Top Careers with Supply Chain Management Degree

Top Careers with Supply Chain Management Degree

14 minute read

Interested in a career with excellent salary prospects? Consider earning a degree in Supply Chain Management! 

According to the U.S Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook, the median salary for Logisticians (or Supply Chain Managers) with a Bachelor's Degree is $77,520 per year

Demand for Supply Chain Managers is also high, with job growth now through 2032 projected to be 18%.

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What is a Supply Chain?

Nearly every finished product moves in some way through a series of manufacturers, distributors, and service organizations. This is the supply chain. 

For example, a computer is built from a wide variety of parts. These parts are manufactured by different companies and distributed to be assembled by separate service providers. The finished product, in this case the computer, is then distributed yet again, so it can be sold to the end consumer. 

The concept of a supply chain has existed for a long time, but organizations often don’t think much about what’s happening outside their own four walls. This can create poor processes between collaborating businesses, resulting in costly and ineffective supply chains. Supply Chain Managers help fix these processes.

What Do Supply Chain Managers Do? 

Supply chain managers are the backbone of successful operations, overseeing the intricate process from start to finish.

Key Responsibilities of Supply Chain Managers

Supply chain managers are responsible for overseeing the entire supply chain process, from sourcing raw materials to delivering finished products. They plan and coordinate the movement of goods, manage inventory levels, and develop strategies for cost reduction and efficiency improvement.

 Key responsibilities include:

  • Monitoring and optimizing transportation and logistics operations
  • Managing inventory levels to ensure optimal stock availability
  • Analyzing data and performance metrics to identify opportunities for cost reduction and efficiency improvement
  • Collaborating with suppliers and vendors to maintain strong relationships
  • Ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements

These responsibilities require a combination of strategic thinking, problem-solving skills, and strong leadership abilities. 

Critical Skills and Qualifications

Supply chain managers hold a pivotal role in the success of businesses by overseeing the intricate process of supply chain management. Strong analytical abilities, proficiency in supply chain software, and leadership qualities are just a few of the critical traits needed to excel in this role. 

Skills and Qualifications include:

  • Proficiency in Supply Chain Management software (for example, Zoho Inventory, Wasp Inventory, or Sage Intacct) 
  • Knowledge of logistics and transportation processes
  • Familiarity with inventory management and demand forecasting

  • Relevant certifications such as Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) or Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM)

  • A degree in Supply Chain Management, business administration, or a related field

By possessing these skills and qualifications, Supply Chain Managers can effectively navigate the complexities of their role and drive success in their organizations.

Top Industries to Start Your Supply Chain Management Career 

For individuals looking to start a career in supply chain management, it is important to consider the top industries where opportunities are abundant. From manufacturing to healthcare, there are a variety of sectors that rely on efficient supply chain management to ensure smooth operations.

1. E-commerce 

With the growing popularity of online shopping, e-commerce companies need professionals who can effectively manage the movement of goods from suppliers to customers. 

Supply Chain Management graduates play a vital role in optimizing inventory levels, minimizing costs, and ensuring timely delivery of products to meet customer demands. From implementing new technologies to improve warehouse operations to developing strategies for efficient delivery networks, Supply Chain Management graduates can oversee logistics operations and contribute to the growth of any company selling goods online. 

2. Manufacturing

Manufacturing is another industry that uses Supply Chain Management to ensure the smooth flow of the materials and components required for production. Procurement managers, production planners, or logistics coordinators with a background in Supply Chain Management can optimize the manufacturing process by improving inventory management, maintaining supplier relationships, and reducing production costs.  

3. Sustainability

With the increasing focus on sustainability and ethical sourcing, Supply Chain Management graduates can contribute to creating environmentally friendly manufacturing processes. They can help companies develop sustainable supply chains, reduce waste, and ensure responsible sourcing of raw materials. 

4. Logistics and Transportation

Supply chain experts who work for logistics and transportation companies focus on improving warehouse operations, coordinating transportation routes, and optimizing distribution networks. With the rise of global trade and the increasing complexity of supply chains, Supply Chain Management graduates are also helping these companies navigate challenges—such as customs regulations, trade compliance, and risk management—and adopt new technologies for automation and data analytics that improve operational efficiency. 

5. Healthcare

Whether working with hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, or healthcare logistics providers, graduates in Supply Chain Management ensure the availability of medical supplies, equipment, and pharmaceuticals 

They can also work to improve patient safety by implementing quality control measures and ensuring the traceability of medical products. 

How to Become a Supply Chain Manager

Are you interested in pursuing a career as a supply chain manager? With the essential duties and skills required for success in this role, there are key responsibilities that you must be prepared to take on. 

