Becoming a Shipping Manager: Salary & Job Description

About this article
A shipping manager earns an average salary around $93,000 a year, but is the payout worth the training requirements? Read real job descriptions and learn the truth about career prospects to decide if becoming a shipping manager is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Shipping Manager Career

Shipping managers oversee all operations relevant to processing goods at a distribution center, including training and supervising a warehouse work team. The pros and cons of this career are explained below.

Pros of Being a Shipping Manager
Salary of approximately $93,000***
Lead a distribution center*
Choose and train workplace personnel to your standards*
Variety to each day, depending on what needs to be done when*

Cons of Being a Shipping Manager
Years of education and experience may be necessary**
Must be consistently accurate with orders*
Communication/negotiation skills determine an efficiency and viability*
Average growth rate for positions (5% between 2012-2022)***

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

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a shipping manager coordinates shipping and distribution activities from a distributions facility. O*NET states that a shipping manager also organizes the activities at the distribution center in terms of placing, storing and timing when shipments are sent out (www.onetonline.org).

Salary and Outlook Prospects

According to the BLS, the median salary for shipping managers as of May 2014 was about $85,000. The lowest-earning 10 percent earned a salary of about $50,000, while the top-earning 10 percent earned approximately $146,000. The BLS expected that the employment growth rate for shipping managers would grow at a rate of 5% between 2012 and 2022.

Education and Training Requirements

Salary.com states as of 2012 that a bachelor's degree and eight years' work experience may be necessary to become a shipping manager. According to the BLS as of 2010, many shipping managers have more than five years of experience in logistics and shipping, but a high school education or its equivalent may be all that's mandatory to access this role.

What Do Employers Look For?

Job positions highlight the need for managers that have the proven work experience and education to understand logistics. Most employers also desire experience with business administration, because managers need to evaluate performance and suggest ways to enhance productivity of workers. The following job listings are available as of April 2012:

  • A New York shipping company needs a manager who can prioritize tasks and manage about 50 employees. The manager needs to think on his or her feet and decide how to establish logistical plans for shipping out multiple loads each day. This person must also communicate with customers about invoices and shipment details, such as when the shipment will arrive.
  • An Oregon shipping company needs a manager who can coordinate with agricultural growers and ship time-sensitive crops to vendors and scientists. The job candidate must demonstrate good cost-benefit analysis and have a background in international shipping.
  • A Kentucky shipping company needs a manager who overlooks a few supervisors and their employees. The candidate must have thorough knowledge of the company policies and enforce them to all employees and supervisors. The candidate needs to analyze center performance, simulate projections on a computer system and inform supervisors and employees what certain customers or executives want from work performance.

How to Get an Edge in the Field

Shipping managers need strong communication skills to successfully work with both vendors and facility workers. Taking classes on speech and writing - or otherwise working to improve in this area, such as soliciting feedback from colleagues - can help a job candidate stand out in this field. Because employers value logistics experience, letters of recommendation and a stellar prior work reputation can also go a long way for those seeking shipping management roles.

Certification Options

The American Society of Transportation and Logistics offers certifications that may be relevant for shipping managers or those hoping to attain the position. For example, there is a professional designation in logistics and supple chain management (PLS) certification option. This recognizes managers in the field with a core of knowledge, skills and values that are integral to leadership roles in the industry. Individuals must complete a course of study and pass an exam. The PLS credential needs to be updated every five years.

Alternative Careers to Consider

Industrial Manager

If you want to help supply goods rather than ship them, you can work as an industrial manager. Industrial managers direct the operations at manufacturing and industrial plants. They make sure that all products created in the plant meet legal and company police guidelines. At the same time, like a shipping manager, they must conduct frequent cost-benefit analysis to actions, performance simulations and investments to help save money and increase output. The average salary for industrial managers was higher than that of shipping managers, at about $96,000 as of 2011, per the BLS; however, the job outlook for this position is expected to be slower than average from 2010-2020, stated O*Net.

Management Analysts

If you want to focus on cost-benefit analysis and consultation, then a management analyst job may be for you. A management analyst conducts efficiency reports to analyze the performance of a business, including those in the logistics field. He or she recommends suggestions to the managerial approaches. The average annual salary for management analysts was about $88,000 as of 2011, per the BLS, which is about the same as the estimate for shipping managers. The field should see faster-than-average growth of 20%-28%, reported O*Net; however, employers may prefer candidates with an advanced degree, such as an MBA, according to the BLS.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Purdue University Global

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      • AASBA in Small Business Management
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    2. Saint Leo University

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    Bachelor's
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      • AA: Business Administration
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    3. Georgetown University

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      • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
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      • MS - Management
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    5. American University

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      • MBA - General
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Featured Schools

Purdue University Global

  • Master : Business Admin
  • BS in Business Administration - Supply Chain Management and Logistics
  • Associate: Business Admin.

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Saint Leo University

  • BA: Business Administration - Project Management
  • BA: Business Administration - Management
  • AA: Business Administration

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Georgetown University

  • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

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Colorado State University Global

  • MS - Management
  • BS - Business Management
  • Undergraduate Certificate - Project Management

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American University

  • Master of Science in Agile Project Management
  • Master of Science in Measurement and Evaluation

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Utica College

  • MBA - General

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Grand Canyon University

  • DBA - Management
  • M.B.A. with an Emphasis in Project Management
  • Bachelor of Science in Business for Secondary Education

What is your highest level of education?

South College

  • Bachelor of Business Admin w/Con Project Mgt
  • Bachelor of Business Administration
  • Associate of Science in Business Administration

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