Logistics and Distribution Degree Program Overviews

Oct 20, 2019

Essential Information

Two of the most common degree programs in this field are a 2-year Associate of Applied Science in Logistics and Distribution and a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Logistics and Supply Chain Management. Both of these programs emphasize the importance of practical skills development, with opportunities for hands-on training. Bachelor's programs generally include more management-focused training than associate's programs. Graduates of both programs can pursue professional certifications through industry organizations. To gain admission into either program, applicants are expected to have a high school diploma or equivalent as well as strong math skills.

Associate of Applied Science in Logistics and Distribution

Students in a logistics associate's program explore the positive effect that smooth logistical operations can have on a company, as well as appropriate safety and security concerns regarding the transportation of goods and proper methods of inventorying manufactured and sold goods. They also learn to accurately record and document shipments of goods and track them to their international or domestic destinations. Incoming students should have strong communication and basic mathematics skills.

Many of the courses included in an associate's degree program in logistics and distribution are practical in nature and provide students with direct training in the field. Some examples of such courses are listed below:

  • Inventory management and warehousing
  • Secure and international logistics principles
  • Importing and exporting
  • Transportation and distribution of goods
  • Business math
  • Logistics management

Bachelor of Science in Logistics and Supply Chain Management

Students in a 4-year bachelor's program in logistics and supply chain management learn to predict and meet needs for goods and services. They also learn to fill out and execute orders, manage the purchasing and distribution of materials for production, and get the final product to the consumer. Most schools offering a bachelor's degree program in logistics and supply chain management require that incoming students hold at least a high school diploma or GED. Students should also have good grades in math, economics and communications.

Much like an associate's degree program in logistics and distribution, a bachelor's program in the field offers courses related to the practical side of logistics management. However, many of the classes in a 4-year program also cover business principles and management strategies. Some courses commonly found in such a program include:

  • Business statistics
  • Principles of accounting
  • Logistics, transportation and strategy
  • Supply chain models
  • Management information systems
  • Operations and technical risk management

Popular Career Options

A bachelor's degree in logistics and supply chain management also offers up more career opportunities in the business world. Some potential career choices might include:

  • Logistics manager
  • Supply chain manager
  • Distribution manager
  • Warehouse manager
  • Transportation manager
  • Logistics consultant
  • Contract manager

Employment Outlook and Career Info

The most common career for graduates of an associate's or bachelor's degree program in logistics and distribution is as a logistician. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 174,900 such professionals employed in this country in 2018, and employment in the field is expected to see a 5% increase in the decade spanning 2018-2028. The median annual salary for logisticians was $74,600 as of May 2018, according to the BLS.

Certification Options

There are a few independent organizations offering voluntary certification for logistics and supply chain managers. The Institute for Supply Chain Management awards a Certified Purchasing Manager (CPM) credential, while the American Purchasing Society offers Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) and a Certified Professional Purchasing Manager (CPPM) designations. Individuals who seek to work for local, state or government agencies can gain additional certification through the National Institute of Government Purchasing.

Aspiring logistics professionals can pursue associate's or bachelor's degrees in logistics and supply chain management. Either of these degrees can lead to work as a logistician, though graduates of bachelor's programs are typically preferred by employers. Voluntary certification is available and can bolster job prospects.

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