APICS Certification in Supply Chain Management

APICS supply chain certifications are globally recognized. Earning these certifications can increase job prospects and earning potential.
5 min read

Share this Article


  • Industry-leading APICS supply chain certifications are globally recognized and respected.
  • One survey found workers with APICS certification earned a median salary of $90,000.
  • APICS offers CPIM, CSCP, and CLTD certifications for supply chain professionals.
  • Earning a supply chain certification can boost job prospects and earning potential.

Supply chain management involves overseeing the process of turning raw materials into a finished product and then storing and distributing the final product. This process is essential to a company's success, ensuring customer satisfaction, reducing operating costs, and increasing cash flow.

The Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) offers several certifications under the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS) brand. According to ASCM's 2021 survey, supply chain professionals who hold a minimum of one APICS certification earned a median annual salary of $90,000, about 27% more than those without certification.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Ready to Start Your Journey?

APICS certification demonstrates a candidate's supply chain management skills and signifies they have been verified through third-party testing. Private organizations usually award certifications. Certificate programs, by contrast, are offered by vocational schools or traditional colleges in in-person and online formats.

What Are the Requirements for an APICS Supply Chain Certification

APICS offers three supply chain certifications. Of those three, only the certified supply chain professional (CSCP) requires educational or professional prerequisites.

To take the CSCP exam, candidates must possess one of the following:

  • A bachelor's degree
  • Three years of relevant work experience
  • An active CPIM, SCOR-P, CPM, CSM, CPSM, CIRM, or CFPIM certification

A bachelor's degree program in supply chain management offers courses in economics, finance, and logistics that can prepare graduates for a successful career in the field.

What Skills Will I Learn With an APICS Supply Chain Certification?

Depending on which APICS supply chain certification you pursue, you can learn different skills. Generally, supply chain professionals can expect to enhance their understanding in the following areas.

  1. Planning, managing, and forecasting demand and supply
  2. Overseeing inventory and distribution
  3. Increasing functional knowledge of end-to-end supply chain management
  4. Understanding global supply chain networks, relationships, and ever-changing trends
  5. Mitigating and decreasing supply chain risks

Types of APICS Certifications

The APICS learning system offers three different types of instruction. Students can choose from online self-study, in-person classes, or online instructor support in an interactive environment.

Before taking the SCOR-P exam, students must complete a three-day SCOR-P training. This instructor-led course is available online or in person.

APICS offers three supply chain certifications and one endorsement.

  • Certified in Production and Inventory Management: CPIM is the ideal certification for those seeking a career in inventory management. It also incorporates activities critical in managing plant operations, such as production planning and scheduling. Candidates must pass the two CPIM exams within three years to earn this designation.
  • Certified Supply Chain Professional: The CSCP certification looks at supply chain management from a broad perspective, including sourcing, manufacturing, and delivery. Students learn best practices in the field. This certification can set them apart as industry experts with high-level skills and knowledge.
  • Certified in Logistics, Transportation, and Distribution: The CLTD certification offers instruction on streamlining logistics, transportation, and distribution. Certification-holders demonstrate their ability to identify and mitigate risks, monitor warehouse performance, and improve inventory management.
  • Supply Chain Operations Reference Professional: Students who successfully demonstrate mastery of the SCOR model earn the SCOR-P endorsement. SCOR is the most widely accepted industry model for streamlining and improving supply chain performance. It integrates benchmarking, process reengineering, and measurements into its framework.

Is an APICS Supply Chain Certification Worth It?

For those interested in a career in supply chain management, APICS certification is well worth it. Earning this credential increases your professional skills and keeps you updated in rapidly changing environments. Certification may also offer you the opportunity to enter different aspects of supply chain management and increase your earning potential.

Certification can help individuals just entering this field craft resumes that stand out in this growing business sector and set them apart from the competition. Employers often look for specific job skills demonstrated through certification. As global supply chains increase in complexity, the industry faces a growing need for skilled professionals who stay abreast of the latest disruptions and innovations.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) projects 30% job growth for logisticians, specialized professionals within supply chain management, from 2020-2030. This amounts to an average of 24,500 job openings each year and is much faster than the average projected growth rate of 8% across all occupations.

