How To Become A Supply Chain Manager

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 8 minute read

The logistics of supply chains are the focus of supply chain management, which goes by the acronym SCM. This is a term used to describe the business processes involved in acquiring and transporting goods and materials over the course of a product’s life cycle. Logistics and supply chain management are high-paying careers that can be obtained through education in this field.

Many prospective students wonder how long it will take to complete a supplier chain management course of study. Ultimately, the answer comes down to your educational goals and aspirations. Even though an associate’s degree in supply chain management can be completed in a short period of time, most supply chain management professionals go to school longer and graduate with a bachelor’s or even a master’s degree. This means that, depending on how far you want to go with your education after high school, it could take anywhere from two years to six or more.

Supply chain management students should remember that it’s not just how long it takes to complete your degree that is important. If you want to work in SCM for the rest of your life, the time you spend studying is a mere fraction of the time you’ll spend actually working in the field. There is nothing wrong with pursuing your goal of working in supply chain management quickly, but doing so could result in you missing out on valuable experiences such as extracurricular activities and internships.

Two-Year Degree Programs in Logistics and Distribution

An associate’s degree is the fastest way to a career in logistics and supply chain management. If you attend a community college with an accelerated program, you could earn your Associate of Science (A.S.) in Supply Chain Management in as little as two years. The typical number of college credits required for this degree is 60.

Inventory, scheduling, purchasing, shop floor control, service delivery systems, negotiation, and supply chain process modeling are all likely topics covered in an associate’s degree program in supply chain management. It’s a good idea to become familiar with programs like QuickBooks and Microsoft Excel. There are often courses in general business and education like accounting, project management, and human resources management that are part of the curriculum.

Beyond your major, an associate’s degree program requires you to complete a substantial amount of coursework to fulfill general education requirements. In order to provide students in all majors with a well-rounded foundation of college-level knowledge, these requirements are drawn from various academic disciplines. To fulfill general education requirements at a four-year university, students who have completed an associate’s degree program can use their prior general education classes from their associate’s degree program.

23 percent of logistics analysts report having an associate’s degree, which is a common level of education in the field. Even if you only complete half of an associate’s degree in supply chain management, it can still be beneficial to your career. According to O*NET, five percent of logistics analysts had some college education but had not completed a degree.

Getting a job as a logistician or supply chain manager may be possible with an associate’s degree, but it will take more time and effort to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Bachelor of Science in Logistics and Supply Chain Management degrees

An undergraduate degree is typically required for supply chain management positions such as logistician, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Applicants with only an associate’s degree may be able to apply for some logistician positions, but most employers prefer to hire people with a bachelor’s degree. Employers favor students who have completed coursework above the associate’s degree level because they are better prepared to manage supply chains that are more complex. Only five SCM courses are required for an associate’s degree, whereas a bachelor’s degree requires twice as many SCM courses for the same number of credits.

In most cases, four years of full-time study is required to earn a bachelor’s degree, but students often take longer, especially if they switch majors or pursue minors. It is common for supply chain and logistics bachelor’s degree programs to include courses in procurement as well as business logistics and strategic supply chain management. A supply chain management internship is an excellent way to learn about the field and gain practical experience that will help you land your first job.

As of 2021, O*NET reports that 67 percent of supply chain managers have a bachelor’s degree, with titles ranging from Global Consumer Sector Vice President to Solution Design and Analysis Manager.

Graduate Programs in SCM

If you want to advance in supply chain management, earning a master’s degree or higher can help. About 20% of supply chain managers have a master’s degree, which typically requires two years of graduate school.

A post-baccalaureate certificate is an option for 10% of supply chain managers who want to continue their education. For those who already have a bachelor’s degree, post-baccalaureate certificates offer a fast track to advanced study with fewer requirements than a traditional master’s degree. A post-baccalaureate certificate can be completed in a shorter period of time and for a lower cost than a master’s degree. A certificate, on the other hand, may not carry the same weight as a master’s degree.

