Jobs in Logistics: Career Options & Salary Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in logistics. Read about education requirements, job options, salary and job growth to see if this is the right career choice for you. Schools offering Global Operations & Supply Chain Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Do Jobs in Logistics Involve?

All kinds of industries and organizations hire logisticians to coordinate supply chains, transportation of goods and the deployment of personnel and resources. Logisticians work closely with their clients and suppliers to reduce costs and save time wherever possible. They may advise management on what changes to make, as well as reviewing changes once they are made.

Management analysts perform similar duties to improve an organization's efficiency. However, they look at an organization's structure, expenditures and revenue instead of supply chains. Purchasing agents work closely with vendors to provide an organization with the best quality product for the best price. This often involves negotiating and closely monitoring contracts. The following chart gives you an overview of jobs in this field.

Logistician Management Analyst Purchasing Agent
Degree Required Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree preferred
Education Field of Study Logistics and transportation, supply chain management, business Business, economics, accounting Business, economics, engineering
Key Skills Strong communication skills, organizational skills Analytical skills, accounting, written and oral communication Accounting, inventory management, negotiating skills
Job Growth (2014-2024) 2 percent* 14 percent* 2 percent (for all buyers and purchasing agents)*
Median Salary (2015) $74,260* $81,320* $59,620 (for all buyers and purchasing agents)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are My Career Options in Logistics?

Logisticians are responsible for the minute details related to the coordination of complex activities, resources and people. Logisticians find jobs at various companies and organizations and work in the manufacturing, health care and defense industries. You can select from a specialization, such as disaster relief, or choose a position as a generalist. You can also enter the fields of logistics engineering or analysis.

As a generalist, you can expect to build and maintain positive relationships with suppliers, control the arrival and departure of supplies and monitor the performance of logistics staff. You also develop delivery timelines and budgets for new and existing projects. As an analyst, you perform the ongoing analysis of complex logistical components, such as product availability and cost control. Logistics engineers are also responsible for designing efficient supply chain systems. In this position, you design logistical solutions, develop performance plans and determine the efficiency of existing systems.

What Education or Certification Do I Need?

Employers typically require a bachelor's degree, at minimum, from those applying to enter the logistics field. Many universities offer programs in supply chain or operations management. You can expect to take courses in finance, forecasting, business operations and analysis at the baccalaureate level.

Complex positions, such as those in defense or space exploration, may require a master's degree. Master's degree programs offer courses in supply chain management technologies, leadership, analysis, accounting control and logistics systems.

You can also pursue certification programs to enhance your knowledge and skills. The International Society of Logistics offers three levels of certification. You can apply to the Demonstrated Logistician Program and pursue the Certified Master Logistician or Certified Professional Logistician credentials.

How Much Can I Expect to Earn?

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the federal government employs the largest number of logisticians, and as of 2015, their average annual income was $84,180. Management of companies and enterprises was the second largest employer, and logistics professionals in that sector earned average yearly incomes of $77,520. Management, scientific, and technical consulting services also hire large numbers of logisticians, who earn an average of $72,880 a year.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Cost estimators, industrial engineers and operations research analysts are some related jobs that require a bachelor's degree. Cost estimators study and predict the cost of all the variables that go into either producing a product or offering a service to consumers. Most work in a specific industry, such as calculating the cost for construction projects. Industrial engineers examine various production processes to find ways to make them more efficient. They may incorporate new technology or information into a system to reduce waste. Operations research analysts apply math to complex problems that organizations have. This allows organizations to make better decisions based on accurate data and information.

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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