Studying Warehouse Management: Associate and Bachelor's Degrees at a Glance
Warehouse managers are part of the distribution and supply chain that moves products from suppliers to consumers. While warehouse management may not be available as a degree title, schools often offer associate and bachelor's degree programs and courses in distribution, supply chain management or logistics, which will help you learn about warehouse management. Warehouse functions are increasingly automated, but supervisory and management roles require better education and updated training, especially in the use of inventory control procedures, computer resources and staff management for training operational and clerical employees.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected a 26% increase in jobs for logisticians (people who coordinate the movement of goods) from 2010-2020, against 14% for all occupations. This may be related in part to a need for increased distribution of goods and the global economy. The BLS reported a median salary of about $75,000 for logisticians in 2011.
|Who is this degree for?||Individuals who want an entry-level position in warehouse management|| Individuals interested in advancement or management |
|Common Career Paths (with approximate median salary)|| - Distribution Center Supervisor ($48,000 - 5 years experience needed)*|
- Logistics Analyst I - ($48,000 - 0-2 years experience needed)*
- Warehouse Supervisor ($52,000 - high school diploma and 4 years of experience needed)*
-Warehouse Manager ($68,000 - high school and five years of experience needed)*
| - Distribution Center Manager ($88,000 - 8 years of experience needed)*|
- Logistics Manager ($93,000 - 5-7 years of experience needed)*
-Top Logistics Management Executive ($182,000 - 15 years of experience needed)*
|Time to Completion||1-2 years, full-time|| 4-5 years, full-time |
|Common Graduation Requirements|| Typically 60-70 credits, including major area subjects and liberal arts core requirements |
| - Approximately 120 credits |
- May include supervised internships
|Prerequisites||High school diploma or GED||High school diploma or GED|
|Online Availability||Partially online degrees may be available||Limited availability; blended more common|
Source: *Salary.com (2012 median figures).
Associate Degree in Fields Related to Warehouse Management
Traditionally, entry-level operations or clerical positions have been available to high school grads, but you might need an associate degree if you're interested in a supervisory position. In an associate degree program in logistics and supply chain management, you'll learn about warehouse management, inventory control, transportation and materials management.
Associate degree programs are most often available at community and technical colleges and can function as stepping-stones to related bachelor's degrees. You will complete core general courses typical of those required during the first two years of a 4-year degree. You may have opportunities to complete internships or participate in honors programs.
Pros and Cons
- Some credits may be transferable to a 4-year degree
- Degree programs available in diverse locations
- Strong growth opportunity field with training
- Some courses may be available online
- Advanced education may be required for upper-level management positions
- High school graduates with appropriate training may be able to compete for some positions
- Opportunities may be less available in locations that do not have significant warehousing and distribution facilities
Courses and Requirements
You may need to study math, geography and fundamentals of international commerce in addition to warehouse, logistics and supply chain topics. Those specializing in international commerce can benefit from foreign language skills, international finance or business courses. Your coursework might include:
- Foundations of strategic procurement
- Warehouse management
- Transportation and traffic management
- International shipping and international transportation regulatory compliance
- Managerial accounting
- Customer service principles
Online Course Options
Fully online programs may be hard to find, but individual courses may be available. Online courses have similar requirements to on-campus courses, but 24/7 access may permit more flexibility in scheduling if you have additional commitments. These courses may require access to specific browsers or software.
You could also look into online non-credit courses offered by professional organizations like the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP). These courses, which are available for a fee, are designed by highly regarded practitioners who have state-of-the art knowledge of the topic addressed.
Getting Ahead with This Degree
Because many employers prefer to hire people with experience, undertaking an internship while you're still in school may give you a leg up on the competition. Your internship could focus on marketing, logistics, supply chain management or a number of other areas. Often, internships are an optional part of an associate degree program; some schools require them.
Bachelor's Degree in Fields Related to Warehouse Management
Bachelor's degree programs addressing warehouse management may be available as a logistics or supply chain specialization within a general business degree or as stand-alone programs. These broad perspective programs are designed to develop analytical and problem-solving skills applicable to issues ranging from warehousing and cutting-edge supply chain strategies to inventory management, transportation and procurement. Some programs incorporate global logistics and transportation issues into their programs.
Bachelor's degree programs may be available on campus, online or in hybrid formats. Some may be available in accelerated formats for students with previous applicable study or work experience. In some programs, you may find that classmates are already employed or have some experience in the field. This degree could prepare you for a career with trade management and brokerage organizations, retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers, logistics services companies, software application firms or transportation carriers.
Pros and Cons
- Programs qualify you for management or executive trainee positions
- Can use elective courses and internships to specialize
- Potential for field experiences and internships to gain hands-on training
- In-demand field applicable to a wide variety of businesses
- Field experiences and internship requirements may make other work difficult
- More extended time frame and expense commitment than an associate degree, which could get you an entry-level position
- Master's or MBA grads with enhanced skill sets may be preferred for high-paying positions
Courses and Requirements
The bulk of your program is likely to include core and general business courses, such as managerial accounting, economics, computer applications, marketing and management, followed by 30 to 40 hours in the supply chain logistics major. Courses that you may encounter in a bachelor's degree program include:
- Operations and warehouse management
- Global business management
- Introduction to supply chain management and logistics
- Business logistics systems analysis
- Supply chain management financial, economic, capital, cash and legal considerations
- Principles of quality management
- Global supply chain analysis and planning
Online Class Options
Fully online degree programs in warehouse management, supply management or logistics are uncommon but available. Online degree programs in a related field, such as business administration, possibly with a concentration in the above fields, may be more available. Distance learning courses may have the same requirements as similar on-campus courses, but with scheduling flexibility. Online programs may be helpful for working students or those who hold prior experience in the field.
Getting Ahead with This Degree
You may find that exposure to international business issues would be helpful. Some schools host student supply chain groups, professional organizations, seminars or research centers dedicated to supply chain topics. Participating in internship and field experiences as you earn your degree may give you a head start on your career. You might review certification options and requirements of CSCMP and other organizations like the Association for Operations Management (APICS). You may be able to apply your work experience to requirements for professional designations like the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional certificate.