This guide covers logistician careers, including common duties, degree options, and career advancement opportunities.
|Median Annual Salary||$74,600|
|Employment Growth Forecast from 2018-2028||5%|
|Number of New Jobs from 2018-2028||8,400|
|Average Entry-Level Education Requirements||Bachelor's Degree|
|Annual Salary of the Highest 10%||$119,950|
|Annual Salary of the Lowest 10%||$44,440|
What is a Logistician?
A logistician is a professional that manages the supply-chain process of a product or service. Logisticians and logistics analysts oversee a product's lifecycle to ensure that it moves efficiently and effectively from supplier to consumer. Most logisticians earn a degree in business, supply chain management, or systems engineering and pursue on-the-job training in their area of expertise. This guide covers logistician careers, including common duties, degree options, and career advancement opportunities.
Alternate job titles for logisticians:
- Logistics Analyst
- Logistics Coordinator
- Logistics Planner
- Logistics Specialist
What Does a Logistician Do?
Nearly every kind of manufacturing, production, and distribution business in the U.S. requires an educated and experienced logistics manager. Logisticians oversee the acquisition, allocation, and delivery of a product or service on behalf of their employer, either as manager of the logistics division within a large corporation or for a company specializing in an area like shipping or freight-handling.
Employers of logisticians highly value field experience, sometimes accepting entry-level candidates with professional experience in lieu of a degree.
Most logisticians work in manufacturing, followed by the federal government. Logistics analysts routinely perform inventory, purchasing, warehousing, and transportation duties using computerized software systems. These professionals need advanced communication and customer service skills to maintain productive relationships with clients and suppliers.
Employers of logisticians highly value field experience, sometimes accepting entry-level candidates with professional experience in lieu of a degree. Many prospective logistics analysts accumulate relevant experience by working in related business roles, such as a logistics clerk or dispatcher, or assuming logistical support roles while serving in the military.
Become a Logistician
Logisticians typically need a bachelor's degree to enter the field; however, some employers accept candidates with an associate degree or relevant professional experience. While not typically required, logisticians can pursue voluntary professional certification to enhance their job prospects. Candidates seeking to work for the Department of Defense must earn certification through the Defense Acquisition University.
Aspiring logisticians can pursue a variety of related degrees, such as a bachelor's in systems engineering or supply chain management. They can also pursue a degree in business with a logistics or global supply chain concentration. Graduates qualify for roles including logistics analyst, transportation director, and supply chain sales consultant.
Associate Degree Programs
While most employers require a bachelor's degree for logistician jobs, an associate degree may suffice for some logistical support positions, such as dispatcher or clerk. These positions provide relevant professional experience for prospective logisticians.
Most associate degrees in logistics comprise around 60 credits, including general education, major, and elective courses. Full-time students can typically complete the associate degree in two years, though some online programs offer accelerated completion times. Course topics include transportation management, information systems, and supply chain management.
Graduates can pursue entry-level employment in logistical support roles or transfer to a bachelor's program. Due to transfer credits, many associate degree holders can earn a four-year degree in just two years of additional study.
Bachelor's Degree Programs
Logisticians typically need a bachelor's degree for entry-level employment. Aspiring logisticians can pursue a bachelor's degree in supply chain management, industrial or process engineering, or business with a logistics-related concentration, such as global supply chain management.
Most bachelor's degrees related to logistics comprise 120 credits and combine business-oriented coursework in accounting, economics, and information systems with core courses in logistics, warehouse, and supply chain management. Students also complete general education classes.
Many programs emphasize radio-frequency identification, the most commonly used software in the field. Students also gain skills in problem-solving, leadership, and logical thinking. Some programs feature a required or voluntary internship that gives students hands-on experience in the field.
Full-time students typically graduate within four years. Graduates can work in roles such as logistics analyst, transportation manager, or supply chain management consultant or pursue a master's degree.
Master's Degree Programs
A master's degree in supply chain management positions graduates for leadership roles in the field. Master's students can typically pursue a specialized area of logistics. Many master's programs offer logistics degrees rooted in applied science or engineering. Students can also pursue an MBA with a concentration in a logistics-related field, such as supply chain management.
Master's programs typically comprise 30-60 credits and take two years of full-time study to complete. Learners study topics like analytical methods, communications, and database analysis for supply chain management, usually culminating in a capstone or thesis requirement.
Graduates can pursue senior roles in industry, corporate business, or manufacturing and production or pursue a doctorate. While not all doctoral degrees require applicants to hold a master's degree, most programs prefer candidates with graduate experience.
Doctoral Degree Programs
A terminal degree, a Ph.D. in logistics and supply chain management prepares students for top-level roles in the field. Graduates can also work as professors or researchers in business and logistics analysis.
Many schools allow Ph.D. students to tailor the program to their desired area of expertise and career goals. Doctoral students typically spend 2-3 years on coursework before researching, writing, and defending a dissertation, which may take 2-3 years of additional study. Depending on the program, learners may take courses on topics like theory development, research methods, and teaching logistics concepts.
Most doctoral degrees require applicants to hold a master's degree in supply chain management, logistics, or a related area. Some programs may also require work experience in research, education, or industry pertaining to the applicant's desired area of study.
While not typically required, logistic analysts can pursue voluntary professional certification to advance their careers. Professionals may earn certifications through organizations like the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS) and the International Society of Logistics (SOLE).
APICS offers credentials like certified in production and inventory management; certified supply chain professional; and certified in logistics, transportation, and distribution. SOLE certification options include certified master logistician and ultimate certified professional logistician.
While requirements vary, candidates for APICS certifications typically need at least a bachelor's degree and/or extensive work experience. SOLE certifications welcome candidates of all degree levels, awarding "points" to applicants commensurate with their education and experience. All certification candidates must pass an exam to earn credentials.
Frequently Asked Questions
Logisticians manage the lifecycle of a product's supply chain. They must understand operations, supply chains, systems dynamics, and database management.
Most logistician jobs require a bachelor's degree, though some employers accept candidates with an associate degree.
Logisticians earned an annual average salary of $74,600 in 2018, with the highest earners working in the federal government and manufacturing sectors.
Common logistician jobs include logistics manager, supply chain coordinator, and transport manager.
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