How to Become a Freight Broker in California

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Becoming a freight broker may be a rewarding career path for the right person, one that makes it easier for you to make good money out of high school without a lot of training.

Some brokers may even start a business as a freight broker and make even better money.

Here’s what you need to know about getting started in this field.

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Get information on Freight Broker/Agent Training programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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Freight Broker Duties in California 

As a freight broker, you work as an intermediary or middle person between two businesses.

You identify, assess, and commission the transportation of goods for a shipper and make sure that they reach the proper destination on time.

You do this by setting up and using a large network of processes that help improve efficiency.

Other job duties include:

  • Generating leads for sales for your client 
  • Collecting data about goods and properly storing it
  • Carefully negotiating prices, including quotes and payments 
  • Working with a carrier to ensure that they can haul goods proper 
  • Track, manage, and update a good’s journey to the shipper and buyer 
  • Handle any emergencies that may occur during the shipment 
  • Finalize the delivery process to ensure success 
  • Create and manage relationships with all team members 
  • Make sure all documents reach the proper point on time

Licensing Requirements to Become a Freight Broker in California 

Like most states, California doesn’t have a specific licensing law for freight brokers.

Instead, you must obtain a license nationally through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

First, you start by registering with this organization to receive a DOT number.

Then, you must apply for a license with the FMCSA and pay a $300 application fee.

Things that you’ll need to receive this license include:

  • Show that you have a $75,000 surety bond to start your business 
  • Prove that you have appropriate cargo and general liability 
  • Highlight that you have a freight agent available in all states in which you do business

At this point, you can start looking for jobs or open up a freight broker business if you prefer.

However, you can also obtain a Certified Transportation Broker or CTB certification with the Transportation Intermediaries Association or TIA.

This certification costs $800 for non-members or $675 for members, with exam costs of $375 for members and $525 for non-members.

Certification isn’t required but provides many benefits, including:

  • Proving that you understand the job duties of this role
  • Increasing your knowledge of this career field 
  • Improving your potential earnings by boosting your credibility 
  • Enhancing your business profile in many ways

Note that you don’t have to join the TIA to take the exam and get certified.

However, it’s usually a better idea to do so because you will get many benefits, such as a network of contacts that you can use to find better jobs and build stronger connections in the freight business.

Typically, it costs very little to join this organization and maintain your membership.

Freight Broker Programs in California

Here are a few training options for freight brokers in California that you may want to consider:

San Diego State University San Diego State University 

Offers a freight broker program that helps you understand the job duties as well as obtain your licenses

Stanislaus State Extended and International EducationStanislaus State Extended and International Education

Which offers an online training option for freight brokers that teaches laws and operations

Brooke Training Brooke Training Solutions

Is a specialized freight broker training school that will give you hands-on experience in this exciting field

Freight Broker Schools in California – Summary Table

School Name Address
San Diego State University 5500 Campanile Dr, San Diego, CA 92182, United States
Stanislaus State Extended and International Education Stanislaus State One University Circle Turlock, California 95382, United States
Brooke Training 120, 5005, 5005 Colleyville Blvd #120, Colleyville, TX 76034, United States

Salary for a Freight Broker in California 

As a freight broker, you can make about $36,417 to $41,129 in California, with a median salary of $38,753.

For a job that requires minimal training and no college experience, that’s a pretty solid wage.

Note that some freight brokers may make even more money if they’re skilled enough to set up a business.

Going into operation for yourself may potentially double or triple your income, though you’re at a higher risk of total loss and must work hard to stay solvent.

Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary
Los Angeles $53,822
San Diego $51,734
San Jose $60,164
San Francisco $59,924
Long Beach $53,453
Fresno $48,035
Sacramento $51,914
Oakland $58,486
Santa Ana $53,500
Anaheim $53,572

Regional Salary in California

Region Employed Avg. Annual Salary Avg. Hourly Pay Top 10% Annual Salary Bottom 10% Annual Salary
Bakersfield, CA50$52,780$25.38$91,050$33,590
El Centro, CA50$45,500$21.88$62,470$30,420
Fresno, CA110$46,710$22.46$61,660$30,460
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA7,340$52,250$25.12$73,330$35,430
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA40$45,460$21.86$57,020$31,460
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA970$48,670$23.4$68,260$35,690
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA310$48,360$23.25$64,550$35,360
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA680$47,640$22.91$62,760$33,220
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA1,280$58,060$27.92$79,620$39,520
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA180$54,100$26.01$76,360$31,450
Stockton-Lodi, CA100$46,540$22.38$61,010$36,790
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA50$49,910$23.99$78,420$31,630
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Cargo and Freight Agents, OCC Code 43-5011, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is This a Good Salary for California?

According to, the average salary in California is $89,000 per year.

That’s more than the median of a freight broker in the state.

Does this mean you shouldn’t become one?

No, because California is filled with many high-earning people, and you can make more than the median as a freight broker if you start a business and work hard at maintaining it.

Do You Have to Pay to Renew Your License?

Yes, you must pay regular relicensing fees to keep your freight broker business in operation.

Typically, it costs about $300 per year or so.

Note that you’ll also have to pay your surety bond back over the years to avoid defaulting.

Is Certification Worth It?

Though it costs extra money to stay certified, it’s typically a great idea for freight brokers.

There are many people who may compete with you in this field in California, meaning you need to do what you can to stand out.

Getting certification ensures that you at least compete with these professions and can potentially help you make more money at the same time.

Freight Broker Info by State

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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