Students in an online supply chain management bachelor's degree program learn how materials and supplies flow from one company, and country, to the next. They study supply chains in products and services, raw materials, information and financial capital. Schools offering online programs in this field of study provide a comparable curriculum to on-campus programs, which is designed to provide the background, analytical skills and technical competencies needed to succeed in supply chain management.
Bachelor's degrees typically take about four years of full-time study to earn, but students who have already earned some college credits could finish the upper-level supply chain management program requirements in less time. In fact, several schools require prospective students interested in online bachelor's-level programs in this field to already have an associate's degree. Although coursework is offered fully online, some programs may require students to take proctored tests in an approved local setting.
Components of a supply chain management program may include coursework from the fields of marketing, management, information systems, human resources and economics. Students can expect to study concepts such as process management, e-commerce strategies, information technology and enterprise resource planning. Typical courses in an online bachelor's degree program in supply chain management include:
- Industrial & Supply Chain Economics
- Information Systems for Supply Chain Management
- Supply Chain Distribution Channels
- Global Sourcing & Supply Chain Design
- Quality Management & Lean Enterprise
- Supply Chain Environmental Management
- Negotiations & Relationship Management
Online bachelor's-level programs in supply chain management can often be fully completed in a distance learning format. Students get their lectures, assignments and other course materials from online classrooms accessed through schools' websites. Some supply chain management programs require students to participate in selected synchronous classes, which mean students take part in live Web meetings or chats at a scheduled time. Schools may require distance learners to take exams in an approved proctored setting in their area.
Graduates from online bachelor's degree programs in supply chain management are qualified to work in a number of areas in the operations management profession, including planning and scheduling, quality management, inventory management and supply management. The skills learned in these programs can be applied to multiple careers. Some possible job titles for students graduating from a supply chain management program include:
- Senior Buyer
- Manufacturing Scheduler
- Materials Manager
- Sales Representative
- Warehouse Manager
- Global Commodities Manager
- Lean Materials Manager
Employment growth for buyers and purchasing agents--common job titles for people holding degrees in supply chain management--is expected to be slower than average; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that job opportunities in this field will increase two percent from 2014 to 2024.
Online bachelor's degree programs in supply chain management cover the same business and technical concepts as on-campus programs, but they generally offer students a greater degree of scheduling flexibility. Because the coursework is so similar, distance learners are just as qualified to seek management jobs when they graduate.