With an associate degree in logistics, graduates can become supply chain managers, operations managers, and construction managers. As a professional degree that leads to careers in growing fields, logistics students analyze the acquisition, storage, and distribution of goods and services. They also learn how to identify problems in the supply chain and devise solutions to increase efficiency. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, logistics is a growing field with lucrative opportunities, with the average logistician making nearly $75,000 a year.
A logistics degree appeals to students looking for an engaging and lucrative career. After completing an associate degree, graduates can apply to bachelor's programs in supply chain management, business administration, or logistics. This article provides an overview on how to identify the programs that offer the best logistics degrees, the application process, and professional opportunities after graduation.
Should I Get an Associate Degree in Logistics?
Associate degree programs in logistics provide foundational skills in procurement, inventory management, warehousing, and transportation. Students analyze case studies in supply chain management, learn procedures to increase efficiency, and study global logistics. Programs may provide opportunities to gain hands-on experience through internships, and some offer job placement assistance for graduates.
Prospective students must weigh the benefits of an on-campus versus online degree. An on-campus logistics program may appeal to students moving directly from high school into higher education and to those with a strong local logistics program. An online associate degree may benefit working professionals, students with family obligations, or those seeking a career change. For these students, the flexibility of an online program makes it easier to pursue a degree while balancing other responsibilities.
With an associate degree in logistics, graduates can transfer into a bachelor's program in business administration, supply chain management, or operations management. In many cases, an associate degree fulfills the general education requirements for a bachelor's degree, allowing transfer students to complete their bachelor's in as little as two years.
Students transferring from a logistics program into a closely related bachelor's program, such as supply chain management, may already have taken most of the prerequisites. However, some bachelor's programs may not grant full credit for an associate degree. Students interested in pursuing a bachelor's degree should check the transfer credit rating for their prospective associate degree programs in logistics.
What Can I Do With an Associate in Logistics?
An associate degree in logistics prepares graduates to work in many fields, such as supply chain management, construction management, and agricultural management. An associate degree also prepares students to move into a bachelor's program in logistics, which meets the entry-level educational requirement for many positions.
Logisticians, also known as supply chain managers, analyze and coordinate an organization's supply chain. They help a company move products from the supplier into warehouses and transport goods to consumers. Logisticians are involved with all product or service life cycles, from acquisition to storage and delivery. Many positions require a bachelor's degree, but candidates with an associate degree may qualify for certain jobs.
Median Annual Salary: $74,590
- Agricultural Manager
Agricultural managers oversee operations that produce livestock, dairy products, or crops. They manage daily operations and set budgets, design procedures for efficiency, and oversee the maintenance of the facility. They work for farms, ranches, nurseries, greenhouses, and other agricultural facilities.
Median Annual Salary: $69,620
How to Choose an Associate Program in Logistics
With so many associate degree programs in logistics, prospective students may struggle to find the best logistics degree for their career goals and interests. By considering several key factors, such as cost, location, and time to completion, students can identify the right program to earn a degree in logistics.
For many students, cost remains a top factor. The total cost of a logistics degree, including tuition, fees, and living expenses, can exceed $10,000 annually. However, by researching program costs and financial aid opportunities, such as scholarships, students can make school more affordable. Cost may also relate to location, as public institutions offer tuition discounts for state residents. An online degree in logistics offers accessibility and flexibility for students who cannot relocate for their degree. Interested students should research the top online associate in logistics programs.
While most associate programs take two years, students with transfer credits may be able to earn a degree faster. Researching transfer policies for each institution can mean significant savings in time and money. Prospective students should also research general education requirements, internship opportunities, and graduation requirements when narrowing their choices.
Associate in Logistics Program Admissions
The admissions process lets prospective students demonstrate their strengths and ability to succeed at the college level. Most two-year programs require an application, which details the applicant's educational and professional experience. Typically, two-year institutions do not require standardized test scores.
The admission process varies by institution. Some online programs, for example, ask applicants to work with an admission adviser throughout the process. Programs may also let students submit a statement of purpose, essay, or letters of recommendation. Because the requirements, deadlines, and processes vary, prospective students must carefully review each program's admissions guidelines to maximize chances of acceptance.
- Application: Prospective students complete an online or paper application, which lists their educational history, work experience, and relevant information.
- Transcripts: Associate programs typically require transcripts from all prior learning. Students with transfer credits may be able to request a transcript review.
