Earning a Master's in Supply Chain Management Online

What You’ll Learn & What You Can Do After Graduation

Should I Pursue a Master's in Supply Chain Management Online?

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.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Supply Chain Management Graduates

Master's in Supply Chain Management Salary

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.

Top Paying States for Business and Financial Operations Occupations

State Employment Annual Mean Wage
District of Columbia 104,090 $97,130
New York 543,880 $94,680
New Jersey 233,820 $84,950
Massachusetts 201,220 $84,340
Connecticut 90,370 $84,300
United States 7,472,750 $76,330

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Pay by Experience Level for Supply Chain Managers

  • Entry-Level (0-5 Years):
    $65,000
  • Mid-Career (5-10 Years):
    $83,000
  • Experienced (10-20 Years):
    $92,000
  • Late-Career (20+ Years):
    $93,000

Source: PayScale

Master's in Supply Chain Management Careers

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.

Logisticians

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.

Purchasing Managers, Buyers, and Purchasing Agents

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.

Management Analysts

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.

Survey Researchers

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.

Operations Research Analysts

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

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Supply Chain Management Program?

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.

Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Supply Chain Management

Fundamentals of Supply Chain Management

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.

Logistics and Operations 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.

Cost Management

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.

Supply Chain 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.

Commercial Contracts and Subcontracts

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.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Supply Chain Management Prepares For

  • Certified Supply Chain Professional: This certification demonstrates knowledge and organizational acumen to potential employers and colleagues. This international certification requires at least three years of business experience, a bachelor's degree in supply chain management or a related field, and the Certified in Production and Inventory Management credential or a professional equivalent.
  • NCMA Certified Professional Contract Manager: Professionals with at least five years of field experience and a comprehensive business education can qualify for CPCM certification. Candidates must have at least 120 hours of continuing education to sit for the exam, and professionals must complete ongoing education to maintain certification.
  • ISM Certified Professional in Supply Management: This globally recognized certification demonstrates competency in supply chain management. This certification focuses on analytical skills; the exam requires candidates to critically analyze sourcing, negotiations, and company contracts. Candidates need 3-5 years of professional experience to sit for the three CPSM exams.
  • APICS Certified in Production and Inventory Management: This foundational certification for supply chain management professionals demonstrates professional competence in inventory and transportation management. Candidates need at least three years of field experience to sit for the CPIM exam; the certification is valid for five years. To maintain the credential, professionals must demonstrate ongoing education and professional networking efforts.