Logistics is an ideal career for highly organized students interested in business, analytics, and supply chains. Logistics graduates fill crucial roles in their organizations because they manage the flow of goods and optimize business processes. Consequently, logisticians command high salaries, and the top 10% of earners take home around $120,000 per year. Job growth in the logistics industry makes now a great time to break into this lucrative field; the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 10,000 job openings for logisticians through 2026.
To land a position in the logistics field, students need to start their job searches early. Well before graduation, learners should start thinking about the positions and industries that interest them. Read on to learn about logistics degrees, industries, and salaries.
Skills Gained in a Logistics Program
Logistics programs vary with regard to coursework, concentrations, and projects, but most degrees build similar knowledge and skills. Students may develop logistics skills through traditional coursework, practicums, research papers, or internships. Additionally, students and graduates can hone their abilities throughout their careers through certifications, professional training opportunities, and continuing education programs. Logistics professionals rely on the following skills for their daily duties:
A main responsibility for logisticians is keeping supply chains organized and running efficiently. In their daily work, logistics professionals keep meticulous records, oversee complicated schedules, and work on many projects at once. Business performance can depend on a logistician's ability to stay organized.
Logisticians need excellent communication skills in order to collaborate with colleagues and maintain relationships with vendors. Logistics students may develop their communication abilities through classes on business communication, technical writing, and oral communication.
Logistics programs prepare students to address unexpected issues related to areas like delivery and manufacturing. They need strong problem-solving and critical-thinking skills to quickly adapt to new situations. Logisticians must also seek ways to improve supply chain operations and increase efficiency.
- Technological Skills
Logistics and supply chain workers need computer proficiency. Logisticians use specialized software systems to track purchasing, keep shipping records, and manage inventory. To prepare for this, logistics programs teach students to use industry-specific tools along with other spreadsheet applications.
Logisticians in entry-level positions need management skills to coordinate operations and move products. Senior logisticians need skills in strategic management, human resource management, and leadership.
Why Pursue a Career in Logistics?
Logisticians and other supply chain professionals enjoy many job opportunities in a variety of industries, making it easy for logistics majors to find rewarding careers. Most businesses that need to ship, store, or produce goods require workers with logistics skills. For instance, someone interested in cars could help the logistics department at an automotive dealership or manufacturing plant. Others may find work as an analyst or consultant in a variety of fields.
Logisticians have many opportunities to specialize. Logistics graduates might decide to apply their skills toward a job in inventory management, transportation, procurement, or another area. There is also a lot of space for career growth. By gathering certifications, additional education, and professional experience, logisticians can advance to leadership positions with increased responsibility and higher pay.
How Much Do Logistics Majors Make?
While logisticians generally enjoy high pay, many factors influence salary potential. For example, education level greatly affects salary rates. Master's degree holders can expect to earn significantly more than associate degree holders, for instance.
Location also plays a role in earnings. For instance, logisticians in Rhode Island earn over $105,000 per year, which is more than logisticians in other states. Additionally, some industries tend to pay logisticians more than others. Logistics professionals in oil and gas extraction rank among the highest paid in the United States. Other factors that can affect salaries for logistics graduates include job description and experience level.
|Job Title||Entry Level
How to Succeed in Logistics
Aspiring logistics professionals need at least a high school diploma, but most entry-level jobs require a bachelor's or associate degree in logistics. An undergraduate degree qualifies graduates for a variety of supply-chain-focused positions, including logistician, purchasing manager, and supply chain analyst. Master's degrees lead to more senior-level and management roles.
Students looking to develop new logistics theories and strategies might consider earning a doctorate. While some doctoral degrees prepare graduates for continued logistics work, most doctoral programs prepare students for jobs as professors at colleges and universities.
For entry-level jobs, logisticians typically only need an associate or bachelor's degree. However, prior work experience in business, supply chains, or logistics can prove beneficial, so students might consider applying for internships and other training programs while earning their degrees. Additionally, managerial roles, such as logistics director or supply chain manager, require considerable on-the-job experience. Logistics industry certifications, which you can learn more about in the next section, often require professional experience.
Licensure and Certification
While logisticians generally do not need any credentials beyond a degree, an industry certification can help logistics graduates impress employers. Certifications demonstrate expertise in a particular area and, in some cases, indicate years of experience in the field. Below, you can learn about some popular credentials for logisticians.
American Production and Inventory Control Society
APICS offers three supply-chain-related credentials. Professionals can earn a certificate in production and inventory management, supply chains, or logistics, transportation, and distribution.
