What Are My Career Options in Logistics?

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in logistics. Read on to learn more about career options along with salary and job outlook information. Schools offering Global Operations & Supply Chain Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Job in Logistics Entail?

Logistics professionals are responsible for the flow of a product through a company's supply chain, from supplier to consumer. Job titles for logisticians include logistics analyst, logistics supervisor, director of logistics and industrial production manager. Logisticians analyze ways to improve the supply chain, making the process smoother and more efficient. They determine where supplies and materials need to go, find ways to reduce the time it takes to transport products and search for other areas of improvement. This typically involves communicating and working closely with suppliers and clients. Logisticians must be able to make suggestions to management and understand the needs of their clients. Consider the information in the following table to determine if a career in logistics is right for you.

Logistics Analyst Logistics Supervisor Director of Logistics Industrial Production Manager
Degree Required Bachelor's degree No specific degree required, but earning one can improve job prospects Bachelor's degree; master's preferred for some jobs Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Logistics, supply chain management Business administration, logistics Business administration, logistics Logistics, supply chain management, transportation
Key Responsibilities Analyze data to improve efficiency of transporting goodsCoordinate staff and activities at warehouses and distrubution centersSet productivity goals, negotiate contracts, perform high-level management tasksOversee employees and equipment, manage quality control
Certification The American Society of Transportation and Logistics (ASTL) and the International Society of Logistics (SOLE) offer voluntary certification Voluntary certifications from ASTL or SOLE Voluntary certifications from ASTL or SOLE Voluntary certifications from ASTL or SOLE
Job Growth (2014-2024) 2% (all types of logisticians)* 2% (all types of logisticians)* 2% (all types of logisticians)* -4% decline (industrial production managers)*
Median Salary (2017) $55,564** $53,154** $98,911** $93,940* (2015)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale.com

What Careers Are Available in Logistics?

According to job postings on Careerbuilder.com in December 2011, three common titles in the realm of logistics are logistics analyst, logistics supervisor and director of logistics. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests the designation of industrial production manager as well. Each position carries different responsibilities related to fulfilling orders and charting the movement of goods.

Logistics Analyst

As a logistics analyst, you're responsible for using statistical analysis of sales data to determine the most efficient process of moving goods from place to place. With a focus on customer service, you're involved in identifying the causes of slow deliveries and finding ways to prevent similar problems in the future. In collaboration with coworkers from different departments, your work may involve developing supply chain simulation models to determine productive methods before implementation. The idea is to manage inventory so that you to reduce warehousing expenses by minimizing overstock.

Logistics Supervisor

As a logistics supervisor, you're responsible for coordinating day-to-day warehouse or distribution center activities. This frontline position involves scheduling shipments, from determining the transportation route to assigning drivers and vehicles. In addition to managing drivers, stock clerks and materials movers within the company, you could interact with customers, transportation carriers and others outside of the company. You may be responsible for setting compliance policies and procedures, for which you need knowledge of Department of Transportation and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations.

Director of Logistics

After several years of experience, you may become the director of logistics. In this position you're responsible for managing from larger conceptual perspective. You decide the cost and productivity goals for transporting goods and oversee the implementation of programs to meet those goals. You're responsible for setting transportation rates and tariffs, negotiating contracts according to customers' volume of business and negotiating with third-party carriers. You may also be responsible for budgeting, forecasting and setting administrative protocols (i.e. paperwork).

Industrial Production Manager

As an industrial production manager, you would govern a workplace in terms of managing employees and overseeing equipment. You may be in charge of part of a system, a department or an entire company. You ensure quality control while minimizing waste, reducing redundancies and providing a safe environment for all involved. This may involve ordering and orchestrating the delivery of materials while adhering to a budget. You may have your own office or work on the floor of a plant - or both.

What Education Do I Need?

According to Careerbuilder.com job postings in 2011, education requirements commonly include postsecondary training. To become a frontline logistics supervisor, a college degree is not required but may improve your employment opportunities. Those employing analytical and production management professionals may prefer applicants with a bachelor's degree in logistics, supply chain management or transportation. In logistics analysis, hirers might seek candidates who have completed coursework in statistics and also understand logistics and supply chain management software. If you wish to become a director, you may find that employers prefer you to have a Master of Business Administration.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Cost estimators, industrial engineers and management analysts are all related positions that require a bachelor's degree. Cost estimators examine and calculate all of the different variables that go into making a product or providing a particular service. For example, they may estimate the cost of materials and labor to make a certain product. Industrial engineers specifically look at the production process to make it as efficient as possible. They may find ways to use new technology or information to improve the process. Management analysts study the efficiency of how an organization is run. They may find ways to reduce costs or increase profits.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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