What Jobs Can I Get With an APICS Supply Chain Certification?

Almost all industries are affected by supply chains. In fact, any company that produces a product that ships to customers has a supply chain. Because of this, those with APICS supply chain credentials work in diverse industries, including distribution, manufacturing, government, healthcare, and education. As the world grows smaller, supply chains grow more complex with multiple contributors and operators.

Some positions within these sectors include the following:

Supply Chain Manager

Supply chain managers oversee the purchasing of raw materials, manufacturing, storage, and distribution of the final product. Depending on the position, they may take responsibility for every stage of the production flow, managing costs and improving supply chain performance. Payscale reports that supply chain managers earned an average yearly salary of $84,340 as of April 2022.

Logistician

Logisticians analyze a company's supply chain and manage the flow and storage of products. Their activities may include warehousing, order fulfillment, and inventory tracking. These professionals tend to focus on customer satisfaction and delivering the right product at the right time. The BLS reports that logisticians earned a median annual wage of $77,030 as of May 2021.

Distribution Manager

Distribution managers determine when, where, and how much product ships to customers. This position requires careful inventory management, forecasting, and working closely with warehouse supervisors. According to Payscale, distribution managers earned an average salary of $69,140 in April 2022.

How Much Money Can I Make With an APICS Certification?

Payscale reports that professionals who earn the APICS CSCP certification earn an average salary of $86,000 as of April 2022. However, individuals holding APICS certification work in diverse industries and positions, resulting in vast differences in wages.

For example, according to Payscale, a supply chain manager can earn from $57,000-$127,000, with the average wage amounting to about $84,340 in April 2022.

According to the BLS, logisticians earned a median annual wage of $77,030 in May 2021. In many states, however, these professionals can earn higher salaries. Logisticians working in Washington, D.C., earned an average of $110,400 in May 2021, and those in Maryland earned an average of $99,600.

Frequently Asked Questions About APICS Certifications

What is supply chain management?

Supply chain management involves overseeing every stage of the production flow. This includes procuring supplies and managing production, storage, and distribution. This sector plays a significant role in a company's profits and customer satisfaction levels.

Managing supply chains involves maximizing production to increase profits while decreasing costs. It consists of analyzing logistics to optimize distribution and developing a successful strategy for sourcing raw materials. Additional tasks include forecasting and inventory control to avoid supply shortages or overproduction.

What are the five basic steps of supply chain management?

The five components of supply chain management are plan, source, make, deliver, and return. Planning involves matching the supply with the demand and keeping a watchful eye on market trends and raw materials using analytical tools. Sourcing identifies suppliers based on quality, price, and the ability to meet demand.

Making involves turning the raw material into a final product and includes activities like testing, assembling, and packing. Delivery gets the product to the consumer efficiently. Returning, or reverse logistics, occurs at the customer and supplier end. The consumer may return a product to the company, or the company can return raw materials to suppliers.

How long does it take to get certified in supply chain management?

Earning APICS supply chain certifications requires choosing a learning system, studying, and passing one or two exams, depending on the certification. Students can take self-study or instructor-supported online courses that they can complete in their own time. In-person courses usually consist of one course a week for 12 weeks.

According to APICS, it takes about 175-225 hours to complete the CPIM certification and 75-100 hours to finish the CSCP or CLTD certifications. Students may earn the SCOR-P endorsement after completing a three-day online or in-person training and passing an exam.

Is supply chain management a good career?

Supply chain management can be a rewarding and lucrative career. According to a 2020 ASCM survey of more than 2,400 supply chain professionals, 88% had a positive outlook on their careers. In addition to supply chain certification, students may consider an online business certificate program or pursuing a joint bachelor's and master's in supply chain management.

Payscale reports that the base salary for supply chain managers varies depending on an individual's experience, location, and employer. When considering commissions, bonuses, and profit-sharing, salaries in the top 10% increase to $127,000.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Compare Your School Options

View the most relevant schools for your interests and compare them by tuition, programs, acceptance rate, and other factors important to finding your college home.