Online Supply Chain Management Degrees

Every product or service sold is the conclusion of a multi-faceted process, from acquiring raw materials, to manufacturing, to delivering products to consumers. Supply chain management coordinates the flow of goods, services, and resources throughout all stages of this process. Organizations pursue competitive advantages by making the links between stages as efficient and economical as possible.

Working successfully in supply chain management requires you to integrate knowledge from many disciplines, including systems engineering, project management, and information technology. To be successful in the field, you need to be detail-oriented, a strong communicator, and capable of working with people from all backgrounds. Familiarity with an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software package is also crucial.

One of the best ways to obtain these skills is by earning a degree in supply chain management. Read on to learn more about how to start your career in the field.

Meet our expert

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Frank Guenzerodt Supply Chain Management

“Various skills will be developed…as well as the understanding of global trade.”


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Degrees

Online Supply Chain Management Degree Overview

Degree Avg Degree Cost Avg Loan Default Rate Time Commitment Early Career Pay Mid-Career Pay Unemployment Rate
Associate $9,381 16.57% 2 years $44,000 $48,454 5.5%
Bachelor's $14,882 10.91% 4 years $54,079 $72,212 N/A
Master's $22,011 6.11% 2 years $68,353 $81,107 N/A
Whether you are new to the field, or looking to advance in your current career, you should weigh the costs and time of getting a new degree against its benefits. There is no one-size-fits-all degree. The best choice for you will depend on your current educational background, financial standing, employment history, and area of interest. For instance, those with no experience may want to consider an associate degree, due to its shorter time commitment and lower cost. If finances are tight for you, then you should prioritize the student loan debt and default categories, as you will want to choose a degree that offers you the best chance of improving your financial standing with minimal risk. If your employer or someone else is paying for your education, then you might want to consider the degree that will offer you the highest salary. All salary information is sourced from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and/or PayScale

Many students from indirect backgrounds seek work in supply chain management, such as those who’ve studied engineering or advanced management. Therefore, students with specialized degrees in supply chain management have a leg up, having actively focused on planning, procurement, manufacturing, and logistics throughout their education.

Students interested in supply chain management can pursue an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree. While many people get their start with an associate degree, working primarily in planning or operations, common mid-career positions as logisticians and purchasing managers usually require a bachelor’s-level credential. Higher positions, such as those in global supply management, may require a master’s degree.

Online Supply Chain Management Degrees

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Online Associate’s Degree in Supply Chain Management

An associate degree in supply chain management will take two years to complete and cost an average of $9,831. There are multiple specialization options in the field, even in entry level positions. Employment opportunities can be grouped into either the planning or operations category, with planning positions based in offices and operations positions in distribution facilities. Many jobs in the field are found in purchasing, customer service, storage, and distribution.

  • SAMPLE COURSES

    Accounting, Professional Logistics, Inventory Control, Quality Control

  • COMMON MAJORS

    Business Administration, Business Management & Operations, Accounting

  • POTENTIAL JOBS

    Purchasing Agent, Production Planner, Transportation Specialist

  • AVERAGE INCOME

    The median pay for supply chain management jobs hiring applicants with associate degrees is $28.66 per hour or $59,620 a year.

  • EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for purchasing agents, which will hire applicants with associate degrees, are expected to grow at a 2% annual average, a little slower than other sectors of the economy.

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Supply Chain Management

An bachelor’s in supply chain management is required for many jobs in the field. Salaries for these jobs range from $54,079 for early career workers to $72,212 for mid-career professionals. In addition to a bachelor’s degree, companies may require relevant work experience in related fields, such as purchasing or project management, which makes pursuing a supply chain management degree online an attractive option. Full-time residential programs may take up to four years to complete.

  • SAMPLE COURSES

    Procurement and Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing Planning and Control, Logistics and Transportation Management

  • COMMON MAJORS

    Supply Chain Management, Manufacturing, Business Administration

  • POTENTIAL JOBS

    Materials Scheduler, Supply Chain Systems Manager, Operations Research Analyst

  • AVERAGE INCOME

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median income for Logisticians, a job which hires applicants with bachelor’s degrees, is $35.70/hour or $74,260 a year.

  • EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 2% annual growth rate for logistician positions.

Online Master’s Degree in Supply Chain Management

A master’s degree in supply chain management typically takes two years to complete. The average early career salary for master’s holders is about $68,000 and the average mid-career salary exceeds $80,000. Given that many industries operate in multiple time zones and plants may run continuously, management positions in the field may require you to work long hours.

  • SAMPLE COURSES

    Supply Chain Analysis, Logistics Operations Methods, Contract Pricing and Negotiations

  • COMMON MAJORS

    Logistics, Global Supply Management, Operations, Supply Management

  • POTENTIAL JOBS

    Logistics Manager, Purchasing Manager, Supply Chain Manager, Operations Manager

  • AVERAGE INCOME

    The average mid-career salary for a master’s degree holder in the field is north of $80,000.

  • EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment growth in Logististics is projected at 2%. For upper level positions, your employment prospects may improve with increased specialization.

Online Supply Chain Management Degrees
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Supply Chain Management Master’s Degree Rankings

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Rank School Name School Logo City Cost Address & Contact Info School Links Acclaim for Online Programs School Description
1University of Maryland - College ParkCollege Park$$$$$
College Park, MD 20742
(301) 405-1000

What most differentiates the University of Maryland’s online master of science in management with acquisition and supply chain management specialization from other online master’s in supply chain programs is that it is accessible to newcomers. While most online supply chain management degrees are created for mid-level and senior professionals, UM’s curriculum provides both advanced and foundational courses, instructing students in a range of areas from legalese to strategic purchasing methodologies.

This unique program may be completed entirely online or in a hybrid fashion and students may transfer up to six credits to complete the 36-credit course of study. Supported by innovative apps for numerous mobile devices, students enjoy the flexibility of online coursework. The curriculum includes real-world-client-sponsored projects that teach hands-on skills that are immediately applicable in the workplace. Case studies are also employed to teach new applications.

2University of WashingtonSeattle$$$$$1400 NE Campus Parkway
Seattle, WA 98195-4550
(206) 543-2100

The University of Washington’s online master of supply chain transportation and logistics program consists of nine courses totaling 43 credits. After the first week-long course—which must be completed on-campus before the start of the fall semester—the entire part-time program may be completed online within two years. The program's engineering-based curriculum teaches advanced transportation and logistics concepts that impact supply chains by emphasizing quantitative principles and data-driven analysis.

Although many of the assignments and materials may be accessed online whenever convenient, students must participate in a weekly real-time lecture held from 5 to 7 p.m. (Pacific Time). These lectures are conducted to make sure that students connect with their professors and one another. This mandatory interaction differentiates this program from many other online master’s in supply chain management programs, but may not be appropriate for those with busy schedules that require greater degrees of flexibility.

3University of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles$$$$$University Park
Los Angeles, CA 90089
(213) 740-2311

The University of Southern California’s online master of science in global supply chain management is a 27-credit, part-time hybrid program that trains tomorrow's innovators through rigorous academic concepts and practical real-world applications. Most of the school's 16-month program can be taken online but the program does require two notable, in-person, week-long modules. Each module requires students to travel to a designated city: the first module, conducted in the fall term of the first year, takes place in either Singapore, Hong Kong, or Shanghai. The second, conducted in the fall of year two, is in Los Angeles.

To support students pursuing a master’s in supply chain management online, USC offers three helpful services. First, professors host online office hours to facilitate communication and answer questions. Next, online students have the option to meet with their professors face-to-face, once a month. Finally, the university facilitates opportunities to network with executives and industry leaders.

4Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - WorldwideDaytona Beach$$$$$600 S. Clyde Morris Blvd.
Daytona Beach, FL 32114-3900
(800) 522-6787

Having begun its distance learning programs in 1971, today Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University serves students under the sunny, wide-open skies of both Prescott, Arizona and Daytona Beach, Florida. But wherever a student may be, the school's online degrees programs offer opportunities to study at one’s own pace, providing the academic support that one expects from a top university. Each Embry-Riddle online master’s in supply chain management student is assigned a designated online campus advisor.

