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What Logisticians Do About this section

Logisticians
Logisticians manage the life cycle of a product, which includes how a product is distributed and delivered.

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.

Duties

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 About this section

Logisticians
When problems arise, logisticians must respond quickly and devise solutions.

Logisticians held about 188,200 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of logisticians were as follows:

Manufacturing 24%
Federal government 18
Professional, scientific, and technical services 16
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 work full time and they sometimes work overtime to ensure that operations stay on schedule.

How to Become a Logistician About this section

Logisticians
A bachelor’s degree is typically required for most positions, although an associate’s degree may be sufficient for some logistician jobs.

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.

Pay About this section

Logisticians

Median annual wages, May 2020

Logisticians

$76,270

Business operations specialists

$71,450

Total, all occupations

$41,950

 

The median annual wage for logisticians was $76,270 in May 2020. 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 $44,190, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $122,580.

In May 2020, the median annual wages for logisticians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Federal government $88,280
Manufacturing 77,840
Management of companies and enterprises 76,900
Professional, scientific, and technical services 72,510
Wholesale trade 66,130

The majority of logisticians work full time and they sometimes work overtime to ensure that operations stay on schedule.

Job Outlook About this section

Logisticians

Percent change in employment, projected 2019-29

Business operations specialists

6%

Logisticians

4%

Total, all occupations

4%

 

Employment of logisticians is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

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 logisticians who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force, such as to retire. Prospects should be best for candidates who have experience using logistical software or doing logistical work for the military.

Employment projections data for logisticians, 2019-29
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2019 Projected Employment, 2029 Change, 2019-29 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Logisticians

13-1081 188,200 196,400 4 8,200 Get data

Contacts for More Information About this section

For more information about logisticians, including certification, visit

APICS

Defense Acquisition University

International Society of Logistics

O*NET

Logisticians

Logistics Analysts

Logistics Engineers

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