Logistics College and University Degree Program Options
Students seeking a career in logistics have a variety of educational opportunities at their disposal. Degrees are available at the associate's, bachelor's and master's levels. These degree programs teach students how to deal with the flow of products, payments, and information between consumers and suppliers.
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. Additionally, this program includes a thesis project.
- Program Levels in Logistics: Associate's degrees, bachelor's degrees, and master's degrees
- Prerequisites: A high school diploma or its equivalent is required for entry into an associate's or bachelor's program; a bachelor's degree is required for entry into a master's program
- Program Length: An associate's degree takes two years; a bachelor's degree takes four years; a master's degree takes two years
- Other Requirements: Internships may be required; a thesis may be required at the master's level
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 mean annual salary for a logistician was $76,830 in May 2014. 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 19% between 2012 and 2022; the employment of logisticians is expected to grow by 22% during the same time frame. The mean annual salary for a management analyst was reported as $90,860 by the BLS in May 2014.