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Career profile Cargo Supervisor

Also known as Cargo Supervisor, Ground Operations Supervisor, Line Service Supervisor (LSS), Loadmaster, Ramp and Cargo Supervisor, Ramp Supervisor

Cargo Supervisor

Also known as Cargo Supervisor, Ground Operations Supervisor, Line Service Supervisor (LSS)

Interests Profile
  • Enterprising
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$35,920 - $86,530 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Critical Thinking
  • Management of Personnel Resources
  • Active Listening
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Transportation
Core tasks
  • Calculate load weights for different aircraft compartments, using charts and computers.
  • Determine the quantity and orientation of cargo, and compute an aircraft's center of gravity.
  • Direct ground crews in the loading, unloading, securing, or staging of aircraft cargo or baggage.
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What does a Cargo Supervisor do?

Cargo Supervisors supervise and coordinate the activities of ground crew in the loading, unloading, securing, and staging of aircraft cargo or baggage.

In addition, Cargo Supervisors

  • may determine the quantity and orientation of cargo and compute aircraft center of gravity,
  • may accompany aircraft as member of flight crew and monitor and handle cargo in flight, and assist and brief passengers on safety and emergency procedures,
  • includes loadmasters.

What kind of tasks does a Cargo Supervisor perform regularly?

Cargo Supervisors are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Determine the quantity and orientation of cargo, and compute an aircraft's center of gravity.
  • Direct ground crews in the loading, unloading, securing, or staging of aircraft cargo or baggage.
  • Train new employees in areas such as safety procedures or equipment operation.
  • Distribute cargo to maximize use of space.

The above responsibilities are specific to Cargo Supervisors. More generally, Cargo Supervisors are involved in several broader types of activities:

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others
Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

What is a Cargo Supervisor salary?

The median salary for a Cargo Supervisor is $53,610, and the average salary is $59,620. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Cargo Supervisor salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Cargo Supervisors earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Cargo Supervisors earn less than $35,920 per year, 25% earn less than $42,430, 75% earn less than $76,600, and 90% earn less than $86,530.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Cargo Supervisors is expected to change by 11.8%, and there should be roughly 1,400 open positions for Cargo Supervisors every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$35,920 - $86,530
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Cargo Supervisors?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Cargo Supervisor are usually higher in their Enterprising and Realistic interests.

Cargo Supervisors typically have very strong Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Also, Cargo Supervisors typically have strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Cargo Supervisor tend to value Support, Independence, and Relationships.

Most importantly, Cargo Supervisors strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Cargo Supervisors strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Cargo Supervisors moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Cargo Supervisors must consistently demonstrate qualities such as integrity, self-control, and dependability.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Cargo Supervisors, ranked by importance:

Job requires being honest and ethical.
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

What education and training do Cargo Supervisors need?

Working as a Cargo Supervisor usually requires a high school diploma.

Cargo Supervisors need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Cargo Supervisors

  • 7.0% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 35.6% completed high school or secondary school
  • 29.6% completed some college coursework
  • 10.8% earned a Associate's degree
  • 13.5% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 2.9% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.5% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Cargo Supervisors

Cargo Supervisors may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, public safety and security, or transportation knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Cargo Supervisors might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.

Important Abilities needed by Cargo Supervisors

Cargo Supervisors must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Cargo Supervisors need abilities such as oral comprehension, oral expression, and problem sensitivity in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Cargo Supervisors, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Far Vision
The ability to see details at a distance.

Critical Skills needed by Cargo Supervisors

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Cargo Supervisors frequently use skills like critical thinking, management of personnel resources, and active listening to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Cargo Supervisors, ranked by their relative importance.

Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Management of Personnel Resources
Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.