Study Logistics: Associate's, Bachelor's & Online Degree Info

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What kind of job can you get with an associate's or bachelor's degree in logistics? Find out degree program requirements, online options and info on courses and logistics training programs.
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Logistics Associate's and Bachelor's Degrees at a Glance

Logistics professionals work in a range of occupations that support the management and distribution of resources. They might have careers in transportation, material handling or inventory management, to name a few. To work in the field, individuals must have a strong understanding of common distribution methods and the technologies used to optimize the delivery of goods and services.

An associate's degree program can prepare you for entry-level opportunities in warehousing, purchasing or transportation. A bachelor's degree program can provide the training required to seek careers in management. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that many positions in the industry will undergo faster-than-average job growth over the next decade, though some will see little to no change. Purchasing managers, buyers and purchasing agents should see 7% growth over the 2010-2020 decade (www.bls.gov). Logisticians should see a 26% increase in positions.

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? Individuals seeking entry-level positions in the transportation, warehousing or production industries People interested in management careers in a range of sectors
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) - Material recording clerk (unavailable)
- Cargo and freight agent ($41,000)*
- Purchasing agent ($61,000)*
- Logistician ($75,000)*
- Transportation, storage or distribution manager ($88,000)*
- Purchasing manager ($103,000)*
Time to Completion 2 years full-time 4 years full-time
Common Graduation Requirements Roughly 60 credits Roughly 120 credits
Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent High school diploma or equivalent
Online Availability Yes Yes

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Associate's in Logistics

An associate's degree program in logistics or logistics management should deliver a basic education in the business and communication concepts required for a range of entry-level positions. Programs emphasize important logistics technologies, including geographic information systems (GIS) and radio-frequency identification (RFID). In addition to technical training, many schools offer a foundation in leadership and personnel management.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Cargo and freight agents might see job growth of 29% over the 2010-2020 decade*
  • A program's business focus can prepare you for a range of career opportunities in and out of logistics
  • Many programs transfer to a bachelor's degree program should you decide to continue your education

Cons

  • Material recording clerks would see little or no change (2%) in job growth over the 2010-2020 decade
  • Competition against bachelor's degree holders might present a challenge for several positions in the industry
  • Even with an associate's degree, you may need to complete up to six months of on-the-job training
  • Some positions in the industry only require a high school diploma

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010-2020 job growth projections).

Courses and Requirements

The associate's degree program combines a range of courses meant to develop skills in materials and supply chain management, distribution and inventory control. Students gain an understanding of security and regulatory practices in the industry. You will learn about the standard processes logistics professionals use to manage the production and delivery of goods to the consumer. Following are some common courses offered by these programs:

  • Secure logistics
  • Importing and exporting
  • Warehouse management
  • Traffic management
  • Business law
  • Customer service
  • Retailing

Online Degree Info

Online associate's degree programs deliver courses similar to traditional options. You might find that programs deliver courses in contract management, contract law and or purchasing. Schools often design these online programs to meet the needs of working professionals. Some programs are delivered in an accelerated format.

Stand Out with This Degree

Experience, negotiation skills and certification might improve job prospects. Advancement to purchasing management positions generally requires experience as a buyer or purchasing agent. Consider taking advantage of internships or other work experience opportunities during your studies. In addition, taking courses in negotiation or sales will build the skills required for positions in purchasing. The Certified Supply Chain Professional credential is offered by the Association for Operations Management (APICS) and can help prove your understanding of supply chain technologies.

Bachelor's in Logistics

A bachelor's degree program in logistics or supply chain management should provide students with a deeper foundation of supply chain management through directed electives and advanced coursework. Schools often structure these programs to provide concentrations or tracks in material and inventory management, global logistics or systems management, to name a few. Classes in supervision, technology and business strategy should prepare you for a role in management in and out of the industry. Some programs offer internships, cooperative education opportunities or capstone projects to round out your education and provide practical experience.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Logisticians could see job growth of 26% over the 2010-2020 decade*
  • Purchasing managers earned competitive mean annual salaries of $103,000**
  • Employers are seeking job candidates with higher education

Cons

  • Competition against master's degree holders might present a challenge for logistician opportunities
  • Some employers may only require a high school diploma or associate's degree for some positions
  • Obtaining the appropriate certificate will require a career-long commitment of financial resources

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010-2020 job growth projections), **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures).

Courses and Requirements

The bachelor's degree program should deliver training in the development and implementation of supply chains. Some programs offer courses that cover information systems used in the logistics industry. In addition, programs emphasize the development of business management and supervisory skills. You might take courses in database management, maritime operations, materials and processes, quality management, contract pricing and negotiation, transportation and organizational behavior. Many programs offer an internship or capstone project that synthesizes classroom knowledge and practical experience.

Online Degree Info

An online bachelor's degree program is meant to deliver training similar to that of traditional options. You might find programs that offer courses in public policy, global trade and hazardous materials management. Some schools design their programs to offer a high level of flexibility; students participate in designing a program that complements their life experience and education level. In addition, some programs offer students the opportunity to perform a high level of research in the industry.

Stand Out with This Degree

Experience and certification can improve your job prospects. Logistician and purchasing manager positions generally require work experience in a related field. Participating in several internships, pursuing part-time work and taking advantage of cooperative education opportunities can boost your level of experience. The Institute for Supply Management administers the Certified Professional in Supply Management credential, which requires a bachelor's degree. Consider taking advantage of technical coursework that provides training in industry-standard applications, including GIS and RFID technologies.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate: Business Admin.
      • AASBA in Small Business Management
      • AASBA in Retail Management
      • AASBA -Entrepreneurship
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate of Science in Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts - Accounting
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate of Science - Business Management
      • Associate of Science - Business Studies
  • Online Programs Available
    5. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • Associate of Arts in Business Administration
  • Milwaukee, WI

    Milwaukee Area Technical College

  • Online Programs Available
    7. Indiana Wesleyan University

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • A.S. Business
      • A.S. General Studies - Business
      • A.S. General Studies - Entrepreneurship
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Excelsior College

    Program Options

    Associate's
      • AAS in Administrative and Management Studies

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • Associate: Business Admin.
  • AASBA in Small Business Management
  • AASBA in Retail Management

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Colorado Technical University

  • Associate of Science in Business Administration

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Keiser University

  • Associate of Arts - Accounting

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Herzing University

  • Associate of Science - Business Management
  • Associate of Science - Business Studies

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American InterContinental University

  • Associate of Arts in Business Administration

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Indiana Wesleyan University

  • A.S. Business
  • A.S. General Studies - Business
  • A.S. General Studies - Entrepreneurship

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Excelsior College

  • AAS in Administrative and Management Studies

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