Logisticians


Quick Facts: Logisticians
2017 Median Pay $74,590 per year 
$35.86 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2016 148,700
Job Outlook, 2016-26 7% (As fast as average)
Employment Change, 2016-26 10,300

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Logisticians Career, Salary and Education Information

What logisticians Do

Logisticians analyze and coordinate an organization’s supply chain the system that moves a product from supplier to consumer. They manage the entire life cycle of a product, which includes how a product is acquired, allocated, and delivered.

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Logistics

Duties of logisticians

Logisticians typically do the following:

  • Manage a product’s life cycle from design to disposal
  • Direct the allocation of materials, supplies, and products
  • Develop business relationships with suppliers and clients
  • Understand clients’ needs and how to meet them
  • Review logistical functions and identify areas for improvement
  • Propose strategies to minimize the cost or time required to transport goods

Logisticians oversee activities that include purchasing, transportation, inventory, and warehousing. They may direct the movement of a range of goods, people, or supplies, from common consumer goods to military supplies and personnel.

Logisticians use software systems to plan and track the movement of products. They operate software programs designed specifically to manage logistical functions, such as procurement, inventory management, and other supply chain planning and management systems.


Work Environment for logisticians

Logisticians held about 148,700 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of logisticians were as follows:

Manufacturing: 25%

Federal government: 20%

Professional, scientific, and technical services: 17%

Management of companies and enterprises: 10%

Wholesale trade: 9%

Logisticians work in almost every industry. Some logisticians work in the logistical department of a company, and others work for firms that specialize in logistical work, such as freight-shipping companies.

The job can be stressful because logistical work is fast-paced. Logisticians must ensure that operations stay on schedule, and they must work quickly to solve any problems that arise. Some logisticians travel to manufacturing plants or distribution centers.

Work Schedules

The majority of logisticians worked full time in 2016, and they sometimes work overtime to ensure that operations stay on schedule. About 1 in 4 of these workers worked more than 40 hours per week in 2016.


How to Become a LOGISTICIAN

A bachelor’s degree is typically required for most positions, although an associate’s degree may be sufficient for some logistician jobs. In some cases, related work experience may substitute for education. Industry certification is helpful for jobseekers.

Education

Logisticians may qualify for some positions with an associate’s degree. However, due to complex logistics and supply chains, companies prefer to hire workers who have at least a bachelor’s degree. Many logisticians have a bachelor’s degree in business, systems engineering, or supply chain management.

Bachelor’s degree programs often include coursework in operations and database management, and system dynamics. In addition, most programs offer courses that train students on software and technologies commonly used by logisticians, such as radio-frequency identification (RFID).

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not required, certification can demonstrate professional competence and a broad knowledge of logistics. Logisticians can obtain certification through APICS or the International Society of Logistics (SOLE). To become certified, a logistician typically needs to meet education and work experience requirements and pass an exam.

There are several certifications available from the Defense Acquisition University (DAU). These certifications are required for Department of Defense acquisitions. 

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Some employers allow applicants to substitute work experience in place of a specific degree. Previous work experience in a field related to logistics, supply chains, or business can be beneficial. Some gain work experience while working in a logistical support role, such as dispatchers and clerks or while serving in the military. Experience allows a worker to learn about production and supply chain processes.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Logisticians need strong communication skills to collaborate with colleagues and do business with suppliers and customers.

Critical-thinking skills. Logisticians must develop, adjust, and carry out logistical plans. They often must find ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Customer service skills. Logisticians must know the needs of their customers in order to coordinate the movement of materials between suppliers and customers. They gain this knowledge through listening to the customer and applying their knowledge of the products and systems to provide what is required.

Organizational skills. Logisticians must be able to keep detailed records and simultaneously manage several projects in a fast-paced environment.

Problem-solving skills. Logisticians must handle unforeseen issues, such as delivery problems, and adjust plans as needed to resolve the issues.


salaries for logisticians

The median annual wage for logisticians was $74,590 in May 2017. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $44,820, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $120,120.

 

In May 2017, the median annual wages for logisticians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Federal government: $84,200

Professional, scientific, and technical services: $74,790

Manufacturing: $74,580

Management of companies and enterprises: $74,190

Wholesale trade: $65,460

The majority of logisticians worked full time in 2016, and they sometimes work overtime to ensure that operations stay on schedule. Nearly 1 in 4 of these workers worked more than 40 hours per week in 2016.


Job Outlook for logisticians

Employment of logisticians is projected to grow 7 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by the need for logistics in the transportation of goods in a global economy.

The performance of the logistical and supply chain process is an important factor in a company’s profitability. Companies rely on logisticians to manage the movement of their products and supplies. Supply and distribution systems have become increasingly complex as they continue to try to gain more efficiencies at minimal cost. Employment is expected to grow as companies need more logisticians to move products more efficiently, solve problems, and identify areas for improvement. However, this growth may be limited by mergers of third-party logistics companies.

Job Prospects

Overall job opportunities should be good because of employment growth and the need to replace the logisticians who are expected to retire or otherwise leave the occupation. Prospects should be best for candidates who have previous experience using logistical software or doing logistical work for the military.

Employment projections data for Logisticians, 2016-26

Employment, 2016: 148,700

Projected Employment, 2026: 159,000

Change, 2016-2026: +7%, +10,300


Careers Related to logisticians

Cost Estimators

Cost estimators collect and analyze data in order to estimate the time, money, materials, and labor required to manufacture a product, construct a building, or provide a service. They generally specialize in a particular product or industry.

Industrial Engineering Technicians

Industrial engineering technicians assist industrial engineers in devising efficient systems that integrate workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service. They prepare machinery and equipment layouts, plan workflows, conduct statistical production studies, and analyze production costs.

Industrial Engineers

Industrial engineers find ways to eliminate wastefulness in production processes. They devise efficient systems that integrate workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service.

Industrial Production Managers

Industrial production managers oversee the daily operations of manufacturing and related plants. They coordinate, plan, and direct the activities used to create a wide range of goods, such as cars, computer equipment, or paper products.

Management Analysts

Management analysts, often called management consultants, propose ways to improve an organization’s efficiency. They advise managers on how to make organizations more profitable through reduced costs and increased revenues.

Meeting, Convention, and Event Planners

Meeting, convention, and event planners coordinate all aspects of events and professional meetings. They arrange meeting locations, transportation, and other details.

Operations Research Analysts

Operations research analysts use advanced mathematical and analytical methods to help organizations investigate complex issues, identify and solve problems, and make better decisions.

Purchasing Managers, Buyers, and Purchasing Agents

Buyers and purchasing agents buy products and services for organizations to use or resell. Purchasing managers oversee the work of buyers and purchasing agents.

Quality Control Inspectors

Quality control inspectors examine products and materials for defects or deviations from specifications.

OccupationENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION2017 MEDIAN PAY
Cost EstimatorsBachelor's degree$63,110
Industrial Engineering TechniciansAssociate's degree$54,280
Industrial EngineersBachelor's degree$85,880
Industrial Production ManagersBachelor's degree$100,580
Management AnalystsBachelor's degree$82,450
Operations Research AnalystsBachelor's degree$81,390
Quality Control InspectorsHigh school diploma or equivalent$37,340
Purchasing Managers, Buyers, and Purchasing AgentsBachelor's degree$66,610
Meeting, Convention, and Event PlannersBachelor's degree$48,290

Citation:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Logisticians, 
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/logisticians.htm