Logistics Engineer: Job Description and Education Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a logistics engineer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

A logistics engineer uses science and mathematics to ensure that consumer goods and services are being distributed in a way that is most efficient and profitable. Most people in this profession hold a bachelor's degree but many opt for a master's degree or special certification.

Essential Information

Logistics engineers apply the scientific and mathematical principles of engineering to the process of distributing consumer goods and services in order to build a more efficient infrastructure. An undergraduate degree is required to work in the field, although some employers may desire job candidates to have a master's degree. Certification is also available to people in this field.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Optional master's degree and/or certification
Projected Job Growth* 2% between 2014 and 2024 (logisticians)
Median Salary (2015)* $74,260 (logisticians)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for Logistics Engineers

The word logistics applies to the process by which goods and services are distributed. Logistics engineers are in charge of designing and analyzing the systems employed in distributing those goods and services. They evaluate all aspects of methods of distribution (typically called a supply chain) with the ultimate goal of improving efficiency, thus generating higher profits for their employers.

Because logistics engineers are concerned with the entire supply chain, their job requires a large variety of tasks. Logistics engineers handle inventory, process orders, plan warehouse layouts and help design product packaging to maximize shipping efficiency. In general, they use their knowledge of science and math to construct the most streamlined, efficient method of product distribution possible.

Logistics engineers must have a basic familiarity with business practices, as the relationship between supplier, distributor and customer is paramount to their industry. However, logistics engineers work much more behind the scenes of the consumer world, ensuring the basic relationships on which our global economy runs function smoothly.

Education and Certification Requirements

According to October 2010 job listings on Careerbuilder.com, employers searching for a logistics engineer require candidates to have at least a bachelor's degree. Usually, a degree in engineering or logistics and transportation is desirable. Some employers prefer potential hires to have a master's degree in the same fields. At both the undergraduate and graduate level, colleges and universities even offer courses that specifically teach logistical engineering. This particular training may be valued by employers.

In addition, employers may look for engineers who have earned a CTL (Certification in Transportation and Logistics). To obtain this, those interested must be a member of the American Society of Transportation and Logistics (ASTL) and have completed an undergraduate program of study or gained three years of professional experience. Those individuals must then pass six exams administered by the ASTL. The exams cover topics such as logistics management and finance.

Salary and Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of logisticians is expected to increase by 2% from 2014 to 2024. The BLS reported that these workers made a median annual salary of $74,260 as of May 2015.

Logistics engineers must have great mathematical and logistics skills, as well as a thorough understanding of scientific principles related to distribution. Other attributes that are welcome in a logistics engineer include: observant, precise and critical thinker.

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