If you have a knack for coordinating the logistics of projects, processes and events, you might be considering a supply chain management (SCM) education. There are numerous jobs you could get with a degree in supply chain management or logistics. Although these occupations generally are seeing average rates of job growth, they are still expected to add many new job opportunities over the next decade – and a combination of your education and experience can help you advance through this high-paying career field.
Job Prospects in Supply Chain Management
A degree in supply chain management prepares students to work in various capacities that are involved in coordinating the movements and transfers of supplies ranging from raw materials to manufactured goods. Because an organization’s supply chain can be quite complex, there are a lot of jobs you can do with a supply chain management degree.
One of the first career paths graduates of a supply chain management degree program may pursue is logistician. This non-managerial role involves analyzing and overseeing the supply chain, earning a median salary of $74,590. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that jobs for logisticians will increase by seven percent, or 10,300 new jobs, over a decade. That puts job growth in this career on par with the growth rate the BLS is anticipating for all occupations. The more senior-level role of supply chain manager, with its $105,610 median salary, is also seeing an average rate of growth.
Another career you could have with a supply chain management degree is transportation, storage, distribution or logistics manager. With a near-six-figure median wage of $92,460, this lucrative role typically requires a minimum of five years of work experience, the BLS reported. The occupation is growing at an average rate, with the BLS predicting a seven percent increase in career opportunities, or 7,800 new jobs, over a decade. While not always required, a college education is often helpful in attaining one of these roles. In fact, 60 percent of logistics managers, 50 percent of storage and distribution managers and 41 percent of transportation managers have a bachelor’s degree.
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Other jobs you could pursue once you earn your supply chain management degree include operations manager and purchasing agent or manager. While operations managers are responsible for the full range of an organization’s operations, not just the aspects dealing with a supply chain, having that supply chain expertly coordinated is crucial to the company’s overall success. The BLS expects jobs for general and operations managers, who already include well over 2,200,000 workers in America, to increase by nine percent, or 205,200 jobs. Among these occupations, purchasing managers have the best job outlook, with the BLS predicting a five percent growth rate that will add 4,000 new jobs.
Purchasing agents and managers also play an important part in the supply chain. Their job is to acquire supplies – whether those supplies are the ingredients and materials used in manufacturing or the inventory of products sold in a retail store – that are an important part of the supply chain. The number of jobs for buyers and purchasing agents is actually decreasing – but the BLS is expecting that there will still be more job opportunities in these entry-level positions than in senior-level purchasing manager roles.
A quarter of all logisticians work for the manufacturing industry, while a fifth of logisticians work for the government, according to the BLS.
Getting a Job in Supply Chain Management
The first step to getting a job in the field of supply chain management is to earn a degree in SCM or in logistics. Some logisticians start off their careers with an associate’s degree, but generally, a bachelor’s degree is the minimum amount of education you need if you want to work in supply chain management, the BLS reported. In fact, 67 percent of supply chain managers who hold job titles like Global Supply Chain Vice President, Supply Chain Director and Material Requirements Planning Manager have a bachelor’s degree. Another 19 percent of supply chain managers have gone on to earn a master’s degree, while an additional 10 percent chose to pursue a post-baccalaureate certificate in supply chain management.
In addition to earning your undergraduate degree or going back to school for your graduate SCM studies, you can enhance your job prospects in this career field in other ways. Professional certification through an organization such as the International Society of Logistics (SOLE) or APICS can improve your job prospects in logistics. So can attaining more work experience, especially in capacities that expose you to the use of logistical software such as supply chain management (SCM) suites, enterprise resource planning (ERP) suites and warehouse management systems (WMSs).
Many supply chain management professionals get their start working in the military, often in logistical support roles, the BLS reported. Often, logisticians who work for the armed forces focus on coordinating the transport of military personnel and supplies.