If you enjoy problem solving and collaboration, you may be particularly suited for the logistics and supply chain industry. As a discipline, supply chain management and logistics examines analytic, theoretical, and practical approaches to transporting goods and services, from their point of production to their point of consumption. This includes the planning, implementation, and control of procedures for inbound, outbound, and internal movement. From the smallest family business to the largest global corporations, supply chain and logistics professionals are widely in demand throughout the United States today.
Pursuing a master’s degree in supply chain and logistics management provides professionals with the advanced skills required for senior positions and higher salaries in the industry. With the skill set they gain from this program, graduates can do their part to develop and improve distribution practices, drive innovation, and further the discipline as a whole. For current supply chain managers looking for a career change or seeking advancement within their organization, an online master’s in supply chain management offers an affordable and flexible educational option that helps you compete in a growing job market where median salaries can reach over $70,000.
Listed below are accredited program options for students seeking to earn a master’s in supply chain management online. Online learning allows students to complete coursework on their own schedules, with more flexibility than traditional on-campus programs. And because our ranking methodology takes into account both cheap tuition costs and high returns on investment, working professionals will be able to find the most affordable supply chain and logistics program for their needs.
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What Will I Learn in My Online Master’s in Supply Chain Management Program?
An online master’s degree in supply chain management gives students the knowledge to understand strategies and operations to effectively run an end-to-end supply chain for a company. Here’s a brief selection of the type of courses offered in any given online supply chain management MBA:
- Contract Pricing and Negotiation This course teaches students the art of negotiation, from procuring a price analysis before the bargain to actually practicing negotiating techniques to maximize profit.
- Supply Chain Logistics Students learn techniques to analyze transportation, material handling, and inventory. Supply chain logistics courses often include information about how to maximize new technologies.
- Business Ethics Most online supply chain management master’s programs include some type of business ethics class in their core curriculum. Students learn how their decisions and behaviors impact the business at large.
- Operations Management This course teaches students how to manage manufacturing and service operations, an essential component of supply chain management.
- Materials Management Another integral part of supply chain management is purchasing and materials management — selecting and purchasing materials — which students learn in this course.
Concentrations for a Supply Chain Management Master’s Degree
Master’s programs often provide students with the opportunity to focus on a certain area, and online supply chain master’s degrees are no different. Concentrations allow students to hone in on a certain specialization within their career paths. Below are a few examples of those concentrations:
- Logistics Management: The logistics management concentration teaches students how to make decisions in the areas of transportation management and warehouse and distribution centers. The concentration also gives students an understanding of logistics network design as a whole.
- Global Supply Chain Management: Students who concentrate on global supply chain management learn about international trade and finance, as well as multinational logistics.
- Nonprofit Management: This concentration within online supply chain management master’s programs allow students interested in working for nonprofit companies to focus on how to operate supply chain logistics for not-for-profit organizations.
Employment Outlook for Master’s in Supply Chain Management Graduates
Earning a supply chain management master’s degree online can boost your chances of gaining employment in a leadership position, and therefore bump your potential earnings considerably. Plus, earning an MBA in supply chain management can open up career opportunities across the business field, including managerial and analyst roles. People considering this path should have leadership skills and the abilities to think critically and problem solve on their feet. Below is a short selection of jobs you might be able to find after receiving a master’s in supply chain management online:
Logisticians are the masterminds of company supply chains. In other words, logisticians figure out how Product X gets from point A to point B. They analyze and coordinate to make a company’s supply chain operate at maximum efficiency. Although logisticians can find jobs in their fields after earning a bachelor’s degree, receiving an advanced degree helps put them in leadership roles and, in turn, boosts their incomes.
Projected Growth Rate 2%
Purchasing managers play the role of buyers for companies. The job is much more complex than a company-oriented shopping runs, however; purchasing managers plan, direct and coordinate the purchases of products and services. Earning a master’s degree can raise purchasing managers’ earning potential, but professionals with bachelor’s degrees can find jobs in this field too.
Projected Growth Rate 1%
Industrial Production Manager
Industrial production managers work in manufacturing plants, where they oversee daily operations. In essence, this means that they are in charge of directing the process of creating goods for a company. Professionals without advanced degrees can become industrial production managers, but pursuing a master’s degree increases one’s chances of getting this leadership role.
Projected Growth Rate -4%
Transportation, Storage, and Distribution Manager
Much like the above occupation, transportation, storage, and distribution managers direct and coordinate a company’s everyday operations involving transportation, storage, and distribution. Since companies do not always require a bachelor’s degree for entry level positions, an advanced degree would certainly set any candidates far above the crowd.
Projected Growth Rate 2%
Supply Chain Management Licensure and Certification
A student pursuing his or her master’s in supply chain management online often has the opportunity to earn licensure or pursue a specific area of certification. Since some careers in this field require licensure — and most companies reward employees who are licensed — students should consider ensuring that they become particularly attractive candidates by earning both a master’s and a license.
- Certified in Professional in Supplier Diversity The CPSD is unique in the field, as it certifies professionals in the supplier industry to diversify suppliers. The Institute for Supply Management offers the certification, and professionals with experience must take an exam to receive the certification.
