During a supply chain management degree online, students learn about procurement, inventory control, warehousing, and transportation. The degree emphasizes skills such as analysis, critical thinking, and management, which prepare graduates to work in any area of the supply chain. Supply chain management jobs offer above-average salaries, and many show strong job growth potential. A bachelor’s degree in logistics also qualifies graduates for in-demand certifications, which increase competitiveness in the job market.
This article lists the best online bachelor’s programs in logistics and supply chain management. It also introduces career paths for graduates, salary potential and job outlook data, potential curricula, and financial aid opportunities. By researching this information before applying to a supply chain management program, prospective students can find the best program to advance their career.
With a bachelor's degree in supply chain and logistics, graduates qualify for a variety of careers. Supply chain and logistics graduates may work as logisticians, helping companies develop efficient supply chain procedures, or as transportation managers, overseeing the distribution of goods. They may also work as buyers, purchasing agents, or purchasing managers, or pursue careers as operations research analysts. This section covers some typical careers, with information on median annual salaries and job growth potential.
Logisticians oversee an organization’s supply chain, including acquisition, storage, and delivery of products or services. They may work in any area of the supply chain, directing the allocation of resources and creating relationships with suppliers and clients. Logisticians analyze the supply chain procedure to find areas to improve efficiency. They also create strategies to minimize cost and delivery time.
Transportation managers plan and direct the transportation process. They must follow organizational policies and government regulations to efficiently transport materials. Transportation managers work for transportation companies using methods such as air, rail, or road. They may also work for the government, in the energy sector, or for warehousing companies.
Purchasing managers oversee the procurement of products or services for an organization. They work with suppliers, negotiate contracts, and check product quality. Purchasing managers also monitor the work of buyers and purchasing agents. They may analyze financial reports, help determine pricing for products or services, and maintain records of product performance and inventory. Purchasing managers may also create procurement policies and procedures.
Operations research analysts help organizations increase efficiency and solve problems in logistics. They collect information and examine it to determine the cause of the problem and propose possible solutions. They may also create reports explaining their findings and recommendations.
Industrial production managers oversee operations at a manufacturing plant or related facility. They analyze production data to ensure the facility meets production goals and create reports on production. Industrial production managers also create plans to increase production efficiency, supervise employees to make sure they meet performance requirements, and fix production problems.
Sources: BLS, Projections Central
Job growth and salaries vary depending on the location and demand for the job. Areas with higher costs of living or strong demand typically offer higher salaries. This job growth data helps prospective students learn about the local market for professionals with a supply chain and logistics bachelor's degree online. States such as Virginia and Washington offer the highest concentration of logisticians, with the District of Columbia, Rhode Island, and Maryland offering the highest average salaries.
While earning a supply chain management degree online, students complete coursework on the entire supply chain process. Courses train graduates to work in inventory management, warehouse management, purchasing, or transportation management. Each program sets its own curriculum and course schedule, and many offer specialized electives in logistics. The following course descriptions represent some of the most common classes in a logistics program.
Students learn about the core principles of supply chain management and logistics in introductory classes. The course may cover inventory management, warehousing, cost management, and industries that rely on logistics.
Classes on procurement cover the procedure and strategies for buying inventory. Students learn about regulations, import/export rules, inventory control, and material handling. The course may also cover purchasing, inventory productivity, and transport.
Warehouse management trains students on how to store and move inventory, including strategic warehousing, inventory control, and regulations governing warehousing. Students may also study distribution and transportation.
Transportation courses examine modes of transportation, global transportation networks, and regulations and laws covering transportation. They also connect transportation management skills to warehousing and inventory control.
Specialized courses on retail supply chain management introduce students to the skills required to oversee logistics in retail industries. Students study topics like purchasing, inventory control, and transportation.
When choosing a program, prospective students should consider factors such as the program’s reputation and graduate placement record, the cost of the degree, and the curriculum. These factors help students find the best supply chain management degree online for their interests and career goals. Students should also check a program’s accreditation status to ensure the degree meets licensure and certification requirements.
Many logistics programs offer concentrations in areas like transportation, procurement, restaurant logistics, and retail supply chain management. A concentration helps graduates stand out in the job market and demonstrate specialized knowledge. By researching concentrations, students ensure that prospective programs offer courses in their desired field.
Many online programs offer internship opportunities for students, and some require an internship to graduate. Online programs help students identify internships in their local area, and institutions may work with companies to arrange internships related to the student’s concentration or desired professional field. During an internship, the student’s supervisor reports the student’s progress to the program.
Before applying to a program, prospective students should check the course catalog and curriculum to see which classes are offered. Many programs set major requirements and allow students to pursue a concentration or take electives. Specialized courses help logistics and supply chain majors increase their competitiveness in the job market.
Many online programs use the same curriculum and graduation requirements as the on-campus degree, and a degree from an accredited online institution meets the same academic standards as degrees offered on campus. In many cases, graduates receive an identical degree to on-campus students.
An accredited online bachelor’s degree in supply chain and logistics meets the educational requirements for professional certifications and licenses, such as the Certified Supply Chain Professional and the Certified Professional in Supply Management credentials. Unaccredited programs may not meet the requirements.
Students earning a supply chain management degree online pay for school with financial aid, savings, loans, and scholarships. Logistics and supply chain management students may qualify for many specialized scholarships and grants. These scholarship opportunities come from professional organizations, such as the Institute for Supply Chain Management, and private foundations.
Administered by the Material Handling Education Foundation, the scholarship provides $5,000 awards to juniors and seniors studying material handling, industrial distribution, logistics, and supply chain management. Applicants submit an online application, request three letters of recommendation, and provide official college transcripts showing a minimum B grade average. Transfer students from a community college may also apply for the scholarship.
This scholarship offers a $2,500 award to students pursuing a career in logistics. Applicants must be full-time undergraduate students who plan to pursue a career in logistics. Applicants must submit an online application and a 1,500-word essay describing why they chose the field of logistics or supply chain management and how their career will impact the U.S. and global economy.
Offered by the North American Rail Shippers Association, the scholarship funds students majoring in transportation, logistics, or supply chain management. Applicants submit an application, college transcript, resume, personal statement, and letter of recommendation. Recipients must attend a regionally accredited institution. The scholarship amount ranges from $500-$1,000.
Undergraduates majoring in supply chain management or logistics with a focus on the restaurant or food service industry qualify for several scholarships through the National Restaurant Association. Applicants must attend an accredited institution. The association offers general scholarships of $2,500 and named scholarships that offer between $2,500-$10,000.
This scholarship offers $10,000 to eligible recipients majoring in supply chain management or procurement. Applicants must be seniors enrolled full time in an accredited program. The program selects recipients based on academic achievement, leadership ability, ethical standards, and the candidate’s commitment to pursuing a career in supply chain management. Applicants submit evidence of their role in campus activities and internships, and essays demonstrating ethical standards.