Supply chain management, how businesses use their supply chain capabilities to drive competitive advantage, from raw material procurement to finished product delivery, is increasingly critical to businesses of all sizes and shapes. The importance of running an efficient and effective supply chain has created a need for professionals who have acquired the necessary educational foundation to help an organization manage and optimize cost-effective operations and deliver superior customer value.
For those who intend to grow their careers in some aspect of supply chain management, it is important to understand how education, including both degrees and continuing professional development, can help them stand out from the crowd.
While some employers will consider entry-level employees for supply chain management positions with only an associate’s degree, an increasing number are requiring bachelor’s and master’s degrees. The particular major a supply chain professional should pursue hinges around the desired career path, and there are many options, from logisticians to supply chain analysts to operations managers to purchasing managers. A major in business, accounting or economics will usually cover a lot of career ground, and degrees that focus exclusively on supply chain management are increasingly desirable and available at many colleges and universities.
Advanced degrees, particularly master’s and doctoral degrees in supply chain management, require an additional two to five years, respectively, of study to complete. Both are practical options for individuals who intend to advance into senior management, leadership and/or research positions.
College degrees are important to provide the educational foundation for career development. Moreover, earning an advanced degree sends employers a strong signal of the individual’s dedication to continued learning and growth in the supply chain management field.
You Might Also Enjoy: Developing Your Leadership Skills
Similarly, employers take a favorable view of current and prospective supply chain team members who continue to invest in their careers by pursuing a supply chain management certification. Continuing education is a symbol of an individual’s dedication and commitment to staying up-to-date with the changes and trends in the field.
Certificate programs are a great way of boosting academic degrees. They can be earned through self-study programs offered in both traditional educational settings and online learning environments. Coursework offers exposure to various areas of the field, focusing on current supply chain management fundamentals, best practices and insights.
Certifications are offered by several industry associations focusing on different aspects of supply chain management. Two popular certifications include the Certified Supply Chain Management Professional and the Certified Purchasing Manager. Most require a certain amount of on-the-job experience in addition to coursework before the certification can be earned.
Both degrees and continuing education programs in supply chain management and relevant disciplines are offered by many institutions of higher learning. The process of educational advancement has become more convenient than ever before with many schools augmenting traditional campus-based programs with blended and 100% online learning programs. Online education is highly valuable for individuals looking for quality education but do not live near a quality supply chain management educational facility. It is also a great option for those who work full time and need the flexibility of online learning to be able to pursue higher education while maintaining their work and family schedules.