What Does a Logistician Do?
If you’re organized, analytical and enjoy coordinating activities or the flow of a process, take a moment to learn about this in-demand career.
A logistician manages the supply of products or people and balances it with customer need. This person understands customer patterns and is able to forecast potential bottlenecks. The goal is to provide the right thing at the right place at the right time.
A logistician — also called a logistics specialist, logistics manager, transportation analyst or supply chain manager — never sits still. This person doesn’t just focus on getting items from Point A to Point B; they ensure that it happens safely for the lowest cost and in the least amount of time.
A logistician’s work day goes quickly.
As the global economy expands, the skills of a logistician are needed in almost every industry, business — big or small — and in government. They all share the need for an efficiently run supply chain, even if their products or services are wildly different.
That’s just one of the reasons why the demand for this satisfying role is so great.
If you like to be in the middle of things, relish a challenge and are looking for a career that provides opportunity for advancement, keep reading to learn more.
- Manage how items are purchased, transported, warehoused and distributed
- Make improvements to logistical processes
- Keep operations on schedule
- Interpret data and share with management
- Resolve problems
- Maintain and improve relationships with suppliers and customers
- Create loss prevention strategies
- Stay current on the latest advances
How To Become a Logistician: FAQs
Logistician education requirements: What steps should I take to get this job?
You may need to earn a high school diploma or equivalent to get started. Check the requirements of specific programs to find out. Some rely on scores from the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE) instead.
Next, earn your postsecondary credentials. That can include a certificate program or an associate degree in supply chain management, logistics or business administration. Some employers will look for candidates with a bachelor’s degree, but related experience may provide a good substitute for a four-year degree. Educational requirements will vary by employers and the size of the operation.
Training programs may include courses in supply chain management and modeling, principles of economics, accounting, data analytics, materials and inventory planning, plus transportation and distribution. Courses will provide the skills needed to manage the supply chain from start to finish.
Students will also learn the related software systems and technologies, such as radio-frequency identification (RFID). More in-depth programs may include system dynamics.
Certificate programs, which take less time to complete, may provide an overview of practical knowledge or may focus on a specific area of the supply chain, such as transportation, purchasing, warehouse operations or distribution.
Experience on the job is extremely valuable for logisticians. For example, military training in a logistical support role can easily translate to the civilian workforce. Similarly, someone who starts in an entry-level position and seeks out additional training is likely to get opportunities to move up within the organization.
Another pathway to this career is to jump over from a parallel track. For example, industrial engineering technicians help engineers create efficient systems in a manufacturing setting. Those efficiency skills easily translate to a career in logistics.
Are there any other qualifications to consider?
Certification isn’t required for logisticians, but it can distinguish you from other candidates because it provides verification of your skills.
Several groups offer certifications including the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) — also known currently by the acronym APICS — the International Society of Logistics (SOLE) and Defense Acquisition University (DAU) for Department of Defense acquisition work.
Certification requires meeting education and experience requirements and passing an exam.
How long does it take to become a logistician?
Certificate programs take from six months to a year to complete. An associate degree typically takes two years.
Continuing education is ongoing as logistics technology evolves.
Is there a demand for logisticians?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there’s plenty of opportunity in this line of work. Employment growth of 28% puts this career far ahead of other business operations specialists. That predicted growth will mean 24,800 job openings for logisticians each year from 2021 to 2031.
The federal government is the largest employer of logisticians.
What personal qualities matter for logisticians?
Successful logisticians or logistics specialists tend to share these traits:
- Excellent communication skills
- Excel in a fast-paced work environment
- Good critical-thinking skills
- Good at problem-solving, especially on the fly
- Good customer service skills