Online Supply Chain Management Bachelor’s Degree & Programs Guide

Bachelor's Degree in Supply Chain Management Career Options & Salary

Supply chain and logistics management covers every operation concerning the movement and storage of inventory and raw materials. It also concerns work-in-process inventory and finished goods moving from point-of-origin to the point -of-consumption.

Today, companies all across the country are dependent on new technologies and the skillful coordination of processes to prioritize distribution of the materials and goods being shipped. Students who are majoring in supply chain management will have the opportunity to obtain the knowledge and technological skills required for employment in leading supply chain management roles.

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Requirements of a Bachelor’s Degree?

Before students enroll in a Bachelor of Science Supply Chain Management degree, they have to complete some steps. There are specific educational requirements for admission to a Bachelor of Science in Supply Chain Management program.

As students consider the requirements of this degree program, they should make note of any prerequisites or classes required before they take higher-level courses. The student’s advisor should also point out program options that students might be interested in such as mentorship programs, internships, or study abroad opportunities. A mentorship or internship will help students to learn more about the processes in supply chain management, which can make them even more attractive to future employers.

Students will also have to take regular business courses in this degree program such as microeconomic principles, accounting, and finance. During their time in school, students will also have to take courses in humanities and the sciences, such as sociology or natural science. While these classes aren’t a part of their core curriculum, they may fulfill requirements for general education and do help to round out the student’s knowledge. Students’ advisors will also help them to explore career resources that may help them to form a clearer idea of what kind of supply chain management career they want to have after graduation.

Where Do You Earn a Bachelor’s Degree?


Students earning their bachelor’s degree in supply chain management are likely to be attending four-year universities, which can be found all across the country. Schools may be private or public, which will change their cost but not much else about the available programs. The only thing you need be wary of is unaccredited schools, as these programs will not provide access to government funding of your education and the degree you earn will have little value in the business world. These students can expect to take around 40 courses, or about 120 credits, which is usually how many credits are required for graduation from a bachelor’s degree program. Students who already have family or work obligations taking up most of their time may choose to fit an online degree program into their schedule and study when they have free time, whether that is in the mornings, evenings, or mostly on the weekends.

An associate degree program takes about two years and is comprised of around 60 credits. Those students who have career plans that require four-year degrees, but don’t want to incur too much debt or need to wait before moving into a college dorm may choose to earn a two-year degree, transfer their earned credits to the college or university of their choice, and complete their degree while also having the option to work at an entry-level job in the field. This can also be a boon to students who didn’t have the best grades in high school. Earning better grades in an associate degree from your local community college can mean the difference between getting into the school of your dreams and settling on your second- or third-choice college or university.

Online Vs. Traditional Education in Supply Chain Management


In a traditional supply chain management bachelor’s degree program, students attend their classes on-campus. They have to meet with the class and professor on the days and times indicated in the class syllabus. On the other hand, students who choose an online degree program often have other commitments for their time, making attendance to traditional college classes next to impossible. Online degrees allow them to work and learn at times that are more convenient for their work schedules and family or parenting commitments. These students may tend to be older students with families and previous careers. However, the online format can work for anyone and has been shown to be of equal quality to the traditional, on-campus format.

What Are the Admission Requirements?


Prospective students still in high school should make sure they have taken the all the necessary classes before they graduate: math, lab sciences, English, social sciences, and any second language. However, this is likely to be taken care of by your high school’s requirements for graduation, which are meant to prepare students for college courses.

Each university or college a student is interested in will likely require high school transcripts or college transcripts from schools previously attended. Some universities and colleges also require entrance exam scores (ACT or SAT), while others don’t make these mandatory. To improve their chances for admission, high school students can take their ACT and SAT exams more than once, then choose which scores they want to have submitted to the colleges or universities of their choice, since they are likely to do better in future sittings since they will be used to the testing format and question types.

Even before students find out which universities they have been accepted to, it’s a good idea for them to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) so that they can ensure they are eligible for financial aid (grants, scholarships, and work-study options). Being eligible for financial aid helps keep tuition costs from becoming too burdensome.

Why Earn a Bachelor’s Degree?


Today, earning a bachelor’s degree is practically a requirement for graduates to be able to compete in the U.S. job market. Thousands of people are applying for a small pool of job openings. If they don’t have a four-year degree, this makes it harder for them to advance to the interview stage, much less receive a job offer.

Some other benefits of a bachelor’s degree include:

  • Having better access to job opportunities. University graduates are able to take advantage of 57% more job opportunities than non-college graduates.
  • Graduates are able to market themselves more than non-graduates. More than 80% of job opportunities fall within four rapidly growing occupations: government services, healthcare, education, and STEM.
  • College graduates are able to prepare themselves for specialized careers, such as supply chain management and logistics. Technology fields along with health and education are growing the fastest.

