Logistics College and University Degree Program Options

Students seeking a career in logistics have a variety of educational opportunities at their disposal. Learn about different programs and the requirements to attend them, as well as courses to expect and career prospects.

Essential Information

Logisticians are responsible for product production or acquisition, distribution, delivery, and resource disposal. Students interested in entry-level careers in logistics can pursue associate's degrees in business logistics management. Those who want to become logistics specialists or managers can complete bachelor's degree programs in logistics management, which may offer specializations in sales, management, or marketing. Bachelor's holders have the education to become certified. Those who complete master's degrees in logistics have a range of job options in the logistics and supply chain management field.

Associate of Applied Science in Business Logistics Management

An A.A.S. degree program in Business Logistics Management combines the study of business and management essentials with practical training in relevant logistics technology and computer information systems. Students in this associate's degree program learn to communicate effectively with employees, review supply and demand trends, and coordinate product delivery. Emphasis is placed on critical-thinking and diligent record-keeping as it relates to supply chain management. Other topics of instruction include inventory control, warehouse and distribution management, traffic management, and international logistics.

Prospective students must have a high school diploma or its equivalent to apply and may be required to demonstrate proficiency in basic math and writing skills through an assessment test.

Associate's degree programs in business logistics management are typically two-year programs. Courses focus on materials handling, economics of transportation and distribution, materials requirement planning, and principles of traffic management. Some common core courses include:

  • Introduction to business
  • Principles of management
  • Management information systems
  • Introduction to supply chain management
  • Leadership and human resource management
  • Software applications for logistics

Bachelor of Arts in Logistics Management

This program focuses on the effective management of supply chains. Students learn to enhance customer service, reduce inventory costs, and help organizations become more competitive in a global market. Other topics of instruction include transportation regulations, strategic planning, logistics cost analysis, and the use of information technology in supply chain management. The logistics major can choose to concentrate on the operations track, which focuses on marketing and sales, or the systems track, which trains students to analyze data for strategic planning.

Most B.A. programs in logistics management take four years of study to complete and often include an internship with a local firm. After completing this program, students are eligible to become professionally certified by the American Society of Transportation and Logistics. Common coursework includes:

  • Principles of purchasing management
  • Finance and economics for managers
  • Inventory and warehouse management
  • Transportation systems management
  • Introduction to operations management
  • Leadership and organizational behavior

Master of Science in Logistics & Supply Chain Management

Students in this program learn to design, implement, and manage an organization's logistics and supply chain systems to achieve competitive objectives within the global marketplace. Leadership, management, and analytical skills are highly emphasized within the context of the supply chain. Other topics of study include database modeling, inventory control, and demand forecasting. Students are required to complete and defend a thesis project based on original research in the field of logistics, which will emphasize technical writing and presentation skills.

The most common educational prerequisite for a master's program in logistics is a bachelor's degree, preferably in a related field, such as engineering or mathematics. Common admissions requirements include minimum GRE scores and undergraduate GPA.

A master's program in logistics and supply chain management consists of lectures, case studies, and industry interaction. Common core coursework includes:

  • Logistics systems optimization
  • Algorithms and applications for data mining
  • Advanced topics in logistics and supply chain management
  • Analysis and design for engineering systems
  • Theories of operations research and management
  • Strategies for negotiation

Popular Career Options

Graduates typically find entry-level management or supervisory positions in the fields of distribution, materials management, inventory control, warehousing, supply chain management, and transportation. Some graduates opt to transfer to a bachelor's degree program to continue their logistics education. Common career options include:

  • Freight coordinator
  • Inventory control specialist
  • Warehouse manager
  • Transportation broker
  • Cargo operations specialist

Other programs prepare graduates for careers in manufacturing logistics, warehouse management and distribution, purchasing management, and information management. While the most common educational background for logistics employees is a bachelor's degree, some graduates choose to expand their career with graduate studies in logistics. Some popular career options include:

  • Logistics specialist
  • Operations manager
  • Cost analyst
  • Production manager
  • Global distribution manager

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

A broad range of career fields are available to graduates of a master's degree program in logistics, including manufacturing, retail, distribution, and consulting. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the median annual salary for a logistician was $74,260 in May 2015. Another career option for graduates with a degree in logistics is management consulting. Employment opportunities for management consultants (also called management analysts) are expected to increase by 14% between 2014 and 2024; the employment of logisticians is expected to grow by 2% during the same time frame. The median annual salary for a management analyst was reported as $81,320 by the BLS in May 2015.

Associate's, bachelor's, and master's degree programs teach students how to deal with the flow of products, payments, and information between consumers and suppliers. These programs also allow for career advancement as you increase your level of education and offer certification opportunities after completion.

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