In the expanding commercial world, goods and services pass through multiple hands before reaching consumers. Supply chain managers connect and maintain complex networks through their knowledge of products and company objectives. These professionals develop strong communication skills and become an integral component of professional product movement teams.
Supply chains exist in nearly all commercial businesses, including technology companies, food services, and medical centers. Supply chain management professionals need skills in industrial engineering, information technology, marketing, operations management, and logistics. In addition to technical acumen, these professionals should have interpersonal and communication skills. This page details the requirements for earning an online master's in supply chain management and career opportunities for graduates. Students pursuing a master's in supply chain management online should consider their personal and professional goals when choosing a program.
Nationwide, supply chain managers earn competitive salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), logisticians earn a median annual salary of $74,590. As the table below illustrates, most of the top-paying states are along the east coast. Though specific salaries depend on location, skill level, and cost of living, experienced supply chain management professionals often earn nearly $100,000 per year, according to PayScale.
|State||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
|District of Columbia||104,090||$97,130|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Master's degree holders can qualify for a variety of supply chain management positions, including roles in logistics and purchasing, and research and analysis. Regardless of their specific field, supply chain management professionals must be detail-oriented; they must keep careful records of transactions and report progress to companies and clients. Below are a few of the many positions available to professionals who have earned a supply chain management master's online.
Annual Median Salary: $74,590
Projected Growth Rate: 7%
Logisticians coordinate complex systems to ensure supply meets demand. These professionals find resources and connect clients, and they constantly evaluate processes to improve product movement. Logisticians need strong analytical and strategic skills, along with financial competency and the ability to communicate clearly.
Annual Median Salary: $66,610
Projected Growth Rate: -3%
Buyers and purchasing agents find products at the best wholesale costs available. Purchasers evaluate sources, negotiate prices, and work out agreements with suppliers to obtain the best deals possible. As managers, they also oversee product placement in stores and employees responsible for material movement.
Annual Median Salary: $82,450
Projected Growth Rate: 14%
Predominantly consultants, management analysts evaluate current product chains in the context of the objectives of growing or evolving companies to find new solutions and improve productivity. This position requires strong interpersonal skills to interview clients and company personnel and to present findings to company boards and CFOs.
Annual Median Salary: $54,270
Projected Growth Rate: 2%
Companies often decide to alter their supply chains based on the advice of survey researchers, who gather data to demonstrate inefficiencies in current supply processes. These professionals design and plan surveys based on research regarding the company and its clients and then translate data into comprehensible advice.
Annual Median Salary: $81,390
Projected Growth Rate: 27%
Operations research analysts use mathematical equations of metadata to provide answers to complex organizational problems related to supply chains. Analysts collect data from company databases and customer feedback, and they process that information through statistical frameworks to produce production simulations and projections. This position requires strong mathematical and analytical skills.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statstics
Earning a master's in supply chain management online prepares students to work at multiple levels within product and service supply chains. While required courses vary by program, the classes below are part of many programs' core curricula. Most supply chain management students complete these courses, regardless of specialization.
This course covers purchasing objectives, profit margins, transportation, and product placement control. Students learn how to source materials, gauge quality, and conduct inventory training and value analysis. Coursework often explores the ethical and social impacts of supply chain management.
Learners in this course study the back end of supply chain processes, specifically shipping and processing. The increasingly digital orientation of supply chain supervision and processing requires professionals to understand logistics technology. Along with popular computer systems, this course addresses warehouse storage and location analysis, inventory management, and day-to-day operation systems.
Students in this course learn to analyze statistical data related to wholesale purchasing, product pricing, and the company's overall financial health. The course often includes an information technology component to prepare learners to evaluate the impact of technology on purchasing, data collection, and analysis.
This course helps aspiring logisticians and management analysts build a strong foundation in product, transportation, and sales analysis. Learners study the ramifications of price and value, the lifecycle of costs, and the regulatory compliances required in U.S. commercial sales. Coursework also covers the signs of supply chain inefficiency, fraud, and abuses.
Learners explore the relationship between purchasing and suppliers. This course covers the fundamentals of business law and the Uniform Commercial Code, which orients and restricts supply chain processes. Students learn about legal contracts between suppliers and clients, and study warranties, company conditions, and buyers' rights.
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