What Can You Do With a Supply Chain Management Degree? 9 Careers to Consider

Image displaying trains, freight ships and cargo planes.

Business is a massive field, and some career paths and degrees are better understood than others. You’re not interested in becoming a CEO at some prestigious firm. You just want a degree that will help you find the kind of job satisfaction you’ve been seeking—things you have yet to find in your current job. That’s where a supply chain management comes in.

Of course, before you’re convinced of that, you likely have a few questions: What does a supply chain management career entail? What can you do with a supply chain management degree? What is a typical supply chain management salary? We have the answers to those questions and more!

The good news is that there are several supply chain managements jobs out there. Join us as we uncover the fundamentals of the field and, more importantly, the types of careers you could land in this industry.

What is supply chain management?

Before learning about supply chain management careers, it’s important to understand the field itself. Put simply, supply chain management—also commonly referred to as logistics—is all about the production, shipment and distribution of products. It covers everything from inventory to sales, and is an important element of any business that makes and sells products.

Professionals in this field must work closely with others to acquire everything they need. More importantly, they need to ensure it’s all completed on time and within budget. There are several important supply chain job duties that will vary depending on the exact position.

There are several key components of the overall supply chain and logistics process, including:

  • Investment recovery
  • Distribution
  • Inventory control
  • Logistics
  • Manufacturing supervision
  • Materials management
  • Packaging
  • Procurement and purchasing
  • Product and service development
  • Quality control
  • Receiving
  • Strategic sourcing
  • Transportation and shipping
  • Warehousing and storage

Most professionals in the field are focused on just one or a few of these areas. Even so, it’s helpful to have a fundamental understanding of the entire system and how different supply chain positions work together, particularly as you look to advance in your field.

What to expect from a supply chain management degree

So how can you acquire the practical knowledge and hands-on training needed to launch a supply chain management career? It turns out, your best bet is to obtain a formal education.

In fact, we used real-time job analysis software to examine more than 50,000 supply chain job postings and 79 percent of positions called for a bachelor’s degree.1 The curriculum you’ll encounter in a Supply Chain and Logistics Management degree program will prepare you to help organizations find efficiencies and direct the flow of goods from supplier to consumer.

Common supply chain courses to expect:

  • Business Research and Analysis
  • Management of Information Systems
  • International Business
  • Principles of Supply Chain
  • Procurement and Supplier Relations
  • Transportation and Distribution Management
  • Supply Chain Risk and Compliance
  • Inventory Management

The best part about earning a Supply Chain and Logistics Management degree is that it sets a broad foundation of skills and competencies for a variety of careers in this field. The diverse training you’ll endure can open the door to several supply chain positions. Let’s learn more about your options.

9 Supply chain management jobs for degree holders

Now that you have a better understanding of the industry itself and the training involved, start familiarizing yourself with nine supply chain management careers you could pursue.

1. Purchasing agent

Median annual salary (2019): $64,3802
Job duties:

  • Purchases equipment, parts or services needed for the operation of a manufacturing establishment.
  • Prepares purchase orders, solicits bid proposals and reviews requisitions for goods and services.
  • Negotiates and administers contracts with suppliers, vendors and other representatives.

2. Operations manager

Median annual salary (2019): $100,7802
Job duties:

  • Responsible for the overall operations of a public or private organization.
  • Directs and coordinates activities dealing with the production, pricing, sales or distribution of products.
  • Reviews performance data to measure productivity and identify areas needing cost reduction or process improvement.

3. Logistics analyst

Median annual salary (2019): $74,7502
Job duties:

  • Analyzes supply chain processes to identify or recommend optimizations and improvements.
  • Maintains databases that compile and organize logistics information.
  • Provides ongoing analyses in areas such as transportation costs, parts procurement, back orders or delivery processes.

4. Purchasing manager

Median annual salary (2019): $121,1102
Job duties:

  • Plans and directs the activities of buyers, purchasing officers and others involved in purchasing materials, products and services.
  • Represents companies in negotiating contracts and formulating policies with various suppliers.
  • Interviews and hires staff and oversees the training and development of existing employees.

5. Supply chain manager

Median annual salary (2019): $110,6302
Job duties:

  • Directs and coordinates supply chain processes to limit costs and improve accuracy, customer service and safety.
  • Monitors forecasts and quotas to identify changes and determine their effect on supply chain activities.
  • Develops procedures to help coordinate supply chain efforts with other departments, such as sales, marketing, finance, production and quality assurance.

6. Logistician

Median annual salary (2019): $74,7502
Job duties:

  • Analyzes and coordinates an organization’s logistical functions.
  • Develops and maintains positive relationships with a client’s key personnel involved in logistics activity.
  • Reviews logistics performance with customers, weighing against targets, benchmarks and service agreements.

7. Logistics manager

Median annual salary (2019): $94,5602
Job duties:

  • Coordinates an organization’s purchasing warehousing, distribution, forecasting, customer service and planning efforts.
  • Manages the personnel and systems involved in daily logistics operations.
  • Collaborates with other departments to integrate logistics with business systems or processes.

8. Production, planning and expediting clerk

Median annual salary (2019): $48,2602
Job duties:

  • Organizes and expedites the flow of work and materials between an organization’s departments according to production schedule.
  • Distributes production schedules and work orders to various departments.
  • Arranges for delivery, assembly or distribution of supplies to accelerate the flow of materials.

9. Storage and distribution manager

Median annual salary (2019): $94,5602
Job duties:

  • Oversees a facility’s storage or distribution operations or that of an organization that’s engaged in storing or distributing materials or products.
  • Interviews, selects, trains and supervises warehouse personnel.
  • Develops and implements warehouse safety and security activities and programs.

Is a supply chain management job in your future?

So what can you do with a supply chain management degree? There is no single answer! Graduates in this field can choose the career path that best aligns with their own skills and interests. And no matter what supply chain position you choose, you can feel satisfaction knowing you’re helping to provide products to the people who need them.

If you’re ready to start pursuing your perfect supply chain management career, visit our Supply Chain and Logistics Management degree page for more information.

1Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 41,896 supply chain management degree job postings by education level, Jul. 01, 2019 – Jun. 30, 2030).
2Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, [data accessed July 2020] www.onetonline.org. Salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in May 2015. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2020.

Callie Malvik

Callie is the Content Manager at Collegis Education, overseeing blog content on behalf of Rasmussen University. She is passionate about creating quality resources that empower others to improve their lives through education.

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