Online Supply Chain Management Degree Overview & Career Information
This guide to online supply chain management degrees covers online associate, bachelor's, master's, doctorate, and certificate programs. Each program has its own admission and completion requirements, and provides different benefits depending on a student's educational and career goals. An associate degree provides preparation for an entry level supply chain position, as well as a stepping-stone for completing a bachelor's degree. A bachelor's degree is the typical minimum qualification needed to enter a management position. Individuals who are already working in supply chain management and who want to advance in their career and increase their earning potential might consider a master's degree, which is designed to help working professionals move forward in their careers. A doctoral degree allows for a career in teaching at the university level, as well as advanced international business opportunities. Lastly, a certificate program is generally suited for someone who is either already working in the supply chain field and wants to learn some new career skills or someone who has experience in another field and wants to switch to supply chain management.
Online Bachelor's Degrees in Supply Chain Management
An online bachelor's degree in supply chain management will go into more advanced and in-depth study of the industry than an associate program. Students in a bachelor's program will take courses that help them expand their knowledge of business practices in order to enhance their managerial abilities. Coursework includes classes in statistics, business law, finance, warehouse management, quality management, economics, and other related classes. Students who complete a bachelor's degree in supply chain management will be able to find work in a variety of jobs, such as a production planner, customer service manager, logistics manager, or inventory planning analyst. Students entering a bachelor's program without earning an associate degree first can expect to spend about four years completing their education, or typically 120 semester credit hours. Online supply chain management degrees are offered by colleges and universities across the country. An individual will need, at minimum, a high school diploma in order to be accepted by most bachelor's degree programs.
The Importance of an Accredited Online Supply Chain Management Degree
One aspect of a program that students should consider when deciding which online program to attend is whether or not that program is accredited. If a school is regionally accredited, that means that an outside, independent agency in charge of accrediting schools for a particular region has looked at the school and decided that its curriculum meets certain standards.
For example, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Institutions of Higher Education accredits schools in the New England states of Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Vermont. This accrediting agency looks at schools in these states and determines whether or not they meet a set of rigorous standards for education quality. There are different accreditation agencies for different regions, as well as accreditation agencies that focus on specific program subjects. For instance, the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education focuses solely on evaluating business programs at college and universities. When choosing a program, students want to check whether or not it has been accredited by one of these independent agencies, because that means they will be receiving a high level of education that is worth their time and money.
Careers in Supply Chain Management
Individuals who work in supply chain management can expect to spend their days overseeing every step of an item's production, from when it is first created in the factory to when it is delivered to the consumer. Their duties include looking after the purchasing and transportation of a product, as well as storing and keeping inventory of the product. Supply chain managers may work with a variety of products, from everyday household goods to military equipment. They have to use a variety of software and tools in order to make sure that everything is properly kept track of. Example jobs that a person might work in as part of the field of supply chain management include inventory planning analyst, materials planner, director of purchasing, performance improvement manager, and many others.
A bachelor's degree is the typical requirement for landing a job as a supply chain manager, though there are some entry level jobs in the field available to those with just an associate degree. In addition to a degree, experience working in a business or logistics related job is also helpful for finding supply chain management work. Licenses and certificates are not typically required, but can be earned in order to increase a professional's marketability. Certificates can be earned through such organizations as APICS and the International Society of Logistics.
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