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Materials Planner: Job Description & Career Info

Materials planners require little formal education. Learn about the training, job duties, and certification options to see if this is the right career for you.

Essential Information

Materials planners receive project plans and information from other departments and use this information to determine what materials will be needed and when. Other administrative tasks vary by employer but may include managing inventory or coordinating supplier payments with accounting or purchasing departments. In addition to a high school diploma, materials planners are often expected to have knowledge of the industry in which they are working and the nature of the materials used in the business; a college degree and/or professional certification can improve employability or career advancement.

Required Education High school diploma or equivalent; some employers may require a relevant undergraduate degree, such as in supply chain management or business
Other Requirements Voluntary professional certification
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 1%
Median Annual Salary (2014)** $50,686 for entry-level jobs

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Salary.com

Education and Certification Requirements

Education

Employers expect materials planners to have at least a high school diploma; however, higher-paid positions often require an associate's or a bachelor's degree. Some employers specify desirable majors, which may include business, supply chain management, or finance. In addition, some employers may also want their materials planners to have training in Six Sigma or other quality management protocols.

Certification

Many employers require materials planners to hold some type of professional certification, such as the Association for Operations Management's Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) designation. To earn the CPIM, an individual must have at least two years of on-the-job experience and pass a series of five exams. Candidates for certification are not required to hold a college degree, although those who earn the CPIM designation must complete professional development activities, such as continuing education classes, to maintain their certification.

Salary Levels

Salary.com reported in November 2014 that entry-level materials planners earned a median salary of $50,686. The website also reported that intermediate materials planners earned a median annual salary of $57,562, while senior-level planners earned $70,172 during the same time period.

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