The same time-management and planning skills that will help you succeed in a supply chain management career can also leave you feeling frustrated about the time it takes to earn a degree. You need a college education to work in supply chain management, but by choosing the right degree program, you can get your degree faster. There are many options for speeding up the time it takes to get your supply chain management degree, including degree completion programs, programs that award prior learning credit, programs with an accelerated structure and dual degree programs.
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Degree Completion Programs in Supply Chain Management
If you previously started a college education, a degree completion program could be your ticket to quickly earning your bachelor’s degree in supply chain management. Degree completion programs are specifically made for students – often, adult or nontraditional students – who have a considerable amount of college credits to transfer. Typically, it doesn’t matter if your previous major was in a different subject, because these credits count toward general education requirements or electives.
The Bachelor of Science in Supply Chain, Transportation and Logistics Management program at Nebraska’s Bellevue University is one example of a degree completion program in the supply chain field. Although Bellevue students need to complete 127 credits for graduation, only students who already have a minimum of 60 college credits – the equivalent of an associate’s degree – are considered for admission into the accelerated cohort program. That drops the time it takes to earn your bachelor’s degree from four years to just two years.
Has so much time passed since your last college endeavor that you’re afraid your credits are too old to transfer? Degree completion programs may be more lenient than traditional programs when it comes to transferring credits that were earned some time ago.
Prior Learning Credits and Supply Chain Management Degrees
What about workers who have little or no formal college education, but plenty of on-the-job training and experience? This scenario is particularly relevant in the field of logistics and supply chain management, in which workers often start out as dispatchers, clerks or other logistical support personnel or develop their skills through military training, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. In a conventional bachelor’s degree program, all of this work and life experience might not count toward your degree at all.
For students with much more work experience than education history, a program that awards prior learning credit for experiences beyond the classroom is an ideal choice. The online bachelor’s degree program in Supply Chain and Logistics Management from Rasmussen College can be completed in just 18 months if students are able to take advantage of the full amount of transfer credit allowed and complete the maximum number of courses per term. Rasmussen College’s Flex Choice learning options include self-directed assessments, competency-based coursework that awards credit for the projects you complete and prior learning credit for professional certifications, military transcripts and other training experiences. Other programs, like the Bachelor of Business Administration in Supply Chain Management degree at Tennessee State University, offer portfolio assessment credit options.
Students should know that they may have to pay for self-directed assessments that award credits – but these assessments often cost considerably less than a full-credit, semester-long college course and require less time.
Accelerated Course Formats
Traditional college programs operate on a schedule that consists of two main semesters, each 15 to 16 weeks long. Students might complete four or five courses during these fall and spring semesters. This makes for a difficult workload to balance, especially for working students. In an accelerated degree program, students take classes on a modified schedule. A term may last eight or even just four weeks and focus on just one or two classes, and students often complete many more terms, in many cases studying year-round.
The accelerated Bachelor of Science in Supply Chain Management degree at DeSales University in Center Valley, PA, is an undergraduate program that uses an accelerated format. Students can choose from online or evening on-campus formats. Terms run year-round and range from as little as three weeks to as long as eight weeks.
Students can also look for accelerated program structures at the graduate level. The Master of Science in Supply Chain Management degree offered online by Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ, operates on an accelerated schedule of eight-week terms.
Prospective students should know that accelerated course schedules don’t always equate to a shorter time to graduate. A program with accelerated terms could still take the same total amount of time but be structured so that students take fewer courses at once.
4+1 Dual Degree Supply Chain Management Programs
Students who are eager to earn a graduate degree, as well as a bachelor’s degree, could benefit from choosing a “4+1” dual degree program. These popular programs allow students to start working toward their master’s degree even before they graduate with their undergraduate degrees. The accelerated dual degree program at Rutgers University allows students in its Bachelor of Science in Supply Chain Management degree to complete six graduate credits during their undergraduate years of study. These credits count toward both the bachelor’s degree and the Master of Science in Supply Chain Analytics (MSCA) degree, allowing students to finish the graduate degree in one year instead of two.
Often, undergraduate students in a 4+1 program start taking their graduate courses – one to two per semester – during their senior year of study.