Logistics Specialist: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a logistics specialist. Learn about job duties, skill requirements, and average wages to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Global Operations & Supply Chain Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Logistics Specialist?

Logistics specialists, also referred to as logisticians, manage the lifecycle of a product, from its creation to distribution. They work in a deadline and budget-driven environment, often managing multiple transportation projects at once. Effective communication, organizational and analytical skills provide a strong foundation for success as a logistics specialist.

Logistics specialists are big-picture professionals, who need to be able to plan and oversee the movement of a product from creation to consumption. They often do this with the help of tracking software, and by understanding clients' needs and each step of the transportation process. See the table below for additional key elements of this career.

Degree RequiredBachelor's degree
Training Required Standard on-the-job
Educational Field of StudyLogistics, transportation, supply-chain management
Certification Voluntary certification available
Projected Job Growth 2% (2014-2024)*
Median Salary $74,260 (2015)*

Source:*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Responsibilities of a Logistics Specialist?

As a logistics specialist, you're responsible for overseeing the shipping and receiving process for a specific facility, such as a distribution center or freight-forwarding facility. Job postings on Careerbuilder.com in March 2015 showed that the responsibilities of a logistics specialist vary widely. Your job is likely to encompass handling aspects of day-to-day management of the warehouse, inventory control and transportation planning and scheduling. Problem-solving to continuously improve movement of goods would be part of your job as well. Some positions include more complex responsibilities, such as statistical data analysis, to determine the most efficient, cost-effective method of coordinating traffic flow.

As a specialist, you may be responsible for specific kinds of freight forwarding, such as heavyweight, oversized or hazardous cargoes. Another specialty involves international shipments that arrive in large cargo containers; goods may need to be separated in preparation of forwarding to multiple locations. In handling international shipments, you would be responsible for assuring the accuracy of paperwork according to international regulations for transporting goods across borders. Knowledge of domestic regulations from the U.S. Department of Transportation would also fall under your authority.

What Skills Do I Need?

Communication and interpersonal skills are essential as you may be responsible for supervising, training and motivating employees to meet corporate objectives for customer service and cost control. Practical skills include mathematical ability, analytical adroitness and organizational prowess for handling several projects at once. Attention to detail and the ability to follow regulatory procedures would also benefit you as a logistics specialist. Job postings on Careerbuilder.com as of 2015 show that employers prefer to hire those with an aptitude for or familiarity with enterprise resource planning or warehouse management software, as well as basic office software.

Does This Work Require a Credential?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), an associate's degree is adequate education for a logistics specialist who has several years' experience in the field. However, a bachelor's degree is recommended as the job functions are projected to increase in complexity, as reported by the BLS. Obtaining a bachelor's degree with a major in logistics, transportation or supply chain management may compensate for lack of field work experience. Another option is to obtain certification from the American Society of Transportation and Logistics.

How Much Could I Expect to Earn?

According to Payscale.com, as of January 2017 logistics specialists earned a median salary of $48,735 annually. However, the title of logistics manager reflected a significant difference in salary on the same site, offering a range of roughly $38,000-$97,000 for most professionals. According to the BLS, the median annual salary in 2015 for logisticians was $74,260.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

The job of a cost estimator are similar in ways to those of a logistics specialist. Cost estimators analyze data and market factors to try and accurately predict the time and resources required to build a product or provide a service. Another career option for you to consider is management analysis. Professionals in this field are hired by a company to improve its efficiency, thereby increasing profits through reduced spending and added revenue. You will need to earn a bachelor's degree to find a job as either a cost estimator or management analyst, just as for a logistics specialist.

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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