The International Society of Logistics
Logisticians of all experience levels can earn credentials through SOLE. Entry-level professionals can earn the demonstrated logistician certificate, then work their way through four more levels to become certified professional logisticians.
Defense Acquisition University
DAU offers training and certifications across many fields, including lifecycle logistics, purchasing, and cost estimating. The Department of Defense requires these credentials for acquisitions jobs.
Concentrations Available to Logistics Majors
As they begin their educations, logistics students should consider whether they prefer to study logistics generally or focus their studies in a particular field, like warehousing or supply chain management. Concentrating in a particular area of logistics is a great way for students to develop specialized skills that make them more employable.
Concentrations vary between schools and programs, but you can learn about some common options below. If your favorite university does not offer any concentrations, then consider building your own specialization by choosing electives in the subjects you are most passionate about.
- Transportation: Students who choose this concentration explore the trends, policies, and concepts associated with air, maritime, and ground transportation. They also study the role of transportation in organizations and learn to assess transportation systems. Learners may study transportation laws, systems, and challenges at the international level.
- Global Supply Chain Management: Global logistics and supply chain management programs cover various aspects of transporting, managing, and storing goods for global organizations. Through courses on global supply operations, students learn about purchasing, quality management, and shipping, along with how supply chains are transforming globally.
- Quantitative Methods: These programs foster the quantitative skills that logistics professionals need to analyze and improve supply chains. Courses cover analytical methods that logistics professionals use to help managers mitigate risk, make decisions, assess performance, and ensure quality. Students gain experience with statistical analysis, decision-tree analysis, and control charting.
- International Business: Learners focusing their studies on international business explore topics like global trade, multinational finance, and international markets. They also study the cultural and regulatory differences that affect international business dealings. Additionally, courses examine the roles and responsibilities of consumers, governments, NGOs, and interest groups on a global level.
What Can You Do With a Logistics Degree?
The careers that logistics graduates can pursue depend on what degree they earned. Associate degrees equip students with the basic skills they need to start working, but most standard logistics professions require at least a bachelor's degree. Master's degrees can help workers advance to lucrative, senior-level positions, while doctoral degrees often attract professionals looking to transition to academia and research.
Aspiring logisticians should note that many colleges offer logistics as a specialization within another degree. For example, students pursuing a degree in business administration or management can sometimes focus their studies in supply chain management, logistics, or transportation. Some learners pursue a business degree because it provides a well-rounded business education. However, there are many benefits to earning a dedicated degree in logistics. You can explore some logistics job descriptions and degrees in the coming sections.
Associate Degree in Logistics
Associate programs in logistics prepare students for the professional world through courses on topics like communication, spreadsheet software, and financial accounting. Students who earn an associate degree in logistics can pursue a variety of entry-level jobs in fields like purchasing, shipping, warehousing, and manufacturing. Through general education courses, learners explore subjects like economics, social sciences, and literature. Read on to learn more about logistics careers for associate degree holders.
- Warehouse Manager
Warehouse managers use logistics knowledge to control inventory and track data using software systems. They also supervise warehouse staff, assign duties, and evaluate job performance. Warehouse managers establish and implement standards and protocols for employees to follow. They also make sure that their workplaces comply with regulations.
- Agricultural Manager
While some agricultural managers can find work after finishing high school, many complex operations require an associate or bachelor's degree. These managers oversee operations in agricultural enterprises like farms, ranches, and greenhouses. They deal with the logistics of storing, transporting, and distributing crops and other goods.
- Purchasing Agent/Buyer
Purchasing agents, sometimes called buyers, find work in industries that purchase inventory. For example, a buyer may work for a retail company, grocery store, or wholesale business. They help determine their organization's needs and evaluate suppliers based on price, reliability, and quality. Buyers often visit suppliers' factories or attend trade shows.
Bachelor's Degree in Logistics
While an associate degree in logistics qualifies graduates for some logistics jobs, bachelor's degrees prepare students for most entry-level positions. Bachelor's programs explore the supply chain in depth and include courses on transportation management, distribution, negotiation, and procurement. Students also learn to ensure quality, track inventory, handle reverse logistics, and improve business processes.
Along with major coursework, logistics bachelor's programs often cover fundamental business areas, including finance, business statistics, leadership, global economics, and legal issues. Bachelor's degree holders can succeed in logistics jobs like logistician, operations research analyst, and supply chain analyst.
- Operations Research Analyst
Operations research analysts typically need a bachelor's degree, but some positions may require a master's degree. These professionals use their knowledge of analytics and mathematics to address issues in logistics, business processes, and other areas. They also help senior management allocate funds, manage production calendars, determine pricing, and coordinate supply chains.
