Become a Material Analyst: Education and Career Roadmap

Aug 12, 2018

Research the requirements to become a material analyst. Learn about the job description and duties, and see the step-by-step process to start a career in material analysis.

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Should I Become a Material Analyst?

Material analysts set up the process for moving materials and supplies for their companies. They may also be responsible for maintaining and monitoring inventories, forecasting customer material requests, and managing transportation of both inbound and outbound materials. They work for manufacturers, engineering firms, and trucking companies.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Logistics, supply chain management, operations management, or business
Licensure/Certification APICS certification may be preferred
Experience 1-3 years of experience in logistics or materials management
Key Skills Strong verbal and written communication skills; ability to multi-task; strong problem-solving skills; knowledge of software such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, MS Access, Oracle (or other MRP systems); knowledge of material management systems, such as QAD Cloud or i-Supply
Salary (2015) $74,260 yearly (median for all logisticians)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Steps to Become a Material Analyst

What steps do I need to take to become a material analyst?

Step 1: Earn Your Bachelor's Degree

There is not a specific degree program that prepares one for a career as a material analyst. Online jobs ads for this position indicate that degrees in business and logistics-related areas - such as supply chain management, finance, and operations management - are often preferred. Classes in a supply chain management bachelor's degree program may include planning and control systems, materials management, quality measurement, logistics strategy, research, and negotiation. Students who enroll in an operations management program could take courses in quality assurance, logistics models, inventory systems planning, materials management, and inventory control.

You will want to participate in an internship. Since employers often prefer to hire material analysts who have experience, students may wish to complete an internship while still in school. An internship allows an aspiring material analyst to learn how real-world supply chains and materials management departments operate.

Step 2: Gain Experience

After completing a 4-year education program, students can seek entry-level positions related to materials management in order to gain the 1-3 years of experience needed to secure positions as material analysts. Some schools have established partnerships with relevant companies and may be able to help current students or graduates with placement through their career services offices.

Students should seek jobs where they gain experience in expediting processes, procurement processes, production scheduling, inventory control system management, or materials management. Some possible entry-level job titles include materials recording clerk, materials clerk, production assistant, expediting clerk, materials planner, and scheduler.

Step 3: Become Certified

While not required, some employers prefer to hire materials analysts who have earned APICS certification. APICS, the association for operations management, offers three levels of certification relevant to those working in materials management:

  • APICS Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM)
  • APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP)
  • APICS Certified Fellow in Production and Inventory Management (CFPIM)

Each level of certification requires applicants to meet a specific combination of education and experience, as well as pass an exam. Certified professionals must accrue professional maintenance points every five years to maintain their certification. Points can be earned through classes, professional memberships, service activities, and presentations or publications.

Material analysts manage the process for moving materials and supplies for their companies. They have college degrees, strong multi-tasking and problem-solving skills, and knowledge of relevant software, and they earn a median annual salary of $74,260.

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