Industrial Distribution Degree Programs

Jan 02, 2018

A degree in industrial distribution can prepare graduates for a wide range of careers in areas such as sales, logistics and management. Programs may differ in their focus so it is helpful for students to consider career goals when choosing a program.

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Industrial Distribution Degree Information

How does a doll made in China get to a store shelf in a small town in Pennsylvania? Individuals who study industrial distribution learn how goods are distributed throughout the world. The people who earn a degree in this field are equipped to enter the workforce and help improve distribution to ensure that goods are transported as efficiently and effectively as possible. People who work in this field need a wide range of skills, including analytical skills and communication skills, to identify ways to improve operations and to interact effectively with other business associates and colleagues to implement improvements. Industrial distribution has a strong relationship with engineering and some schools include industrial engineering as part of their school of engineering programs while other programs include industrial distribution as part of their business programs.

Admission Requirements for Industrial Distribution Programs

The standard admission requirements for all students apply to those planning to pursue industrial distribution studies. Transcripts and standardized test scores are considered and some schools also require students to provide an application essay. A set number of specific high school courses are required by most colleges and universities and those applying to an industrial distribution program that is part of an engineering department can expect to face stronger competition for acceptance. In some cases students can provide reference letters as part of their application.

Industrial Distribution Program Coursework

The nature of the courses students studying industrial distribution will take may vary based on the program they choose. Students studying engineering will be more likely to focus on technical courses related to distribution management and operations while students who pursue programs that emphasize the business aspects of industrial distribution may learn more about marketing, purchasing and sales.


Strong communication skills are important in the field of industrial distribution. Students who take technical or business communications courses will be introduced to the requirements for producing business documents. They will learn to write reports, gain experience writing about technical information and learn to write other types of business documents, such as proposals. Some courses may emphasize learning about different types of communication methods and how to use different forms of communication technology effectively.

Distribution Management

How does a product get from one part of the world to another? What steps are involved in ensuring that goods are transported to their intended destination? Students who study distribution management learn about the ways goods are transported. They also learn about how to make decisions related to the key stages of distribution, such as how much stock to keep or how to ship products.

Domestic and International Marketing

How does marketing work? Students studying marketing will learn about marketing strategies. This course will cover the history of marketing and how marketing is related to product pricing and product development. Students will also learn about ethical issues in marketing.


Students will learn about practical mathematical formulas that can be applied to business operations. They will learn how to gather and assess information that is relevant. They will learn how to analyze that information and use it to make projections so that they can make informed business decisions. Students will also gain practical experience using tools and programs designed for data retrieval and analysis.

Operations Management

In order for a business to achieve its goals they must be clearly defined and the management needs to have a strategy in place to ensure those goals can be achieved. Students who learn about operations management will be introduced to the structure of business operations and develop an understanding of the impact management can have on a business's success. Students may also explore some of the ethical issues related to management practices and how they influence business decisions.

Wholesale Purchasing

What do wholesale purchasers do? What aspects of production and distribution do they need to consider when making business decisions? Students will learn about the role of wholesale purchasers, how they impact distribution and how they can work as an effective part of the distribution network.

How to Choose a Degree Program in Industrial Distribution

It is possible to pursue studies for an industrial distribution degree online. Students who plan to work while studying may consider this option while others may wish to consider school location when choosing a program. Some programs emphasize more studies in business while others concentrate on industrial distribution's relationship to engineering, and the specific types of courses offered and program emphasis may be a factor for students when choosing a program. There are also programs that offer an opportunity to pursue a special emphasis in medical supply distribution.

Career Options with an Industrial Distribution Degree

Individuals who study industrial distribution may be interested in becoming logisticians. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that logisticians earned a median annual income of $74,170 per year in 2016. The BLS also reported that their job growth rate is expected to be 7% from 2016 to 2026.

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