be earned during on-the-job training.

Average hourly earnings: $19.41

2. Captains, mates and pilots of water vessels

What they do: Command or supervise operations of ships and water vessels, such as tugboats and ferryboats.

Training/certification needed: A license issued by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Average hourly earnings: $40.04

3. Commercial pilots

What they do: Commercial pilots fly and navigate airplanes, helicopters and other aircraft. Unlike airline pilots, who fly for airlines that transport people and cargo on a fixed schedule, commercial pilots fly aircrafts for other purposes, such as charter flights, rescue operations, firefighting and aerial photography.

Training/certification needed: High school diploma or equivalent as well as a commercial pilot's license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Average hourly earnings: $40.43

4. Crane and tower operators

What they do: Operate mechanical boom and cable or tower and cable equipment to lift and move materials, machines or products in many directions.

Training/certification needed: According to O*NET, completion of vocational school, an associate's degree and/or related on-the-job experience is required.

Average hourly earnings: $26.06

5. Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers

What they do: Transport goods from one location to another. Most tractor-trailer drivers operate trucks with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) capacity exceeding 26,000 pounds and deliver goods over intercity routes - sometimes spanning several states.

Training/certification needed: Typically, a high school diploma and completion of professional truck driving school, along with a CDL.

Average hourly earnings: $20.13

6. Industrial truck and tractor operators

What they do: Operate industrial trucks or tractors equipped to move materials around a warehouse, storage yard, factory, construction site or similar location.

Training/certification needed: A high school diploma, in most cases, and on-the-job training.

Average hourly earnings: $16.47

7. Refuse and recyclable material collectors

What they do: Collect and dump refuse or recyclable materials from containers into a truck. May also drive the truck.

Training/certification needed: On-the-job training and, in some cases, a CDL.

Average hourly earnings: $17.22

8. Sailors and marine oilers

What they do: Stand watch to look for obstructions in the path of a vessel, measure water depth, turn wheel on bridge, or use emergency equipment as directed by captain, mate or pilot.

Training/certification needed: Oftentimes, an endorsement certificate from the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) from the Transportation Security Administration and a Merchant Marine Credential (MMC).

Average hourly earnings: $20.55

9. Ship engineers

What they do: Supervise and coordinate activities of crew engaged in operating and maintaining engines, boilers, deck machinery and electrical, sanitary, and refrigeration equipment aboard ship.

Training/certification needed: In most cases, completion of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy program (or one of the state marine academies).

Average hourly earnings: $37.11

10. Tank car, truck and ship loaders

What they do: Load and unload chemicals and bulk solids, such as coal, sand and grain into or from tank cars, trucks or ships using material moving equipment.

Training/certification needed: Typically, a high school diploma along with on-the-job training and/or completion of a recognized apprenticeship program, according to O*NET.

Average hourly earnings: $19.70

*Unless otherwise stated, all information about job functions and training/certifications required comes from the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

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