Supply chain management graduate students and post-baccalaureate certificate students both take advanced and specialized coursework in the subject. If you opt for a traditional master’s degree program, you will have to choose between an MBA with a supply chain management concentration and an M.S. in Supply Chain Management degree. While the M.S. is a more specialized master’s degree, the MBA tends to be the more general one. As a whole, master’s degree programs are more in-depth and require a greater number of college credits than certificates.

In supply chain management, there are also doctoral degrees. The vast majority of professionals in the field will not benefit greatly from pursuing higher education at this level. Ph.D. programs in supply chain and logistics do not prepare students for careers in the field of professional practice, but rather for careers as scholars, academics, and researchers in these fields. Professionals in the field of supply chain management should carefully consider whether earning a Ph.D. is likely to help them achieve their career goals, given the high cost and time commitment.

Compared to a master’s degree program, how much shorter are certificate programs? Master’s degree programs typically require between 30 and 60 credit hours of graduate work. While some supply chain management certificate programs only require between 12 and 15 credits, others require a much higher number of credits.

Full and Part-Time Courses in Supply Chain Management

In order to become a supply chain manager or logistician, some people take longer than others to complete their education. There’s nothing wrong with going at your own pace as long as it’s in line with your long-term objectives and daily routine. That said, if you’re looking for a quicker path to a degree, you may want to consider an accelerated program or a part-time option.

If you’re looking to get into the workforce faster, you should consider an accelerated logistics degree program. Supply chain and logistics management degrees can be completed within 18 months or even 12 months, rather than the traditional two-year time frame. It is possible to complete a bachelor’s degree in as little as three years with an accelerated degree program. Master’s degrees in supply chain management are available at an accelerated pace and can be completed in 18 months on their own or in tandem with a bachelor’s degree in supply chain analytics.

Part-time studies have the opposite effect, elongating the duration of your education. You won’t be able to use your degree right away, but part-time study is still an excellent choice for people who have jobs and other commitments that prevent them from dedicating their time and energy entirely to their education. Prospective students should be aware that some programs require part-time students to complete their degrees within a specific timeframe. Applicants accepted as part-time students can generally take the number of courses that fit their life each semester.

Tuition for part-time students is lower per semester than for full-time students, but the overall cost of their education is higher. However, when full-time study is not an option, that is a sacrifice worth making.

Do Online Supply Chain Management Courses Help You Earn Your Degree Faster?

There is no guarantee that taking supply chain management courses online will speed up your degree completion time. The time it takes to complete a semester or a degree may be the same for online and in-person courses. Accelerated degree programs, on the other hand, are frequently made available via the internet.

Condensed terms, in which students take fewer classes per term and more terms per year, are used in some of these online SCM courses to speed up completion times. One of the reasons why synchronous online study options meant to accommodate your schedule are popular among accelerated program students is that they condense a semester’s worth of content into a shorter period of time.

Online classes aren’t as simple as they’re made out to be. Organizational skills, time management skills, and self-motivation are all necessary for success in the online environment.

It’s been said that Supply Chain Management is a difficult major.

The difficulty of a degree program is largely dependent on the student’s own strengths and weaknesses, but certain fields are widely considered to be among the most difficult, while others are generally considered to be among the easiest. Although supply chain management is usually somewhere in the middle, some programs tend to be more challenging than others.

Unlike some of the more challenging college majors, a supply chain management degree typically does not necessitate the same number of rigorous high-level math and science classes. A strong foundation in math and statistics is a must, but supply chain management coursework also teaches students how to effectively use industry software, tools, and other kinds of technology.

A student’s academic background plays a role in determining how difficult their coursework will be. Business core courses like accounting, marketing, finance, human resources, and management make up the majority of the courses required for a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a supply chain management concentration. Compared to a concentration in supply chain management, many people think this degree program is more manageable in the long run.

Systems engineering is one of the most challenging majors in logistics and supply chain management. It is common practice in systems engineering to apply mathematical and scientific principles to the development of practical solutions to real-world issues. Applying mathematical models to supply chain management is a common practice when dealing with logistics issues

In many ways, supply chain management is a difficult job. There is a lot of stress in supply chain management work because of logistical issues, including shipping delays and stock issues.

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