How to Become a Logistician

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While plenty of professionals work to support individual links in the supply chain, logisticians are the true logistics experts.

These knowledgeable specialists work tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure that products move smoothly through the supply chain, from production and distribution channels to the end user. Every time you hold a consumer product in your hands, you have a logistician to thank.

A logistician examines inventory records in a warehouse.

What does a logistician do?

Logistical work is fast-paced and can be challenging at times, but it’s essential to the movement of goods throughout the global economy. A logistician oversees the entire life cycle of a product as it moves its way through the logistics network — from design and production to delivery. They are responsible for:

  • Planning and tracking the movement of goods from creation to consumption
  • Ensuring logistical operations stay on schedule and working quickly to resolve delays
  • Identifying areas for improvement in the supply chain and proposing cost- and time-saving strategies
  • Overseeing the allocation of materials and human resources
  • Developing relationships with stakeholders, including suppliers and customers

Since logisticians are in demand anywhere there are goods or materials to be transported, they can work in a variety of industries. Although one-quarter of logisticians work in manufacturing, the rest are evenly spread across government, wholesale trade, and professional, technical, and scientific services, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Depending on the industry, a logistician may supervise the movement of consumer goods, military equipment, disaster recovery supplies, or skilled technicians.

Logistics coordinators often find employment at in-house logistics departments at freight shipping companies, manufacturing plants, and distribution centers. They may also find opportunities in third-party logistics companies.

The logistician career is ranked 17th in the U.S. News & World Report list of Best Business Jobs due to its intellectually engaging work and attractive earning potential.

How much does a logistician make?

According to the BLS, logisticians earned an average salary of $74,600 in 2018. The top 25% of earners made $96,310 on average, U.S. News & World Report found.

At a 5% growth rate, emerging professionals can expect to see 8,400 more logistician jobs created by 2028. Skilled job seekers with the right educational credentials and on-the-job experiences will have the best chance at snapping up these new opportunities in logistics management.

What qualities make a good logistician?

A career in logistics can be a promising profession for students with an aptitude for quantitative reasoning since the work is largely focused on time and money.

A logistician’s toolbox contains a range of technologies as well. Aspiring candidates should be familiar with radiofrequency identification (RFID) systems and database software related to project management, inventory control, order management, enterprise resource planning, and more. Job seekers with some experience with these systems will have the brightest prospects.

Because the role is highly collaborative, communication skills are necessary — in a study by the Occupational Information Network (O*Net), 100% of logisticians reported that they conducted phone calls every day. An aptitude for quick problem-solving and critical thinking, paired with a customer service mentality, helps logisticians field inquiries and stay a few steps ahead.

The most successful logistics professionals possess the administrative and managerial skills necessary to become leaders in their department.

What degree should you pursue to become a logistician?

To specialize in logistical work, it’s possible to get by with an associate degree and extensive industry experience. However, a bachelor’s degree will better prepare you for the complexities of the workplace and make you a more attractive candidate.

Although optional, professional certifications can be a great way for logisticians to prove their depth and breadth of industry expertise.

During your undergraduate studies, focus on gaining experience in business administration, supply chain management, industrial engineering, systems engineering, and related subjects.

An online Bachelor of Science in Industrial Distribution from UAB’s Collat School of Business equips students with the practical skills and theoretical frameworks necessary to thrive in a logistics career. Within the ID program, students can specialize in Industrial Distribution Engineering or Medical Equipment and Supplies.

Those interested in managing the people side of the supply chain can consider an online Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management at UAB.

In each of these programs, UAB’s online students gain:

  • Knowledge of economics, system dynamics, and distribution operations
  • Financial literacy through courses in accounting and quantitative analysis
  • Professional skills through coursework in communications, business law, and strategic management

To learn more about how the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s online business programs can launch you into a career as a logistician, request more information through the program pages for the BS in Industrial Distribution and BS in Human Resource Management.

Recommended Readings:

Logistician: Learn more about the career

Online Bachelor of Science in Industrial Distribution

Online Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Management

 

Sources:

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — Logisticians

APICS — Credentials and education

U.S. News and World Report — What is a logistician?

O*Net — Summary report for logisticians