Logisticians oversee the entire lifecycle of a product. They typically work in manufacturing companies, where they collaborate with suppliers, allocate raw materials, and arrange for delivery. Some logisticians oversee the transportation of people and supplies rather than manufactured goods.
- Supply Chain Analyst
These professionals help organizations increase overall performance by establishing new supply chain methods. They work with engineers, quality assurance specialists, and information technology workers to analyze supply chain data and develop solutions. Supply chain analysts work in offices, but may visit warehouses or factories.
- Purchasing Manager
Purchasing managers supervise buyers and purchasing agents in their organizations. They also negotiate contracts, maintain relationships with suppliers and clients, and help cut costs. Purchasing managers typically need a bachelor's degree and a few years of relevant professional experience.
- Distribution Manager
Distribution managers deal with the part of the supply chain that involves shipping large amounts of goods. They work closely with warehouse supervisors to monitor inventory and ensure quality. Distribution managers make sure that their companies ship and deliver products in a timely manner.
Master's Degree in Logistics
Master's programs in logistics build on the theoretical knowledge and practical skills that students developed in their bachelor's courses. Learners explore advanced aspects of supply chain management and business analytics while honing managerial skills in areas like decision making and organizational behavior.
One of the primary benefits of earning a master's degree in logistics is a substantial increase in salary. According to PayScale, BA and BS in logistics graduates earn an average of $54,000 and $59,000 per year, respectively. Professionals with an MS in the field take home about $70,000 annually, while MBA holders with logistics skills command salaries around $75,000.
- Logistics Director
These workers direct logistics operations and oversee a team of logistics specialists. Logistics directors can often find work with a combination of a bachelor's degree and work experience. However, logistics directors with master's degrees earn $152,000 per year — considerably more than the average for the profession.
- Supply Chain Manager
These professionals work closely with sales teams, customer service teams, inventory workers, and suppliers to oversee supply chains. They also supervise other managers in charge of specific parts of the supply chain. Supply chain managers with master's degrees earn over $90,000, on average.
- Supply Chain Consultant
Consultants advise logistics directors, supply chain managers, and other senior employees on how to increase efficiency in their supply chains. Their goal is to reduce costs and increase profits. They often work for consulting firms that serve many different companies.
- Operations Manager
While operations managers do not necessarily need a graduate degree, operations managers with master's degrees in logistics earn approximately $81,500 annually. Operations managers have broad responsibilities related to purchasing, manufacturing, and warehousing. They oversee budgets, review sales numbers, and ensure that all operations run smoothly.
- Demand Planner
Demand planners analyze market trends to forecast revenue, purchasing requirements, and inventory levels. They collaborate with inventory specialists, supply chain managers, and purchasing workers to monitor the supply chain and develop forecasts.
Doctoral Degree in Logistics
A doctoral degree in logistics mainly prepares students for jobs in academia. They typically focus on research, preparing students to contribute to new discoveries in logistics and supply chain management. Ph.D. programs in logistics may cover research methods, supply chain modeling, econometrics, and multivariate analysis. Learners may also take courses in business ethics and management strategy. Students can also pursue a doctor of business administration in logistics, which emphasizes practical skills and leadership rather than research and theory.
The table below details some possible logistics jobs and salaries for doctoral degree holders. However, students with a doctoral degree enjoy many more career options than those listed below because they can attain the same positions as bachelor's and master's degree holders.
- Postsecondary Education Administrator
A doctoral degree qualifies professionals for positions in higher education administration. Academic deans and department heads manage budgets and help the university hire new faculty members. Logistics professors may oversee a university's business or management school.
- Postsecondary Teachers
Most colleges and universities require postsecondary teachers to hold doctoral degrees in their specialties. Professors teach classes, grade papers, and prepare lectures. They also contribute to research in their fields, collaborate with other experts, and write and publish articles and books.
- Chief Operating Officer
While chief operating officers do not necessarily need a doctorate, they often possess a graduate degree in business. A doctor of business administration with a supply chain concentration can help chief operating officers effectively oversee operations managers, ensure quality, improve productivity, and track operations. Top executives also need many years of experience.
Where Can You Work With a Logistics Degree??
Whether they graduate with an associate, bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree, logistics graduates can find work in many locations and industries. As they near graduation, logistics students should begin researching jobs in their preferred sectors and states. They should also take into account which types of work environments appeal to them the most. In the following sections, you can learn more about the top locations and industries for logistics majors.
