Logistics programs may train students in the areas of inventory planning, distribution management, and consulting. Students enrolled in associate's and bachelor's degree programs often take courses in a college or university's business department. Marketing classes are also relevant to this field and are frequently required as part of the overall degree program.
Students may select a specific program field such as supply chain management. Programs typically take 2-4 years to complete depending on degree level and often require fieldwork.
Both associate's and bachelor's degree programs require a high school diploma or equivalent. Bachelor's degrees have additional prerequisites including letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and a separate application for the business school.
Associate of Applied Science in Logistics and Global Supply Chain Management
Some 2-year community and vocational colleges offer associate's degree programs in logistics management, also known as supply chain management. The core curriculum includes classes in areas including import and export regulations, global transportation and management of the various stages of supply transport. Warehousing, distribution, inventory management and transport planning are also major parts of the degree program. Because the training for logistics management is highly vocational in nature, such degree programs are frequently offered as workforce training programs and, like other community college degree programs, require no prior college work to enroll.
Most colleges require students to complete between 70 and 90 credit hours for the Associate of Applied Science degree. In addition to core courses in business and logistics, other classes required include courses in liberal arts, mathematics, computing and English composition. Specific course topics may include:
- Logistics of business
- International business law
- Purchasing and imports
- Traffic management and materials handling
- Warehousing and distribution
Bachelor of Science in Logistics Management
Like associate's degree programs, bachelor's degree programs in logistics management prepare students for a career orchestrating the transport and distribution of products for sale. In addition to a heavy emphasis in transportation and vehicle routing, warehousing and information systems, network design and facility location, 4-year college programs in logistics management include components in customer service, demand forecasting, finance and accounting. The core curriculum for many logistics management programs is 35-45 credit hours, which count towards the overall 120 credit hour requirement for the bachelor's degree. Other components of the program include courses in computer science, database management, economics and natural sciences. Other courses include:
- Logistics management
- Design and analysis of logistics systems
- Transportation management
- Accounting principles
- Micro and macroeconomics
Popular Career Options
An associate's degree in logistics and global supply chain management prepares graduates for mostly entry-level positions. Many upper-level jobs, including middle management, often require several years of experience in these entry-level positions, though professional non-credit certifications may also enhance career opportunities. Entry-level positions in logistics may include:
- Warehouse controller
- Trucking representative
- Import agent
- Freight coordinator
- Cargo operations specialist
Bachelor's degree holders can often enter the logistics career field as managers, field directors and other planning positions. With additional certifications, a degree in logistics can open up options including air traffic control and industrial distribution.
- Logistics planner
- Distribution manager
- Inventory planner
- Purchasing and materials manager
- Corporate research analyst
Salary and Outlook
One potential career option would be that of cargo and freight agents. Job growth is expected to be strong, with a 5-8% employment increase from 2014 to 2024, as reported by O*NET OnLine (www.onetoneline.com). The median annual income for cargo and freight agents was $41,870 as of May 2015.
Purchasing managers, as an example, earned a median income of $108,120 annually as of May 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A 1% increase in jobs is expected from 2014 to 2024.
Continuing Education Information
While some graduates of associate's degree programs in logistics management may transfer credits and go on to complete a 4-year program of study in the same field, many graduates go on to find entry-level work in the field. Graduates can expand employment and promotion opportunities by completing additional college work or certificate programs in business, geographic information systems (GIS), finance and marketing.
Earning an undergraduate degree in logistics could lead to a lucrative career with a median salary up to $108,120 (purchasing manager). There are a multitude of different careers to choose from, and students can advance their career even further by completing additional college or certificate coursework in topics such as business or marketing.