This 30-credit online master of science in logistics and supply chain management program gives students a well-rounded education in a number of logistics areas including sustainability, collaborative supply chains, and performance measurement. Although students must take 24 credits of required courses, six elective credits allow for exploring other areas of interest. Embry-Riddle's online master’s in supply chain management faculty is comprised of PhD’s drawing from years of industrial and military experience (often both), so students can rest easy with the knowledge that they're learning from the very best.

5Florida Institute of TechnologyMelbourne$$$$$150 West University Blvd
Melbourne, FL 32901
(321) 674-8000

As one of the only programs of its kind in Wisconsin, UW Stout's online Master of Science in Operations and Supply Management offers an advanced business education unparalleled in the region. The curriculum provides the chance for students to further narrow their focus into one of four specialities: quality management, operations management, project management or supply chain management. Regardless of their track, students learn how to apply current and nascent technologies to effectively manage global and technical business systems.

Powered by Desire2Learn, the virtual classroom at UW Stout is known as Learn@UWStout. For those unsure of whether they are prepared for virtual learning, the school offers an online learning assessment called SmarterMeasure. Once enrolled, students have access to a number of support services, including online orientation, library services, career counseling and eTutoring. A textbook rental service provides a cheap and easy way for students to have physical course materials shipped to their homes.

6Portland State UniversityPortland$$$$$724 SW Harrison
Portland, OR 97201
(503) 725-3511

Oregon’s first and only urban university, Portland State University crafted its online master of science in global supply chain management with a focus on international operations—only appropriate given the school's location in a world-renowned hub of manufacturing and retail. This 52-credit program may be completed almost entirely online (in as little as 21 months, no less) and emphasizes connectivity and real-world applications. Students video conference as they examine actual case studies, build business networks, and form relationships with the broader university community.

An unusual component of this program is its two-week-long global supply chain international field study that takes students to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Beijing, China between the program's first and second years. This required short trip provides students with exceptional opportunities to examine innovations up close, meet industry leaders, and network face-to-face with each other, but may not be the right fit for working professionals who cannot take time off.

7Michigan State UniversityEast Lansing$$$$$
East Lansing, MI 48824-1046
(517) 355-1855

Without a doubt, Michigan State University is a leader in supply chain management education. For example, its online master of science in supply chain management is taught by expert faculty whose writings and interviews are relied upon throughout the country.

Unlike other programs, Michigan State's program not only delves deep into manufacturing, but also into procurement resourcing, logistics, transportation, and distribution. By the time they graduate, students have a comprehensive understanding of the entire end-to-end supply chain.

Learners may pursue this rigorous supply chain management degree online as part of a hybrid 36-credit program that can be completed in two years. The majority of the instruction is completed through structured weekly sessions consisting of video lectures, assignments, and quizzes. As part of the hybrid approach, the program requires only 12 on-campus days that are scheduled as three-day weekends. These face-to-face sessions are designed to deepen connections with instructors and provide added value through case studies, teamwork, and presentations.

8Georgia College and State UniversityMilledgeville$$$$$231 W Hancock Street
Milledgeville, GA 31061
(478) 445-2770

Having taught logistics and supply chain education for over 40 years, Georgia College and State University is Georgia’s oldest provider of such programming. The school's 30-credit, online master of logistics and supply chain management program combines the institution’s wealth of experience with the latest in technology to help students complete their course of study at a rapid pace. Students will take 21 credit-hours of required courses and nine credits of electives, and may choose from a variety of subjects, such as commercial law, regulation, and corporate social responsibility and strategic operations management. Note that this program does not provide concentrations or specializations.

Students who enroll in any of the institution’s online programs, but especially its online master’s in supply chain management, are supported by faculty who have real-world experience. GCSU’s logistics and supply chain program is internationally accredited by the AACSB.

9Fontbonne UniversitySaint Louis$$$$$6800 Wydown Blvd
Saint Louis, MO 63105-3098
(314) 862-3456

All of Fontbonne University’s online programs are rigorously reviewed to ensure that students receive the highest quality instruction. The school's online master of science in supply chain management provides students with convenience and flexibility but, just like its on-campus counterpart, the program also requires active participation, critical thinking, and prompt submission of assignments.

