a dark blue TraitLab logo
Sign up

Have an account? Sign in

Career profile Transportation Inspector

Also known as Cargo Surveyor, Inspector, Marine Cargo Surveyor, Marine Surveyor, Petroleum Inspector, Surveyor

Transportation Inspector

Also known as Cargo Surveyor, Inspector, Marine Cargo Surveyor

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Enterprising
Pay Range
$35,560 - $132,710 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Speaking
  • Active Listening
Knowledge Areas
  • Transportation
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Mathematics
Core tasks
  • Calculate gross and net tonnage, hold capacities, volumes of stored fuel and water, cargo weights, and vessel stability factors, using mathematical formulas.
  • Visually inspect cargo for damage upon arrival or discharge.
  • Measure vessels' holds and depths of fuel and water in tanks, using sounding lines and tape measures.
Is Transportation Inspector the right career path for you?

Would Transportation Inspector be a good fit for you?

Explore how your personality fits with Transportation Inspector and hundreds of other career paths.

Get started with TraitLab

What does a Transportation Inspector do?

Transportation Inspectors inspect equipment or goods in connection with the safe transport of cargo or people.

In addition, Transportation Inspectors includes rail transportation inspectors, such as freight inspectors, rail inspectors, and other inspectors of transportation vehicles not elsewhere classified.

What kind of tasks does a Transportation Inspector perform regularly?

Transportation Inspectors are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Prepare and submit reports after completion of freight shipments.
  • Inspect shipments to ensure that freight is securely braced and blocked.
  • Record details about freight conditions, handling of freight, and any problems encountered.
  • Advise crews in techniques of stowing dangerous and heavy cargo.
  • Recommend remedial procedures to correct any violations found during inspections.
  • Observe loading of freight to ensure that crews comply with procedures.
  • Inspect loaded cargo, cargo lashed to decks or in storage facilities, and cargo handling devices to determine compliance with health and safety regulations and need for maintenance.
  • Notify workers of any special treatment required for shipments.
  • Direct crews to reload freight or to insert additional bracing or packing as necessary.
  • Check temperatures and humidities of shipping and storage areas to ensure that they are at appropriate levels to protect cargo.
  • Determine cargo transportation capabilities by reading documents that set forth cargo loading and securing procedures, capacities, and stability factors.
  • Read draft markings to determine depths of vessels in water.

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

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
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.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

What is a Transportation Inspector salary?

The median salary for a Transportation Inspector is $78,400, and the average salary is $81,320. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Transportation Inspector salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Transportation Inspectors earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Transportation Inspectors earn less than $35,560 per year, 25% earn less than $54,580, 75% earn less than $107,200, and 90% earn less than $132,710.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Transportation Inspectors is expected to change by 4.5%, and there should be roughly 3,300 open positions for Transportation Inspectors every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$35,560 - $132,710
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Transportation Inspectors?


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 Transportation Inspector are usually higher in their Realistic and Conventional interests.

Transportation Inspectors typically have very 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.

Also, Transportation Inspectors typically have very strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.


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 Transportation Inspector tend to value Support, Working Conditions, and Relationships.

Most importantly, Transportation Inspectors moderately value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Transportation Inspectors moderately value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Lastly, Transportation Inspectors 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 Transportation Inspectors must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, integrity, and attention to detail.

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

Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

What education and training do Transportation Inspectors need?

Many Transportation Inspectors will have a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Transportation Inspectors usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Educational degrees among Transportation Inspectors

  • 5.8% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 27.9% completed high school or secondary school
  • 30.6% completed some college coursework
  • 14.1% earned a Associate's degree
  • 17.9% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 3.0% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.7% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Transportation Inspectors

Transportation Inspectors may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as transportation, customer and personal service, or mathematics knowledge.

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

Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
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.
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
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.
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.

Important Abilities needed by Transportation Inspectors

Transportation Inspectors 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, Transportation Inspectors need abilities such as oral expression, oral comprehension, and written comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Transportation Inspectors, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
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.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

Critical Skills needed by Transportation Inspectors

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.

Transportation Inspectors frequently use skills like reading comprehension, speaking, and active listening to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Transportation Inspectors, ranked by their relative importance.

Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
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.
Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

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.