What Is a Humanitarian Logistician?
Humanitarian logistics involves the timely and monetarily efficient acquisition and delivery of supplies and services to an area in need of aid. Supplies such as food, water, temporary shelter, and medicine are needed for basic survival after any type of disaster. Along with the logistics team, the logistician is responsible for purchasing, warehousing, transport, vehicle management, computer systems, telecommunications, and security. Logisticians manage a large team, including drivers, security guards, assistants, warehouse managers, and radio operators.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's degree or associate's degree|
|Job Skills||General management, problem-solving, interpersonal, communication, logistics, IT|
|Median Salary (May 2018)*||$74,600 (for all logisticians)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)*||7% (for all logisticians)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Logisticians, in general, typically hold a bachelor's degree in business, systems engineering, or supply chain management. Some logistics positions may only require an associate's degree. The ASCM (Association for Supply Chain Management) offers the APICS Certified in Logistics, Transportation, and Distribution certification, which will prove to employers that you have mastered the skills needed for logistics, transportation, and distribution. In order to obtain this certification you will need three years of related business experience, a bachelor's degree, or one of the following designations: CTL, CSCP, CPIM, CFPIM, CIRM, SCOR-P, CPM, CSM, or CPSM. The International Society of Logistics offers the Certified Master Logistician program and the Certified Professional Logistician program.
There are a few certificates specific to humanitarian aid. The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) offers the Humanitarian Logistics Certification Programme. The program includes Certification in Humanitarian Logistics (CHL), Certification in Humanitarian Supply Chain Management (CHSCM), and Certification in Humanitarian Medical Logistics Practices (MedLog). The Georgia Tech Center for Health & Humanitarian Systems offers the Health & Humanitarian Supply Chain Management Certificate.
Courses in humanitarian logistics are also available. The Logistics Learning Alliance offers the Humanitarian Essentials Logistics Module (HELM), RedR UK offers the Field Logistics in Emergencies course, BMC Training offers the Humanitarian Logistics And Disasters Training course, and the Logistics Cluster offers the Logistics Cluster Training Programme.
Expertise in all aspects of logistics are the most important skills needed, including transportation management, inventory management, and purchasing and procurement. General management skills are a must for this position, as they manage a large team in the logistics process. Problem-solving skills are needed for the complex issues that ultimately arise in the humanitarian field. Interpersonal and communication skills are essential because logisticians work with a range of people, many times from all around the world. Basic IT knowledge is also good to have.
Career Outlook and Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment of all logisticians is estimated to grow 7% from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The growing effects of climate change, population growth, and political conflicts may result in a higher demand for humanitarian logisticians. The BLS also reports that the median salary for all logisticians in May 2018 was $74,600. The lowest 10% earned less than $44,440 and the highest 10% earned more than $119,950.
Below are a few careers related to that of a humanitarian logistician.