Best Online Master’s in Supply Chain Management Programs

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Supply chain management (SCM) is the oversight of materials, information and finances as they move from supplier to consumer. SCM professionals essentially manage the entire lifecycle of a product: how it’s acquired, distributed, allocated and delivered.

Many major industries, retail, tech, manufacturing, and even the federal government, have a need for qualified supply management experts, making it one of the most in-demand jobs in the marketplace today. Opportunities range from day-to-day, on-site management of people and product flows to office-type positions in charge of supply management, demand forecasting and inventory control. Professionals who thrive in an ever-changing environment and are looking for a rewarding career shift will feel at home in this position. An online master’s in supply management will give prospects a major boost in the marketplace and allow them to command a high starting salary (and negotiate a big signing bonus).

2016 Online Education Trends Report: Learn how online programs are changing the face of higher education.

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Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description    
1

Florida Institute of Technology

 4/554.96%Melbourne, FL

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Florida Institute of Technology is the premier choice for a master’s in supply chain management. Their program encourages students to collaborate and work hands-on in planning and implementing supply chain strategies. Many of the students are working professionals from the U.S. Armed Forces, the government and the private sector.

Each faculty member has advanced operational and professional experience in supply chain operations and management through the military and other industries. Many have published articles or research in this field.

Students are encouraged to bring up current issues in their workplace and collaborate with the faculty to find solutions. They are also allowed to submit their own articles to respected trade magazines, such as the Supply Chain Management Review and World Trade.

Quick Facts

  • To encourage working professionals to enroll, FIT is military friendly and provides flexible programs that accommodate fluctuating schedules.
  • Class size is small and students are directly mentored by faculty with practical experience.
  • The master’s program is available in multiple locations and online; those locations include the Kennedy Space Center, FIT Orlando, and Florida Tech Online.
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2

Lehigh University

 4/587.39%Bethlehem, PA

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Lehigh offers a flexible environment to study the overarching field of supply chain management. The program is ideal for supply-side managers, buyers, logistical professionals and people who lead or hope to lead cross-functional teams. They also offer an in-depth study of internal and external value chains.

Students are encouraged to explore diverse issues from team leadership to activity-based costing. The goal is to provide valuable, actionable knowledge no matter the industry or organization graduates plan on working in.

All of the faculty have industry experience and lessons are supplemented by experts. Students also have the opportunity to work hands-on.

Quick Facts

  • Courses can be taken individually or as a complete certificate program in one year.
  • Lehigh offers up to 12 credit hours to non-degree students.
  • Any credits received may be transferred to the MBA program as elective credits upon acceptance.
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3

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

 2/523.16%Daytona Beach, FL

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The supply chain management master’s at Embry-Riddle offers two tracks: a General Track and a Certification in Transportation and Logistics (CTL) Track.

The latter is approved by the American Society of Transportation and Logistics. Students who complete this program are eligible for CTL certification without having to sit for the six exams.

Both programs prepare students for various important certifications: the Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) from the Association for Operations Management (APICS), the Certified Professional Logistics (CPL) certification program from the International Society of Logistics (SOLE) and the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) offered by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).

Quick Facts

  • Only 28 schools in the U.S. offer the CTL program.
  • Not having to take those exams saves students around $1200.
  • There are over 150 locations, so students can work at a nearby campus or from home.
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4

Georgia College & State University

 2/561.26%Milledgeville, GA

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Georgia College is among the elite 5% of the world’s 13,000 business programs that are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). They have been offering a master's in logistics and supply chain management for 40+ years.

This 30-hour program has been updated and expanded to meet the increased demand in Georgia. It is designed for students to finish quickly and efficiently. All of the faculty have real-world experience, and students can work around their own schedules.

Additionally, all students get hands-on opportunities, allowing them to connect with companies who are hiring right now.

Quick Facts

  • Logistics is a $15 billion industry in Georgia.
  • Georgia’s growth is expected to outpace the national average by 5% and triple the Southeast average by 2016.
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5

Fontbonne University

 3/548.13%Saint Louis, MO

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Selected by G.I. Magazine as a "Military Friendly School" in 2014, Fontbonne University offers an extremely flexible master’s program in supply chain management with multiple concentrations. The 30-credit-hour course is offered online and can be completed in as little as one year. An 18-credit-hour certificate is also available.

Courses are eight weeks long with a focus on "six sigma" and "lean" principles, made famous by Toyota. Concentrations are available in accounting, management and nonprofit management.