- Application Fee: Many colleges charge an application fee to cover the cost of reviewing admissions materials. However, some schools do not charge a fee, and some offer fee waivers for qualifying students.
Educational Paths for Logistics Associate Programs
After earning a logistics degree at the associate level, students who want to continue their education can pursue a bachelor's degree. Logistics graduates can transition into a supply chain management or operations management program, or pursue a bachelor's degree in business administration. For many degrees, the credits earned during an associate degree apply toward the major requirements.
- Bachelor's in Supply Chain Management
A supply chain management degree studies the procurement, storage, and distribution of goods and services, building on the knowledge gained from an associate logistics degree. Students research logistics solutions, study operations analysis, and gain skills in management.
- Bachelor's in Business Administration
A bachelor's in business administration prepares graduates for a variety of careers in the business sector. Students may focus their program on finance, management, accounting, marketing, or another area within business.
- Bachelor's in Operations Management
Like logistics, operations management students study the process of managing the development, production, and distribution of goods and services. They may also study manufacturing, labor relations, factory management, and quality control. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median salary for operations managers exceeds $100,000.
What Else Can I Expect From an Associate Program in Logistics?
Before applying to associate degree programs in logistics, prospective students should research the curriculum, time to completion, and cost for each program. This section outlines the information prospective students need to find the best logistics degree for their career goals. The section also covers professional organizations that help logistics graduates transition into their desired career.
Courses in an Associate Program in Logistics
Many logistics programs cover supply chain management from procurement through inventory management, warehousing, and transportation. While curricula vary by program, the sample curriculum below includes some of the most common classes offered by associate degree programs in logistics.
- Introduction to Logistics
This course provides foundational knowledge on logistics and the distribution of goods and services in the supply chain. It also covers costs, management functions, and analysis of the process in different industries and agencies. Students may study handling, warehousing, inventory control, and financial controls.
- Inbound Logistics
Students study purchasing and procurement as the first step in the logistics process. The course covers the supply and resupply process from the perspective of logistics management with an emphasis on purchasing policies, transportation planning, and inventory control. Students study cost minimization, sustainability, and returns.
- Warehouse and Inventory Management
Students study warehouse strategies, controlling inventories, and productivity in warehousing and inventory management. The class may provide tools to design efficient processes, create inventory strategies, and improve productivity. Classes may also cover regulations, material handling, and outsourcing.
- Transportation Management
Transportation courses cover intermodal transportation, transportation network development, and transportation management. Students may study regulations on transportation, shipping issues, the future of transportation, and transitioning between transportation systems. The class prepares students to work as transportation managers in many industries.
- Global Logistics
This class provides advanced knowledge on international logistics. Students study overseas transportation, government regulations on imports and exports, and the role of intermediaries in logistics. The class may also cover trends in globalization.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Associate in Logistics?
Typically, earning a logistics degree at the associate level requires two years of full-time study. Most programs require 60 credits, including general education requirements and courses within the major. The program's graduation requirements and structure can affect the length of an associate degree in logistics. Some programs, for example, require an internship to gain hands-on experience, which can add time to the degree.
Logistics degree students may complete the degree in less time if they apply transfer credits. The policies on accepting transfer credits vary between institutions, so prospective students should speak with an adviser to learn which credits apply toward their associate degree. Some programs also offer accelerated options to complete the degree faster or part-time schedules for students balancing school with work or family responsibilities.
How Much Is an Associate in Logistics?
The cost of an associate degree in logistics varies depending on the program. College Board reports that public two-year colleges charged an average tuition of $3,570 in the 2017-2018 school year, with private institutions often charging much more. Students can cover the costs of tuition by applying for scholarships, grants, and financial aid. Income-eligible students may also qualify for the federal work-study program. College Board found that full-time students at public two-year colleges benefitted from an average of $3,900 in grants, deductions, and federal education tax credits.
There are additional costs to consider beyond tuition. Some online programs, for example, may require students to meet minimum technology specifications to enroll. On the other hand, online students may benefit from tuition discounts and savings on commuting, parking, and childcare expenses. Prospective students should compare the total cost of a degree at each potential program, factoring in the number of required credits, additional expenses, financial aid opportunities, and the time to completion.
Professional Organizations in Logistics
While earning an associate degree in logistics, students benefit from joining professional organizations. These organizations offer continuing education resources, conferences and events, and networking opportunities. Many also offer career centers with resume coaching, career counseling, and job postings.