The program consists of eight courses totaling 30 credit hours and may be completed in as little as one year. Although all 30 credit hours must be completed, up to six of these credits may consist of electives. Students also have the option to pursue a concentration in accounting, management and leadership, and nonprofit management.

Each concentration offers students an array of subjects to choose from. For example, in accounting: Advanced topics in management cost accounting and auditing; in management and leadership: business policy and strategic planning and organizational psychology and behavior; and nonprofit management: legal environment of nonprofit organizations and revenue streams for nonprofits.

10Wright State UniversityDayton$$$$$3640 Colonel Glenn Highway
Dayton, OH 45435-0001
(937) 775-3333

The one-year-long, 33-credit online master of science in logistics and supply chain management program at Wright State University primarily consists of nine online courses and a capstone project. However, students are required to complete four on-campus residencies (taking place on weekends), totaling 11 on-campus days throughout the one-year period. These residencies reinforce concepts taught in class through simulated assignments, leadership skills training, and intensive case studies.

Each component of the program is prepared by experts in their field, providing students with a cutting-edge education supported by the latest online learning technologies. The same instructors who teach in the live-classroom format teach their online counterparts. At Wright State, students learn to use advanced technology to build supply chain architectures, innovate supply chain design at a rapid pace, and craft the appropriate metrics for supply chain networks from established, well-respected faculty. To reinforce this real-world approach, the capstone project is sponsored by real organizations, organizations which students will present to as part of the program.

Online Doctorate Degree in Supply Chain Management

Unlike many disciplines, doctoral programs in Supply Chain Management tend to focus on preparing students for employment in the field, rather than academic research and teaching. Concentrations in Ph.D. level supply chain management programs include industry-specific options, such as information management, or issue-based possibilities, like international logistics. Some elite Ph.D. programs require a full time commitment, and may require you to complete a thesis or capstone.

  • SAMPLE COURSES

    Univariate Statistics, Supply Chain Management Theory, Econometrics

  • COMMON MAJORS

    DBA and PhD

  • POTENTIAL JOBS

    Warehouse Operations Manager, Supply Chain Software Manager, Customer Service Manager

  • AVERAGE INCOME

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median income for an operations research analyst (a position that commonly requires a doctorate) is $78,630.

  • EMPLOYMENT PROSPECTS

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, available jobs for operation research analysts are projected to grow by 30% in the coming years, much faster than other professions.

Online Supply Chain Management Choose Your Career

Average Supply Chain Management Salaries

$59,620
$108,120
$74,260

Buyers and Purchasing Agents

Salary: $59,620
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
2% 443,200 Bachelor's

Buyers and purchasing agents are employees who purchase the products or services other organizations use or resell. Job duties include negotiating prices and examining products for quality. Most positions require a bachelor’s, although some employers will hire applicants with an associate degree. Some level of on-the-job training is also required, and communicating effectively with others is a major part of the job. This career requires job candidates to be well-versed in sales, marketing, and customer service.

Purchasing Managers

Salary: $108,120
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
1% 73,000 Bachelor's N/A

Purchasing managers are responsible for acquiring the supplies, equipment, products, and services that organizations use. They also hire, train, and manage purchasing agents. Work weeks are typically longer than 40 hours, and regular interaction with other employees is part of the job. In addition to a bachelor’s degree, purchasing managers need to have professional experience as buyers. An online supply chain management degree can help you develop the skills needed for the position. In school, students develop the strong communication and negotiation skills required, and they also will become familiar with administration in management, production procedures, and resource planning software.

Logistician

Salary: $74,260
Growth Rate 2014-2024 Number of Jobs: 2014 Degree Certifications
2% 130,400 Bachelor's N/A

A logistician’s job is to study and review the processes linking every stage of a product’s life cycle, from material acquisition to product delivery. Generally, this position requires a bachelor’s degree, though people with significant industry experience may not need one. Strong analytical thinking skills, attention to detail, integrity, familiarity with computers, and dependability are all vital traits in this position.