Why a Degree in Supply Chain Management?


Supply chain management is a rapidly growing field. Companies are looking for qualified logisticians and supply chain managers to replace those who have moved into other jobs or retired. College graduates who have earned either their associate or bachelor’s degrees in supply chain management will see the following benefits:

  • People wanting to become supply chain managers won’t need to earn more than a bachelor’s degree. Community college graduates with their associate degrees may also be able to compete for a few jobs, then work their way up from entry-level positions.
  • The job growth in the logistics field is rapid. Even during the 2008-2009 Great Recession, this field continued to grow. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that, between 2016 and 2026, this profession will grow by 7%.
  • Supply chain managers and logisticians are highly paid; the median annual pay for this profession is $74,590. The lowest 10% earn less than $44,280 and the highest 10% in the field earn more than $120,120.

What’s Involved in a Bachelor’s Degree?


Before business students make their final decision about specializing in supply chain management, they should understand that the field may be demanding. Those individuals who have earned their degrees and found positions in this field will need to be driven if they want to make a big impact with their careers. Students will want to consider their qualities and skills before making their final decision. If they thrive in a constantly changing work environment, work well with others, constantly look for new ways to meet challenges, and are able to stay calm under pressure, this may a great role for them.

Colleges and universities may offer a general business bachelor’s degree with a specialization in supply chain management; others have Bachelor of Business Administration majors with required courses in supply chain management for those who choose this specialization.

As skilled problem solvers, students in this degree program also must have a good eye for detail. Their classes and professors can teach them to spot and identify vulnerabilities in an operations system so that they can develop solutions that will improve the system’s efficiency. Students also learn how to communicate with each other and their professors so they can come up with solutions; this is good practice for the future when the student is a supply chain professional. In this scenario, they would be communicating with corporate executives and it would be their responsibility to connect the supply chain processes to the company’s overall success.

Common Courses

Some universities require their supply chain management majors to earn credits in several areas beyond the general education level.

These may include:

  • Introduction to Communication

They are also required to take courses meeting departmental or college requirements:

  • Introduction to Statistics (Foundation Requirement)
  • Statistical Applications (Foundation Requirement which may not count as a general education course)

Next, they might take core business courses:

  • Principles of Accounting 1 and II
  • Introduction to Information Systems
  • Introduction to Business
  • Legal Environment of Business
  • Financial Analysis and Markets
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (which may also count as a major course)
  • Human Behavior in Organizations

Then they have their major courses:

  • Production and Operations Management
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Business Analytics 1
  • Human Resources Management
  • Project Management in Organizations
Course Work

What to Consider When Choosing a Bachelor’s Program for Supply Chain Management


Accreditation


While students are learning more about the universities to which they hope to be admitted, they should also find out about their accreditation status. Not all schools have national, regional, or programmatic accreditation, which would attest to the rigor of its degree programs. More to the point, schools that don’t have accreditation can’t offer evidence of how strong their programs are.

Accreditation tells employers that an applicant’s school or degree program was challenging. It also lets graduates sit for certification exams, which they aren’t likely to be able to do if their degree program were not accredited. Employers may also decide to pay a lower annual salary if the student’s school or degree program was not accredited, assuming they are willing to hire them at all.

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) periodically reviews both institutional and programmatic accrediting agencies. These reviews benefit accreditation agencies, as they can adjust their recognition criteria as needed and students, since they know they are getting a high-quality education when these accrediting agencies are involved.

The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) offers accreditation to individual university’s supply chain management degree programs. This is another critical accreditation that students can look for. Programmatic accreditation is not required for you to receive federal funding or have the best shot at a job, but it means that the school has gone out of their way to provide a truly excellent educational program in this specific area.

Further Supply Chain Management Education


Master’s Degree


Some students may decide to continue their business education, earning their Master of Science in Supply Chain Management. Students in these degree programs develop even greater knowledge, abilities, and skills to continue to be successful in the field and to help them get into higher-level or senior positions, such as management.

Curriculum in these programs is likely to cover analytics, business intelligence techniques, and new methodologies that students can take with them into their post-graduate employment. The courses they take will often be experiential and interactive, which means students are able to put their skills into practice and gain hands-on experience.

Master’s graduates from a supply chain management degree program should expect their salaries to rise after graduation.

MBA


Some students may prefer to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in supply chain management. These students should already understand effective coordination of goods and services from their bachelor’s degrees. They also know that this coordination should provide delivery or materials and goods at the right time. By coordinating the timing, quantity, price, and point of delivery, both producer and consumer will receive the value they want. Graduates of an MBA-Supply Chain Management will be leaders in the integrated supply chain and will be ready to step directly into management roles in which they must take the good of the entire company into consideration. An MBA teaches a much stronger business foundation than a regular master’s in supply chain management degree might.