- Certified Professional in Supply Management The Institute for Supply Management also offers the CPSM, a certificate directed toward supply managers. A certified professional must first take three exams, covering contracting, negotiation, forecasting, and planning, among other skills. Professionals must also work in the field for at least three years before becoming certified.
- Certified Supply Chain Professional The CSCP, offered by the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS), is a general certification that requires professionals to demonstrate knowledge of streamlined operations. The certificate requires one exam.
Job Placement for Supply Chain Management Graduates
In some cases, a bachelor’s degree or even a high school diploma can help professionals in the supply
management field land an entry-level job. Only 24% of people working in operations logistics held an advanced
degree, according to a recent report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce
(CEW). However, professionals with master’s degrees are far more likely to find higher-ranking positions and
receive higher salaries. In fact, professionals in operations logistics with advanced degrees hold a 63%
earnings boost over those without a graduate degree,
the CEW study found. That’s the largest earnings boost in any career path within the business field.
Master’s In Supply Chain Management Salary
Along with education level, the extent of time a person spends working within a career has an impact on employee earnings in the supply chain management field. Using data from PayScale, the table below provides a snapshot of expected salaries for managers and analysts in the supply chain field at different stages of their careers. If you’re looking to pursue an affordable online supply chain management program, chances are that your investment will soon pay off.
|Job Title||Overall Median Salary||Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years)||Median Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years)||Median Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)|
|Supply Chain Manager||$79,929||$66,509||$82,156||$91,194|
Do I Need to Take the GRE/GMAT to Enroll in an Online Master’s in Supply Chain Management Program?
The GRE and GMAT entrance exams test how well-prepared students are for graduate school. People familiar with higher education may associate the GMAT with business schools and the GRE with most other graduate programs. However, although most business schools require the GMAT, several business schools now accept the GMAT and GRE alike. The GRE tests analytical writing skills (translation: writing an essay), verbal reasoning skills (translation: answering questions about a passage), and quantitative reasoning skills (translation: math). The GMAT tests verbal skills (translation: reading a passage and answering questions about it), analytical writing skills (translation: writing an essay), quantitative skills (translation: math), and integrated reasoning skills (translation: even more math, but this time with charts and data). Students should generally set aside 12 weeks, or three months, to study for these exams.
Many online supply chain management degree programs do not require a GRE or GMAT entrance exam, although on-campus degree programs often do. But some schools, like the University of Southern California, note that taking one of the exams is “recommended.” At other schools, like Maryville University in Missouri, applicants submit personal letters outlining their qualifications for graduate work instead of submitting test scores.
Accreditation for Online Master’s in Supply Chain Management Degrees
Accreditation is important because it ensures that schools meet quality standards of education. Students who graduate from unaccredited schools can expect a much more difficult job search than their peers who attended accredited schools. Schools fall into two types of accreditation: regional and national. Most schools are regionally accredited, meaning they’ve been reviewed and given a thumbs up from one of six major regional accreditation bodies in the U.S. On the other hand, national accreditation agencies focus on one specific career area or vocational and trade schools.
Some schools offering online master’s programs in supply chain management may be accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). After all, schools often offer supply chain management programs as master’s of business programs, or MBAs. The AACSB accredits business schools around the world.
Financing Your Online Master’s in Supply Chain Management Program
Students should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see whether they qualify for loans from the federal government. The federal government requires students to pay back loans after graduation, but learners can look into grants and scholarships as well. Most scholarships in supply chain management are intended to undergraduate students. However, below you can find a variety of funding opportunities for master’s students to keep your education cheap. Keep in mind that applicants can find many regional scholarships for online master’s programs through state and city chapters of the Institute for Supply Chain Management. Schools also often offer scholarships, so make sure to check with your college or university to ensure that your Supply Chain MBA program is affordable.
Supply Chain Management Scholarships
John J. Murphy Scholarship $7,500 for primary award*
Scholarship Deadline: December 29
Eligibility Requirements: Students must be the child or dependent Supply Chain Logistics department employee of a Food Shippers of America member company. Applicants must also study supply chain management, and they must hold a 3.5 GPA.
*Additional awards of $5,000, $4,000, $3,000, $2,000, and $1,000
Material Handling Education Foundation, Inc. Scholarship Varies from $1,500 to $6,000
Scholarship Deadline: February
Eligibility Requirements: Student must be a enrolled full-time in a field related to the supply chain management and must maintain a “B” grade point average.
Ivan A. Olsen Scholarship Varies from $1,000
Scholarship Deadline: April 1
Eligibility Requirements: Student must be enrolled in one of the programs listed above; hold U.S., Canadian, or Mexican citizenship; and be in good standing with his or her school.
Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals Scholarship $3,500
Scholarship Deadline: March 31
Eligibility Requirements: Graduate students must be based in the Chicago area, must be enrolled in a supply chain management program, and must maintain a 3.5 GPA.
SME Education Foundation Graduate Scholarships Varies
Scholarship Deadline: Varies (check the SME Education Foundation’s website for latest updates).
Eligibility Requirements: Student must be enrolled in one of the programs listed above, and must maintain a 2.5 or 3.0 GPA (depending on the scholarship). Certain scholarships are only available to residents of Michigan, Kansas, and Indiana. See the organization’s website for details.