Supply Chain Management Career Information and Education Requirements

Sep 15, 2019

A bachelor's degree in business or a related field is required to pursue a career as a supply chain manager. These professionals oversee the day-to-day logistics of transporting goods from manufacturers to consumers, and the storage of these products when necessary. Professional certification may be necessary for career advancement in this field.

Essential Information

Supply chain management encompasses the conversion, storage and movement of materials between manufacturers and consumers. People with careers in this field oversee such activities as product development, production, information systems, transportation and day-to-day logistics. A bachelor's degree in a relevant field, such as business or economics, is recommended. While not mandatory, professional certification, obtained through experience, education and examinations, can aid in career advancement.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in business or relevant field
Certification Professional certification for career advancement
Projected Job Outlook (2018-2028)* 6% for all transportation, storage and distribution managers
Median Salary (2018)* $94,730 for all transportation, storage and distribution managers

Sources: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Information on Supply Chain Management Careers

Entry-level positions may include such titles as assistant buyer, assistant purchasing agent and inventory clerk. Some mid-level positions requiring additional experience and training are materials manager, traffic manager, procurement specialist and purchasing analyst. Leadership roles may include strategic planning director, contracts and procurement director and vice president of supply management.

According to PayScale, supply chain managers earned a median yearly salary of $81,000 in August 2019. The website also indicated that most supply chain managers earned between $52,000 and $116,000 at that time.

Education Requirements for Supply Chain Management Positions

According to the BLS, many people in supply chain management careers hold an undergraduate degree in economics, business or engineering. Individuals with a strong interest in this field may earn a business administration degree with an emphasis in purchasing or supply management. Regardless of the degree field, there are similarities among the economics, business or engineering curricula they've studied. Students usually complete coursework in economics, manufacturing, logistics, operations management and statistics.

Entry-level positions as purchasing clerks, sales trainees or assistant buyers may be available within smaller organizations for those with a high school diploma. Larger organizations such as manufacturing firms or distributors generally emphasize the need for formal training and a college degree in their hiring practices. The BLS reported that a master's degree may be necessary for advancement to management-level positions.

Certification Information for Supply Chain Management Education

While not a requirement, professional certification may benefit individuals wishing to further advance their careers. The ISM offers the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) designation to individuals who can demonstrate at least three years of full-time experience in professional supply management positions and who hold an accredited bachelor's degree. Candidates for the CPSM are also required to pass three written exams covering the foundations of supply management, the theories of effective supply management and leadership principles.

Supply chain managers oversee the daily operations involved in producing, transporting and storing goods that will be sold to consumers. A bachelor's degree in business or economics is required, and certification may be necessary for those interested in advancement. Some employers require a master's degree to advance to management positions in this field.

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