Doctorate or PhD


Students with advanced degree who are looking for a terminal degree in supply chain management may choose to enroll in a PhD program in business administration with a specialization in supply chain management. This program focuses on the preparation of scholars who are able to carry out high-quality research and teaching.

A doctoral program will usually be a full-time residential program for those students whose goals are either university research or teaching after graduation. PhD students in this program are taught to develop their ability to recognize supply chain management-related problems and convert those issues into research questions and discuss them in a scholarly manner.

Supply Chain Management Management Certification


Supply chain management professionals agree that earning certifications in the field can pay off. SCM professionals with only a single certification earned about 19% more than those without certifications. And those who hold two or three certifications have salaries that are 39-50% higher, respectively, than the median.

From the Association for Supply Chain Management (APICS):

  • NCMA Certified Professional Contract Manager (CPCM)
  • APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional certification (CSCP)
  • SOLE Certified Professional Logistician (CPL)
  • APICS Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM)
  • SCPro Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP)
  • APICS Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR-P) Endorsement
  • ISM Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD)
  • ISM Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM)

APICS provides three certifications, allowing SCMs to demonstrate their skills and experience. These require SCMs to have three years of related experience or a bachelor’s degree or its international equivalent. Maintaining this certification requires earning a total of 75 professional development points every five years.

The APICS CPIM certification is intended to be passed twice within three years. The SCM also has to maintain their certification every five years, earning 75 professional development points.

APICS Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR-P) Endorsement endorses the SCM’s knowledge in the SCOR model and methods. This is a supply chain approach linking SCM to business goals, inventory controls, metrics, stakeholders, and internal departments.

ISM Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) endorses knowledge on supply chain functions in several industries. SCMs must have three years of full-time experience in a position that is not support or clerical.

Available Careers with a Supply Chain Management Bachelor’s Degree


  • Logistician:
    This professional may be employed in transportation, delivery, defense, military, information technologies, software development, engineering or infrastructure design, or engineering.

  • Purchasing Manager (Procurement Manager):
    -This professional oversees the purchasing department’s purchase of services, materials, and products. They must develop relationships with the company’s suppliers and negotiate contracts. The purchasing manager may also work as materials directors/managers.

  • Transportation Manager:
    This professional oversees and plans transportation operations. It is common for them to work for a transportation company such as Ryder, or for a large corporation such as Amazon.

  • Supply Chain Manager:
    This professional does the same thing that procurement and purchasing managers do; they work with manufacturing, external supplies, operations and supply chain management in buying parts and raw material.

  • Logistics Analyst:
    These individuals study data from warehousing and product delivery. They also study supply and logistics management processes and use the data to help managers make decisions and improve supply chain optimization. They work for larger organizations that may manufacture consumer goods.

  • Logistics Manager:
    The main focus of this professional is to store and move goods. They oversee the employees, vehicles, processes, and schedules that govern the logistics process. They will also be responsible for using data gathered by an analyst to make important decisions.

Salary Expectations


Supply chain management graduates earn an average annual salary of $64,000. They may find themselves working for companies like Intel Corporation, the Boeing Company, Amazon(dot)com Inc., Northrop Grumman Corporation, or the Lockheed Corporation. Annual salaries are likely to vary by employer and it’s also important to point out that supply chain professionals who hold bachelor’s degrees in this field may not earn as much as a supply chain manager who holds a master’s degree.

A supply chain management professional who holds a BBA with a concentration in supply chain management can earn an annual salary of $61,000. Related positions include project managers, operations managers, procurement specialists, and senior buyers. If a supply chain management professional gains enough experience in this field, their salary is certain to increase over time and they will have the option of moving to a higher-level position.

Graduates holding a Bachelor of Science in Operations and Supply Chain Management earn annual salaries of $65,000. Professionals who have earned a Bachelor of Science in Logistics and Supply Chain Management also earn $65,000 a year, on average. However, someone in the same position as these graduates, but who holds a master’s degree in the field may be able to earn a higher salary, even in an entry-level position.

Outlook


Professionals who are looking for work as a supply chain manager or logistician should be able to find entry-level positions all over the U.S. The most current job outlook covering the years between 2019 and 2029 indicate that this field’s employment of logisticians is projected to grow 4% in that timeframe. However, candidates who have logistical experience working in the military or who have experience with logistical software have the best employment prospects.

The median annual salary of all individuals in this job role is $94,560, according to the Occupational Information Network, U.S. Department of Labor. In early 2020, logistics salaries increased sharply over the figure for 2019 and the median salary was $112,000 for logistics directors/managers. The median annual salary of logisticians is $75,000.

The country relies heavily on the smooth performance of the logistical and supply chain process and effective supply chain management. Logistics in the distribution of products and supplies allows companies and the country to function smoothly within the larger global market and within our own borders.

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