Students are offered electives such as Organizational Culture and Communication, Materials Management, Finance & Negotiation in the Supply Chain and Governance, Leadership and Management for Nonprofits.

Quick Facts

  • If students fulfill the requirements from their concentration, they only need an additional six to twelve course hours to complete it.
  • Fontbonne is a co-ed liberal arts Catholic University.
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6

Air Force Institute of Technology

 3/5N/AWright-Patterson AFB, OH

The AFIT supply chain management course focuses on state-of-the-art management knowledge and tools to help students solve defense acquisition and logistics problem. However, their program also prepares "civilians" for any position requiring expertise in logistics and supply chain theory and problem application.

The program requires six academic quarters. The designated courses include statistics, operations research, financial management, economics, organization and management theory.

Students may pursue a systems view of logistics management or specialize in a specific area such as acquisition logistics, transportation management or supply management. They enforce improved critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills.

Quick Facts

  • This program is funded to "target individuals within the acquisition or logistics career fields working at depots, labs, acquisition centers or program offices, or headquarters." That means free tuition!
  • Applicants who are not funded are admitted on a case-by-case basis.
  • The program starts each winter quarter.
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7

University of Wisconsin – Platteville

 2/551.63%Platteville, WI

Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s master’s focuses on helping students become experts in industrial production so they can manage the creation of new products from the top down.

Platteville's program goes beyond general business principles into exploring how to balance business and technical requirements. While students can expect to study all of the standard core concepts, there are many specialized electives students can choose to tailor the program to their needs.

For example, students can take: Supply Chain Modeling and Decision Analysis, Supply Chain Sustainability, Outsourcing and Project Procurement Management, Inventory Management and Control, Import/Export and Customer Relationship Management.

Quick Facts

  • Most courses are 3 credits, and 30-33 credits total are required for graduation.
  • All of the courses are online.
  • You can take up to seven years to complete your degree.
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In order to maximize efficiency while minimizing cost, businesses need increasingly complex supply and distribution systems. Effective supply chain management allows companies to compete in a global market. Therefore, an SCM professional’s skills directly affect a company’s profitability.

With the global market expanding, employment for highly-trained professionals is expected to grow rapidly as companies need to move products efficiently, solve problems and identify areas for improvement.

The courses online master’s in supply chain management students can expect to take include: International Supply Chain Management, Management Decision Analysis, Taguchi Method of Designing Experiments, and Customer Synchronization. Some colleges and universities offer specializations that prepare students for specific positions or industries, like the nonprofit sector.

All students can expect to graduate with improved teamwork, communication, decision making, problem solving and analytical skills. They will be able to approach any issue in any industry from a logical angle and figure out what’s best for the company and the customer.

Some examples of jobs awaiting master’s graduates include the Logistics Manager for the Oshkosh company, a Supply Line Manager for Intel, a Supply Chain Manager for Reyes Beverage Group or a Program Manager for Nordstrom. The possibilities across all industries are limitless.

Employment Outlook for Supply Chain Management Graduates

However, while there are opportunities in every industry, the largest concentration of jobs are in manufacturing, followed by the Federal Government. In third place is the military, as planning for and moving military supplies and personnel requires a lot of logistical work.

Employment of logisticians in government and contracting firms will continue to grow to meet their needs. In fact, employment is expected to jump 22% by 2022, much faster than other industries. The U.S. Department of Labor projects that demand will far outweigh the supply by 2016.

Supply Chain Management Salaries

According to Indeed.com, the average salary for a supply chain manager is $82,000, increasing considerably depending on amount of experience and education, as well as location; for instance, senior supply managers are reported to make an average of $122,000.

Here is how Indeed breaks down the wages of management positions in some of the industries most relevant to professionals holding a supply chain management master’s:

IndustryAvg. Salary in Management Positions
Electronics and High Tech$170,000
Medical Device Manufacturing$136,000
Metal Manufacturing$124,000
Warehouse Distribution$96,000

No matter the location or industry, a graduate degree always equals more money. The Supply Chain Salary Survey shows that those with a master’s degree earn $120,000 – $148,000 per year, while 4-year college grads earn on average $104,000.

Despite the high wages, salary is not the most enticing part of this career to experienced workers. According to the same survey, 24% of supply chain managers are in it for the job security. And 78% of them are either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their job.

No matter the path, a master’s degree in supply chain management will position any professional to land a high-paying job in a rewarding field. They’ll enjoy job security and be consistently challenged and rewarded for the duration of their career.