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

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What kind of job can you get with an associate's or bachelor's degree in transportation management? Find out degree program requirements, online options and info on courses and transportation management training programs.
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Studying Transportation Management: Degrees at a Glance

Professionals in the transportation management industry perform tasks in a range of occupations. The industry employs technicians, clerks, administrative personnel, supervisors and managers. The goal of specialists in the industry is to coordinate the movement of goods to local, national and international locations economically. Many occupations in the industry require a high school diploma and the associate's degree in transportation or logistics management can prepare you for a number of entry-level careers in purchasing, warehousing, sales and transportation. The bachelor's degree explores the industry further and prepares you for a career in management.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed that several occupations in the field are growing at an average through faster than average pace. The BLS also reported that the mean annual wage for all occupations in the transportation and material moving industry was $33,000 annually, as of 2011.

Associate's Bachelor's
Who is this degree for? People seeking entry-level opportunities in purchasing, business operations or logistics Individuals interested in a career path toward transportation management
Common Career Paths (with approximate mean annual salary) - Sales representative, wholesale and manufacturing ($64,000)
- Wholesale and retail buyers except farm products ($57,000)*
- Cargo or freight agent ($41,000)*
- First-line supervisors of helpers, laborers and material movers ($47,000)*
- Logistician ($75,000)*
- Purchasing manager ($103,000)*
- Cost estimator ($63,000)*
- - Transportation, distribution or storage manager ($89,000)*
Time to Completion 2 years full-time 2 years full-time with a transferrable associate's degree, 4 years full-time without an associate's degree
Common Graduation Requirements - Roughly 60 credits
- Transportation and logistics capstone
- Approximately 120 credits
- Internship or capstone project
- Foreign language requirement
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 Degree in Transportation Management

The associate's degree in transportation management offers an introductory education. Colleges may confer a degree in transportation or logistics management. The associate's degree provides a foundation in core transportation, business and technology. The program rounds out your education through general education courses. You may work closely with an advisor to ensure you select the appropriate electives. Some colleges develop articulation agreements so you can transfer credits to a bachelor's degree program.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The degree may make you more competitive for positions that require a high school diploma
  • Salaries are relatively competitive when compared to the national average for other occupations
  • Programs may transfer to a bachelor's degree program

Cons

  • You may compete with bachelor's degree holders for opportunities in purchasing or of a scientific or technical nature
  • Opportunities for buyers and purchasing agents were expected to move slowly (5%) through 2020*
  • Seeking the appropriate certification will extend your training

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

Common Courses and Requirements

The associate's degree offers roughly 60 credits in general education, core and elective coursework. You will learn the fundamentals of logistics and business through a number of introductory courses. Some programs require the completion of a transportation management capstone project or a work-based learning course. In addition, you may choose elective courses to tailor your program to your career goals. Following are some common courses:

  • International transportation
  • Traffic management principles
  • Distribution center management
  • Purchasing
  • Export management
  • Transportation administration
  • Supply-chain information systems

Online Course Info

Online transportation management associate's degrees exist and provide courses similar to campus-based colleges. You will take introductory classes using an online classroom that may combine video and chat technology. As a result, access to the required hardware and software is important. Schools structure programs to meet the needs of working professionals and may offer the degree in an accelerated format. Checking your selected program's accreditation is important to ensure you are receiving a recognized education.

Stand Out with This Degree

The transportation industry offers a broad range of occupations. Important skills in the field include customer service and technology. Experience also plays a role for some occupations on the management career track. Taking courses in customer service and industry-standard technologies will boost your employability. In addition, participating in internships, collaborative projects or programs will provide practical experience.

Seeking certification will also enhance your marketability. Multiple organizations offer certification options depending on your career goals and employment sector. For example, the International Society of Logistics offers several credentials, including the Demonstrated Logistician and the Certified Master Logistician.

Bachelor's in Transportation Management

The bachelor's degree in transportation management offers an education that will prepare you for a career in management. Programs offer general education, core and elective coursework to provide a well-rounded education. You will learn to solve complex business problems, understand the global business environment and apply logistics strategies to business operations. Some programs require an associate's degree in a related discipline and act as articulation programs that complete a transportation management degree.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Specialization in multiple areas provides the possibility for a customized learning experience
  • Internship programs provide practical experience required by many employers
  • Overall, job growth was expected to be average or faster-than-average over the 2010-2020 decade*

Cons

  • Some opportunities, including high-level purchasing positions, will require a master's degree
  • Certification courses will extend the length of time it takes to complete your training
  • Purchasing manager opportunities were expected to grow at 7% (slower than average) through 2020*

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

Common Courses and Requirements

The bachelor's degree combines roughly 120 credits in technical, business and logistics courses to provide a flexible education. Some universities offer concentrations in material or inventory management or contract management. Programs offer a flexible degree plan that provides courses in international business, microeconomics, accounting, financial management and research methods. In addition, you will take courses in marketing, supply-chain management, business operations and business law. You may also take courses in public policy, international logistics management, hazardous materials and port security. Many programs require an internship, which will provide practical experience with an employer of your choice.

Online Course Info

The bachelor's degree is available as an online education experience. Programs offer a business education combined with technology and transportation courses. Universities usually structure programs to meet the needs of working professionals. As a result, your courses may be presented in an accelerated format. You will need the appropriate hardware and software to complete your online education.

Stand Out with This Degree

Similar to the associate's degree, seeking the appropriate certification, gaining experience and increasing your technical skills will promote marketability. Taking advantage of internships, co-operative education programs or collaborative projects will provide the experience required by employers. Selecting logistics technology courses, such as radio-frequency identification, or RFID, will provide the technical foundations valued by employers. Choosing an appropriate certification that validates your skills or understanding of the government purchasing and contracting process will boost your marketability in a competitive market.

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Colorado Christian University

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