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Entry-Level Supply Chain Jobs: Titles & Salary

There are several entry-level careers available that vary in their specific job duties and responsibilities in the supply chain. Compare and contrast the job duties, median salaries and education requirements for some of these jobs.

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Entry-Level Supply Chain Career Options

Effective and efficient supply chains are vital in the business world, as they include the processes necessary to produce and distribute a product. A variety of careers are available along the different levels of a supply chain, and many of these careers are considered entry-level. Explore a handful of these careers to learn about what makes them entry-level jobs and unique positions in supply chains.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Logisticians $74,170 7%
Cost Estimators $61,790 11%
Quality Control Inspectors (Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers and Weighers) $36,780 -11% (Decline)
Wholesale and Retail Buyers, Except Farm Products $53,340 -2% (Decline)
Industrial Engineers $84,310 10%

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

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Career Information for Entry-Level Supply Chain Jobs

Logisticians

Logisticians are not required to have any previous work experience in a related occupation or on-the-job training to analyze and oversee supply chains. They oversee the acquisition, allocation and delivery of a wide range of products and analyze the supply chain to find areas for improvement, whether that be cutting costs, improving quality or changing other factors. Logisticians need to communicate with both suppliers and clients to figure out the best way to meet a client's needs. These professionals usually need a bachelor's degree in supply chain management, systems engineering or a related field, and although not required, work experience may replace education requirements for some positions. Certification in the field may also help job candidates stand out.

Cost Estimators

Cost estimators do not need related work experience to land an entry-level position, but they do usually undergo some on-the-job training. Some of these professionals work behind-the-scenes of supply chains as manufacturing cost estimators to predict the total amount of time, energy, materials and other costs for producing a product. This requires them to identify all of the different variables in a system or project, analyze and calculate costs, figure out ways to minimize costs and then record actual costs as they occur. Cost estimators that specialize in manufacturing usually need a bachelor's degree in finance, engineering or business.

Quality Control Inspectors

Quality control inspectors are not required to have prior work experience, but they typically need a moderate amount of on-the-job training. These inspectors work along supply chains to test products and ensure that they meet all specifications and product standards. Based on their measurements and inspections, they will accept or reject products and make suggestions about ways to improve production, all while maintaining detailed records of their inspections. Quality control inspectors usually undergo training for 1 month to 1 year and need a high school diploma.

Wholesale and Retail Buyers

Wholesale and retail buyers usually do not need any related work experience, but they do get some on-the-job training. Buyers work in supply chains to acquire the desired products for their organization to resell to consumers. This requires them to meet with vendors, analyze prices and inventories, handle contracts and oversee product deliveries to ensure that products meet expectations and contract agreements. Wholesale and retail buyers usually need a bachelor's degree in business, supply management or a related field.

Industrial Engineers

Industrial engineers are not required to have work experience in a related job or any on-the-job training. These engineers work primarily on the production side of supply chains to make the production process as efficient as possible. They may improve efficiency by designing new control systems, adjusting production schedules, changing how they manufacture parts and working with management on financial planning. Industrial engineers need a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering or a related field, and although not required, work experience gained through an internship or other opportunities can be helpful.

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