Logisticians receive varying salaries depending on where they live. Some areas boast high demand for logisticians, while others support particularly high-paying industries. For example, logisticians in Houston, Texas take home over $99,000 per year, on average, while logisticians in Alabama earn $87,600 annually.
Logistics students should also consider which areas of the country offer the highest quality of life for their needs. Check out the state map below to explore the best areas for logistics graduates.
Logistics majors can find work in a variety of industries. Many companies need logisticians who can streamline supply chains, arrange shipping, and promote efficiency. Nearly every business that manufactures, imports, or exports goods benefits from hiring logistics graduates. Additionally, logistics degree holders can work for consulting firms that advise many different types of companies. Job opportunities for logistics professionals grow as they earn more advanced degrees.
- Management of Companies and Enterprises
Management of companies and enterprises encompasses professionals who direct operations, set goals, and develop business strategies. Logistics professionals prove essential to making important decisions regarding the management and direction of an organization.
Average Salary: $79,100
- Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting
Management consulting companies analyze an organization's operations, study financial information, and make improvement recommendations to senior management. Logistics specialists in this field help businesses optimize supply chains and processes.
Average Salary: $74,940
- Freight Transportation Arrangement
Enterprises in this sector coordinate shipments between distributors and customers. Freight transportation arrangement companies need professionals with a sound understanding of distribution, importing, and exporting logistics.
Average Salary: $67,210
- Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing
Manufacturing companies in the aerospace sector produce aircrafts and components for commercial and military purposes. This industry employs logisticians to manage inventory, order supplies from distributors, and arrange shipping of final products.
Average Salary: $88,940
- Computer Systems Design and Related Services
Computer systems design companies integrate hardware and software to develop local area networks and intranets. These businesses need logistics professionals to coordinate the flow of goods in and out of the company.
Average Salary: $79,210
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
How Do You Find a Job as a Logistics Graduate?
Professional organizations offer job boards, mentoring opportunities, and networking events that help logistics graduates secure employment. For instance, the Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC) posts logistics job openings, hosts an annual conference, and provides local networking events. The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) hosts local chapter events and offers a mentorship program that matches early-career supply chain workers with experienced professionals in the field.
As they begin weighing logistics careers, students should take into account which industries employ the most logistics graduates. Twenty-five percent of the nearly 150,000 logisticians in the U.S. work in manufacturing.
Professional Resources for Logistics Majors
LTNA is a professional organization that supports logistics and supply chain workers, associations, and companies in the U.S. and Canada. LTNA hosts a job board and an annual conference. During the annual meeting, members can network and access continuing education programs.
Now a part of the Association for SUpply Chain Management (ASCM), this professional organization provides career-building services like career planning guides and a job board featuring openings in logistics, operations, materials management, and purchasing. APICS also provides a members-only career coach, an online discussion community, and a mentor center.
IWLA supports warehouse logistics companies and professionals through advocacy and professional resources. The organization offers education events, industry news updates, and conventions. Through IWLA's career center, professionals can look for jobs with warehouse logistics providers and related vendor companies.
Founded in 1966, SOLE is a global professional association dedicated to advancing logistics education, technology, and management. SOLE's career assistance program enables members to submit their resumes for consideration by employers and recruiting firms. The organization also offers a job board.
NAEP serves procurement professionals working in higher education. Procurement workers maintain relationships with suppliers and help organizations buy goods and services from vendors. The association boasts professional development and continuing education resources, including webinars, white papers, and a career center.
Established in 1915, ISM serves over 50,000 supply management professionals around the globe. Members can participate in an annual conference, specialty meetings, seminars, and online learning opportunities. ISM's career center lets members upload a profile, search for jobs and internships, and receive one-on-one career coaching.
The largest national trade industry representing trucking professionals, ATA serves more than 37,000 members. ATA members can develop professional skills through webinars and industry newsletters from trucking experts. The organization also helps members network through conferences and local affiliate associations.
This international membership organization supports more than 33,000 logistics and supply chain professionals around the world. The institute's career center offers individual coaching sessions that teach members job search techniques and interview strategies. Members can also take advantage of mentoring opportunities and resources on transport and logistics careers.
The RLA supports logistics professionals who manage the reverse flow of goods for recycling, return, repair, and other purposes. Members can network at its global conference and one-day seminars. The association also operates a job board for transportation, warehousing, distribution, and logistics professionals.
ACSM serves more than 45,000 supply chain professionals through a variety of career-building, networking, and learning opportunities. ACSM offers personalized career coaching, a job board, and a mentor center. Members can also access resources on interviewing and resume building.