Medical Supplies Management Degrees: Associate, Bachelor's & Online Class Info

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What kind of job can you get with an associate's or bachelor's degree in medical supplies management? Find out degree program requirements, online options and info on courses and medical supplies management degrees.
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Study Medical Supplies Management: Degrees at a Glance

Though degree programs titled 'medical supplies management' aren't available at this time, many of the duties of this field coincide with supply chain management principles (with some programs specifically tailored toward a healthcare focus). Supply chain degree programs focus on medical terminology, administration and supply chain management principles and teach students to evaluate and manage supplies in healthcare settings, like hospitals, doctor's offices or nursing homes.

You may need at least a bachelor's degree for certain positions in this field, including those in management. Increasingly, master's degrees in healthcare management or administration are becoming more common for management positions.

The job outlook for medical supplies professionals vary based on several factors, including education, facility size and experience. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of medical and health service managers is expected to grow by 22% from 2010 to 2020, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? - Medical supplies professionals who want to increase their knowledge and obtain a degree in their field
- Professionals who are new to medical supplies management or are seeking a career change
- Experienced professionals who want to become managers or advance within their organization
Common Career Paths (with approximate annual salary) - Medical secretaries ($32,000)*
- Entry-level supply chain coordinators (salary not available)
- Supply chain managers ($95,000 - typically 5-7 years of experience)**
- Medical and health service managers ($96,000 - salary may vary with experience)*
Time to Completion Typically 2 years Typically 4 years
Common Graduation Requirements - Completion of coursework
- Maintain GPA standards
- Internship may be encouraged/required
- Typically the same requirements as an associate's program
- Plus an internship or capstone project, if applicable
Prerequisites - High school diploma or GED certificate
- Placement exams
- SAT/ACT test scores
- Meet GPA requirements
- All of the associate's prerequisites, plus
- Personal statement and letter(s) of recommendation, if applicable
Online Availability Not available at this time Related programs are available

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 mean figures). **Salary.com (median salary figures as of September 2012).

Medical Supplies Management Associate's Degrees

Associate's degree programs are not typically available in supply chain management with a concentration in healthcare. Individuals interested in this field can pursue general supply chain management programs. These programs provide a foundation in supply chain principles, including logistics, business management, communications and database management.

An associate's degree program typically comprises 60 academic credits, which can be satisfied in approximately two years. As a student in an associate's degree program, you'll need to complete coursework, study independently and pass course examinations.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • You may be able to transfer credits to a bachelor's program
  • There are often opportunities to advance beyond entry-level careers with additional education and work experience
  • An associate's degree may be sufficient, since some employers value experience over education

Cons

  • Students that delay or depart the workforce to obtain a degree may have a harder time reentering the job market upon graduation
  • Healthcare facilities may require employees to occasionally work 'on call' or outside of normal business hours in the event that emergencies arise
  • Advancing beyond entry-level positions may be more difficult or take longer without a bachelor's or master's degree

Common Courses and Requirements

In a typical associate's degree program, you'll learn the fundamentals of supply chain management and logistics. Generally, associate's programs are structured to include lectures, independent coursework, and examinations. Some programs may encourage or require students to participate in internships.

Students in a supply chain management associate's degree program can expect to study the following topics:

  • Introduction to transportation and logistics
  • Procurement applications
  • Supply chain management concepts
  • Principles of logistics
  • Business and ethics
  • Business communications
  • Inventory management

Online Course Options

Medical supplies management online degree programs aren't currently available. Students who are interested in online courses and degrees should thoroughly research similar programs in supply chain management to ensure that they're accredited by the U.S. Department of Education or one of its accrediting agencies. Individual supply chain courses are available online; however, degree programs are targeted toward bachelor's degrees, not associate's degrees.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

Professionals in the healthcare industry who meet certain eligibility requirements may consider taking a certification examination to earn a management credential, such as the Certified Medical Manager (CMM) exam. Passing the CMM exam may show potential employers your range of skills and knowledge of industry standards. Eligibility requirements include three years of professional experience and twelve credit hours in courses pertinent to healthcare or business management (the educational credit requirement is reduced by one hour for each year of experience above the three-year minimum).

Medical Supplies Management Bachelor's Degrees

Similar to associate's degree programs, bachelor's programs in medical supplies management aren't currently available. Instead, students who are interested in this industry can consider degree programs in supply chain management with a concentration in healthcare.

Curriculums are typically structured in a four-year program that provides students with an in-depth understanding of issues in the supply chain industry, including purchasing, operations and distribution. Healthcare concentrations allow students to understand how these key issues relate specifically to the healthcare system. Students may also study healthcare terminology and information technology systems typical to supplies and logistics systems.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Most programs include an internship component that provides relevant work experience
  • A bachelor's degree may poise experienced workers for advancement opportunities
  • According to the BLS, growth in healthcare careers is expected as the baby-boom generation ages and people live longer (for example, medical health services managers were predicted to see a 22% employment growth between 2010-2020)*

Cons

  • Even entry-level positions may necessitate relevant professional experience, regardless of an applicant's academic credentials
  • Some positions in nursing care and assisted-living facilities are regulated by state governments; administrators in these facilities must be licensed
  • You may compete with master's degree holders for management positions

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Common Courses and Requirements

Bachelor's programs are structured similarly to associate's programs, but they're more detailed and focused. Students in a supply chain management program with a concentration in healthcare systems can expect coursework on the following topics: managerial and business concepts, introduction to supply chain management, planning and inventory control, introduction to healthcare supply chains, and purchasing management. In addition to coursework requirements, students will need to attend lectures and may be required to participate in an internship or capstone project.

Online Degree Options

Online bachelor's programs in supply chain management are available. Commonly, online programs are reading- and writing-intensive with a focus on independent coursework and online lectures. Some schools may offer hybrid distance-learning options that may require students to participate in on-campus group assignments or participate in internships in their local area.

Stand Out with this Degree

You can set yourself apart from your peers by becoming proficient in relevant technology programs, including database and accounting software, which is particularly useful in jobs that require record management responsibilities. You may also want to consider ongoing professional development courses to stay up to date on industry trends. Taking extra initiative to learn new and relevant skills may make you more attractive to potential employers.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BSBA in Management
      • BBA: Project Management
      • Bachelor of Business Admin
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    2. Regent University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Science in Business - General Management
      • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies
      • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Business
      • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Self-Designed
      • Bachelor of Science in Business
      • Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Business
  • Tuscaloosa, AL

    The University of Alabama

  • Gainesville, FL

    University of Florida

  • Coral Gables, FL

    University of Miami

  • Philadelphia, PA

    University of Pennsylvania

  • Online Programs Available
    7. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Project Management
      • BS - Business Management
      • BS - Organizational Leadership

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • BSBA in Management
  • BBA: Project Management
  • Bachelor of Business Admin

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Regent University

  • Bachelor of Science in Business - General Management
  • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Leadership Studies - Business

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Colorado State University Global

  • BS - Project Management
  • BS - Business Management
  • BS - Organizational Leadership

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