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Production Planner: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Production planners require a little amount of formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and optional certifications to see if this is the right career for you.

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Individuals who wish to become production planners should demonstrate exceptional organizational skills. They might also consider completing an undergraduate degree program or attaining related work experience and industry certifications to give themselves an advantage in the job market.

Essential Information

Production planners use their knowledge of supply chain and distribution management to improve the production and distribution process. A college degree and professional certification aren't necessarily required, though they may help job seekers find employment.

Required Education High school diploma minimum; associate's or bachelor's degree may be preferred by some employers
Other Requirements Strong organizational skills
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 2.1% for all production, planning and expediting clerks
Mean Salary (2015)* $48,210 for all production, planning and expediting clerks

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description

Production planners, also known as production schedulers, managers, controllers and coordinators, are involved in the logistics of supply chain management. Most of their time is spent on business and organizational aspects of producing and distributing products. As noted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for production, planning and expediting clerks was expected to grow by 2.1% between 2014 and 2024, much slower than average. The average annual wage for these professionals was $48,210 as of May 2015, with most workers in this field earning between $27,190 and $73,270 annually.

Duties

Production planners are in charge of organizing paperwork, such as purchase orders and delivery schedules review orders. Most tasks involve keeping and updating records and information, as well as coordinating purchasing with clients and co-workers. It is the job of the production planner to ensure smooth operations throughout the production and distribution life of a given product. Accordingly, duties may also include monitoring production rates and raw material prices, contacting vendors and checking inventories.

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Requirements

The BLS notes that production planners don't need a college degree. O*Net Online confirms this and in 2016 reported that 36% of production, planning and expediting clerks held only a high school diploma or its equivalent. High school students may consider courses in mathematics, statistics and business operations to prepare for this career.

Educational Requirements

While many times a high school diploma is sufficient, a job search conducted in December 2014 on Monster.com indicated that some employers may prefer applicants who have completed an associate's or a bachelor's degree program. Students may consider majoring in business, supply chain management or logistics among other fields. College coursework may include topics in purchasing management, transportation, operations management, international logistics and inventory management.

Work Experience and Certification

Some companies may favor job seekers who have professional experience, while others may hire applicants who have attained industry certifications, like the Advancing Productivity, Innovation and Competitive Success (APICS) Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) credential. The APICS CPIM program consists of professional training and a series of exams meant not only to increase knowledge, but also showcase ability as well. Once certified, these professionals must complete 75 points of continuing education every five years. Points are awarded for attending APICS conferences and participating in other approved events.

While there is only a 2.1% job growth projected for production planners within the next decade, there are still opportunities for individuals to secure a position in this field. Classes in mathematics, statistics and business or management may be useful in boosting a graduate's potential for employment. Those who obtain a position as a production planner could earn about $48,000 annually.

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