Earn a Degree in Supply Chain Management

Earning a bachelor's degree in Supply Chain Management typically involves several steps, including completing prerequisite courses, major-specific coursework, and potentially gaining practical experience through internships or co-op programs. Starting with taking courses on platforms like StraighterLine that can be a flexible and convenient way to fulfill some of the initial requirements. Here's a general overview of the process:

Begin by researching universities and colleges offering bachelor's degrees in Supply Chain Management. Look into their program requirements, accreditation, faculty expertise, and available resources. Many bachelor's programs require certain prerequisite courses in subjects like mathematicseconomicsstatistics, and business fundamentals. Platforms like StraighterLine offer online courses that can fulfill these prerequisites at your own pace and schedule.

Throughout the process, it's important to stay organized, manage your time effectively, and take advantage of resources available to you, such as academic advisors, career services, and networking opportunities.

Bachelor’s Degree vs Associate’s Degree

Earning a bachelor's degree versus an associate degree in Supply Chain Management involves differences in the depth of education, career opportunities, and overall career trajectory. Here's a breakdown of the distinctions:

Depth and Breadth of Curriculum:

  • Bachelor's Degree: Bachelor's degree programs typically offer a more comprehensive and in-depth curriculum covering various aspects of Supply Chain Management. These programs delve into advanced topics such as supply chain strategy, global logistics, procurement, inventory management, and supply chain analytics.
  • Associate Degree: Associate degree programs in Supply Chain Management provide a foundational understanding of the field but tend to cover a narrower range of topics and may focus more on practical skills and basic concepts. They often include introductory courses in logistics, inventory control, and supply chain operations.

Duration and Level of Education:

  • Bachelor's Degree: Bachelor's degree programs generally take four years of full-time study to complete. They require a greater time commitment and involve completing a higher number of credit hours compared to associate degree programs.
  • Associate Degree: Associate degree programs typically take two years of full-time study to complete. They are shorter in duration and offer a quicker path to entering the workforce compared to bachelor's degree programs.

Career Opportunities and Advancement:

  • Bachelor's Degree: A bachelor's degree in Supply Chain Management opens up a broader range of supply chain management career opportunities and positions with higher levels of responsibility. It qualifies individuals for roles such as supply chain analyst, logistics manager, procurement specialist, operations planner, and supply chain consultant.
  • Associate Degree: An associate degree in Supply Chain Management qualifies individuals for entry-level positions in the field, such as logistics coordinator, inventory clerk, materials handler, or purchasing assistant. While it provides a solid foundation for starting a career, advancement opportunities may be more limited compared to those with a bachelor's degree.

Salary Potential:

  • Bachelor's Degree: Generally, individuals with a bachelor's degree in Supply Chain Management command higher salaries than those with an associate degree due to their advanced education and broader skill set. Higher-level positions typically offer better compensation and opportunities for career growth.
  • Associate Degree: While individuals with an associate degree can secure employment in the field, their earning potential may be lower compared to those with a bachelor's degree. However, salary outcomes can vary based on factors such as location, industry, and level of experience.

Continuing Education Opportunities:

  • Bachelor's Degree: Graduates with a bachelor's degree may choose to pursue further education, such as a master's degree or professional certifications, to enhance their skills, specialize in a specific area of Supply Chain Management, or advance their careers.
  • Associate Degree: Individuals with an associate degree may opt to pursue a bachelor's degree later to expand their career opportunities and gain access to higher-level positions and increased earning potential.

In summary, while both bachelor's and associate degrees provide valuable education and career pathways in Supply Chain Management, the bachelor's degree offers a more comprehensive education, broader career prospects, and higher earning potential. The choice between the two depends on individual career goals, time constraints, and desired level of education and advancement.

Earn Certifications

The Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) and Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) are both highly respected certifications in the field of supply chain management. They are offered by two different professional organizations and focus on different aspects of supply chain management.

Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP):

  • Offered by: APICS (Association for Supply Chain Management).
  • Focus: The CSCP certification is designed to validate knowledge and skills in end-to-end supply chain management, including planning, sourcing, manufacturing, and delivering products and services.
  • Content Areas: The exam covers three main modules: Supply Chain Design, Supply Chain Planning and Execution, and Supply Chain Improvement and Best Practices. Topics include supply chain strategy, demand planning, inventory management, logistics, and sustainability.
  • Benefits: Achieving the CSCP certification demonstrates expertise in global supply chain management practices and can lead to career advancement, increased job opportunities, and higher earning potential.


Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM):

  • Offered by: APICS (Association for Supply Chain Management).
  • Focus: The CPIM certification focuses specifically on production and inventory management within the supply chain. It covers the fundamental principles of managing production operations, materials planning, and inventory control.
  • Content Areas: The CPIM exam consists of five modules: Basics of Supply Chain Management, Master Planning of Resources, Detailed Scheduling and Planning, Execution and Control of Operations, and Strategic Management of Resources. Topics include production planning, capacity management, scheduling, inventory management techniques, and continuous improvement methods.
  • Benefits: Attaining the CPIM certification demonstrates proficiency in production and inventory management principles and practices. It enhances credibility, validates skills, and can lead to career advancement opportunities in manufacturing, operations, and supply chain management.

Both the CSCP and CPIM certifications are recognized globally and are highly regarded by employers in the supply chain industry. Professionals often pursue these certifications to enhance their knowledge, skills, and credibility, ultimately positioning themselves for career success in the dynamic field of supply chain management.


Enter the Job Market

The job search process for supply chain management positions shares similarities with other industries but also has some unique aspects. Here's a breakdown of the process, along with specific information relevant to the supply chain management job search:

Identifying Job Opportunities:

  • Utilize General Job Boards: Websites like Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Monster are popular for finding job openings across various industries, including supply chain management.
  • Industry-Specific Job Boards: There are also specialized job boards specifically focused on supply chain and logistics careers. Examples include, SupplyChainBrain, and APICS Career Center.
  • Company Websites: Many companies post job openings directly on their websites. Research and target organizations that are known for their strong supply chain operations and check their careers pages regularly.

Building a Network:

  • Networking is Valuable: Networking plays a crucial role in the supply chain management job search process. Building relationships with professionals in the industry can lead to valuable job leads, referrals, and insights into potential opportunities.
  • Industry Associations: Joining professional associations like APICS, Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), or Institute for Supply Management (ISM) can provide networking opportunities through conferences, events, and online forums.
  • Alumni Networks: Leverage alumni networks from your university or college, especially if they have strong supply chain management programs. Alumni can offer advice, introductions, and potential job leads.

Tailoring Your Resume and Cover Letter:

  • Customize for Each Application: Tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight relevant skills, experiences, and achievements related to supply chain management. Emphasize your knowledge of supply chain principles, software proficiency, process improvement initiatives, and any relevant certifications.
  • Quantify Achievements: Whenever possible, quantify your achievements using metrics or numbers to demonstrate the impact of your contributions in previous roles.

Preparing for Interviews:

  • Research the Company: Gain a thorough understanding of the company's supply chain operations, industry trends, challenges, and competitive landscape.
  • Showcase Your Skills: Be prepared to discuss your experiences and how they align with the requirements of the position. Highlight your problem-solving abilities, analytical skills, attention to detail, and ability to work collaboratively across departments.
  • Practice Behavioral Interviews: Many companies use behavioral interview questions to assess candidates' past behavior and potential fit within the organization. Practice answering behavioral questions using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result).

Balancing Experience and Education:

  • Experience vs. Education: In the supply chain management field, both experience and education are important, but the relative importance may vary depending on the specific role and employer.
  • Experience: Employers often value hands-on experience in supply chain roles, especially for mid-level and senior positions. Internships, co-op programs, and previous roles in logistics, procurement, operations, or inventory management can be highly beneficial.
  • Education: A bachelor's degree in Supply Chain Management or a related field is typically considered a prerequisite for many entry-level and mid-level positions. Advanced degrees, such as a master's in supply chain management or an MBA with a focus on operations or logistics, can enhance career prospects, particularly for leadership roles.

In summary, the supply chain management job search process involves a combination of utilizing job boards, networking, tailoring application materials, preparing for interviews, and balancing relevant experience and education. Building a strong professional network and staying informed about industry trends and developments can significantly enhance your job search efforts in the dynamic field of supply chain management.


Start Your Degree in Supply Chain Management 100% Online with StraighterLine

Many companies prefer to hire individuals with a college degree and a specialty in Supply Chain Management. However, colleges and universities that offer this unique degree are relatively uncommon, particularly if you are looking to earn an associate degree. Fortunately, many of Straighterline’s partner colleges offer a degree in this growing field, including Lipscomb UniversityBaker College, and Franklin University.

StraighterLine courses are transferable to 3,000+ colleges and universities, including the three partner colleges named above. They offer a flexible and affordable way to kickstart your journey to a degree in Supply Chain Management, at your pace and on your schedule. 

By enrolling in our online courses, you can also gain valuable knowledge and skills that are highly sought after, whether your career is in e-commerce, healthcare, manufacturing, or logistics. 

With the growing demand for Supply Chain Management professionals, getting started on your degree with StraighterLine can pave the way for exciting career opportunities. Take the first step toward a degree and career in Supply Chain Management today by exploring a course in the Principles of Management



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