Online Supply Chain Management Degree in Action

Frank Guenzerodt Supply Chain Management

As President & CEO of DACHSER USA, Frank Guenzerodt oversees the continuing expansion of the company’s U.S. logistics network of branch offices and service offerings. Since joining the corporation in 2004, he has led the company’s strategic growth program to increase its footprint in the USA for greater reach and value for customers.

When and how did you begin pursuing a career in the logistics and supply chain industry?

I joined a freight forwarding and logistics company after college in Hamburg, Germany in 1993. I completed an apprenticeship with a bachelor’s degree in international freight forwarding and logistics. In 1986, I moved to the United States and held several positions at multinational freight forwarders including international sales manager, branch manager and, ultimately, as a management executive. I joined DACHSER in 2004 and expanded the U.S. footprint from 5 to currently 16 offices. Our plan is to further grow our U.S. organization to 25 offices by 2020.

What would you say is the most rewarding aspect of your career?

Working in an ever evolving industry with people from different cultures all across the globe.

What types of skills does a student develop in a logistics/supply chain management degree program?

Various skills will be developed such as organizational, math, geographical, and interpersonal skills as well as the understanding of global trade.

What traits/skills do you look for in new hires?

The most important is a positive attitude. The knowledge of multiple languages and the understanding of different cultures is helpful.

What advice would you give someone who wants to establish a career for themselves in this industry?

They have to be very flexible, able to deal with constant change, willing to travel, and be motivated to work hard. An education in supply chain/logistics or business-related field is also very beneficial.

Online Supply Chain Management Professional Requirements

APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP)

The APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (APICS CSCP) is recognized around the world as the leading education and certification program in supply chain management. To be eligible to take the exam, you must have a bachelor’s degree (or international equivalent), three years of related work experience, or be designated CPIM, CFPIM, CIRM, SCOR-P, C.P.M., CSM, or CPSM. The exam features 175 multiple choice questions which cover supply chain design, supply chain planning and execution, and supply chain improvements and best practices. Earning the APICS CSCP designation shows potential employers that you have a thorough knowledge of the field and are qualified to use enterprise resource planning systems to streamline operations. The APICS CSCP designation is not required to work in the field, however, many employers do seek employees who have the credential. More than, 19,000 professionals in 82 countries have been certified through this program since 2006. Most people spend 100 hours preparing for each exam. Candidates are allowed four hours to take the exam.

Is it required?

No

How long will it take?

4 hours

ISM Certified Professional in Supply Management

Around the world, individuals and employers working in procurement, supply management, and supply chain management regard the ISM Certified Professional in Supply Management (ISM CPSM) as a sign of achievement in the field. To be eligible for the CPSM, you must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and three years professional work experience in supply management, five years professional work experience in supply management, or have have passed three CPSM exams. You may take the CPSM exams before you complete all your work experience. The CPSM exams are comprehensive, covering cost and finance, supplier relationship management, logistics, organization/department assessment, leadership, strategic sourcing, and more. The CPSM is not required, but candidates with professional certification commonly receive higher salaries. The program insists on continuing education to maintain certification, which establishes the currency of training for employers. Depending on your schedule and study habits, preparing for and passing the CPSM takes between six and 12 months. The CPSM designation is valid for three years.

Is it required?

No

How long will it take?

Varies

SCPro Certification

The SCPro certification program helps supply chain management professionals establish and grow their careers, both through the process of preparing for the SCPro exams and in the credibility the certification testifies to their level of expertise. SCPro certification consists of three modules, which build on each other and delve progressively deeper into the complexity of supply chain management. Eligibility requirements change at each level. Level I requires a bachelor’s or higher degree from an accredited institution, or four years work experience in supply chain management. Level II requires SCPro Level I certification and a supply chain management degree plus three years of work experience, or seven years work experience without Level I certification. Level III requires SCPro Level II certification and a supply chain management degree plus five year’s work experience, or nine years of work experience. SCPro certification is not required. Professionals pursue the certification to enhance their marketability to employers and demonstrate their ability to enhance organizational operations. Candidates who took the SCPro Level I Certification independently said it required 2-4 hours a week over 2-3 months. Those completing a work-sponsored program took 12-18 months.

Is it required?

No

How long will it take?

Varies