Becoming a Freight Mover: Salary Information & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a freight mover career? Get real job descriptions, outlook estimates and salary info to see if becoming a freight mover is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Freight Mover Career

A freight mover is part of a warehouse team that manually transports materials. The following pros and cons can help you decide if this is career is right for you.

Pros of Being a Freight Mover
Ideal for sociable people who work well on teams**
A variety of shifts are available*
Minimal training required*
Employment growth of 10% from 2012-2022*

Cons of Being a Freight Mover
Occupation has high injury rates*
Physical stamina required**
Job duty flexibility needed for daily operations**
Warehouse environment is not climate-controlled**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*NET OnLine.

Essential Career Information

Job Description

A freight mover, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), is a professional who operates machines or physically moves freight materials into and out of transit vehicles or storage spaces ( These workers also need to take materials out of incoming trucks when new shipments arrive. Often, freight movers use small vehicles to move materials or they do this by hand or through a conveying machine. These workers mark the shipments with a receipt, either electronically or physically, to help note when the materials were stored, when they were shipped or who moved the material.

Job Duties

The job requires logistical skills to navigate goods and materials into the proper storage areas, as well as record-keeping skills to notarize that a shipment has been moved. Organizational skills are also important: O*NET notes that many freight movers must arrange materials on freight pallets for easy distribution ( This includes packing materials into properly secured boxes, placing the boxes onto a transport pallet correctly and securing all the materials to the pallet before moving it into a vehicle or storage area.

Salary Information and Career Outlook

The average annual salary of a freight mover, according to the BLS, was $27,180 as of May 2014. The BLS projected that there would be a 10% growth in employment between 2012 and 2022 for freight movers. This rate may be influenced by consumer demand and technological innovation, which would cut the amount of workers needed to move materials.

Career Requirements

Education and Training

The BLS stated that many employers desire a job candidate to at least hold a high school diploma or its equivalent, but there is no mandatory education requirement. Training for the job typically lasts a few weeks and takes place under the supervision of a more experienced worker. The BLS also noted that training should include the safety standards of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

What Do Employers Look For?

Employers tend to value physical strength and performance above education and training. Licensure to drive may also be a necessity. The following opportunities and stipulations come from real job postings that were live as of April 2012:

  • An Ohio company needs freight movers with experience operating a forklift and being able to lift 100 pounds of materials with their hands. They need to demonstrate that they can use the forklift to move materials and shipments across the facility and into trucks.
  • An Ohio company needs a loader and unloader who has a valid driver's license. The loader and unloader needs to meet the company's physical requirements.
  • An Arkansas company needs a part-time freight handler. The person must show a certified driving report and must be able to demonstrate their physical abilities, such as lifting, pulling and pushing.

How to Stand Out

According to the O*NET, muscle strain may occur for many freight workers. To minimize injuries and increase for your output on a labor team, you should stay physically fit. Even if you drive a freight truck, you need to be careful and cautious in the workplace at all times. You should be cognizant of all safety laws and trends and incorporate them into your daily routines. This might include keeping current with OSHA guidelines, even if your workplace doesn't explicitly require it.

Other Careers to Consider

Recyclable and Refuse Collector

If you want to work with shipping materials, but in a newer, ecologically conscious occupation, you might enjoy recyclable and refuse material collectors. Recyclable and refuse material collectors work as material movers, taking people and businesses recyclable waste to facilities where they are broken down, reused or ecologically disposed of in environmentally safe ways. Products that are not reusable are transported to garbage facilities that will store and break down the products over time. The BLS estimated that this occupation would see 20% growth between 2010 and 2020 because of the trend in recycling. The median salary for these workers was about $32,000 as of 2011.

Heavy-Truck Driver

If you want to work in freight, but want to move beyond the warehouse, you can become a truck driver. A truck driver transports the freight to its destination, usually within a defined route. You typically drive heavy trucks or tractor-trailers for the job, meaning you need a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) for your home state. The BLS predicted 21% employment growth across the 2010-2020 decade for these workers, who earned a median salary of about $38,000 as of 2011.

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