Supply Chain Management Education in Illinois

In manufacturing, the federal government, professional service fields and more, products or services must make their way through a chain of events, from supplier to consumer. Services and products must first be designed, products must be manufactured and shipped, and final products need to be warehoused, marketed and sold.

The people who oversee this entire supply chain process are called supply chain managers (SCMs) or logisticians. These professionals are skilled at monitoring and troubleshooting supply chains so as to maximize the profit and effectiveness of their client companies. Some SCMs specialize in certain parts of the supply chain, such as obtaining raw materials and production, while others manage the supply chain as a whole.

Typically,a logistician needs to have a bachelor’s degree to become an entry-level SCM. However, shorter programs are available for those who just want a little background in the field. A master’s degree obtained after your bachelor’s degree will increase your value to potential employers and raise your income potential.

If you’re someone who pays close attention to details, likes running things and you’re an excellent communicator, a career as a logistician might be the right choice for you. Education is key in this field, so here’s a look at some of the logistician educational options that are out there.

Where to Get Your Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree should open doors to entry-level jobs for logisticians, and here are some schools in Illinois that offer four-year degrees in SCM:

  • Elmhurst College. This is the only Chicago area college that offers a four-year degree in supply chain management.Students will study distribution, purchasing, warehousing and production operations, among other SCM skills. The school offers a compatible minor in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Geosciences or a minor in intercultural studies with a business focus.
  • Western Illinois University. Located in Macomb and the Quad Cities areas, this school’s Supply Chain Management (SCM) program can also be completed in four years. There is an additional option to earn your bachelor’s and master’s degrees together within a five-year course of study. Western Illinois University is accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Up to $40,000 in automatic scholarships is available to qualified students.

Grow Your Career with a Master’s Degree

For those who already work in the supply chain field but want to gain more in-depth formal knowledge and advance to higher positions, obtaining a master’s degree is a smart next step. Illinois SCM master’s programs include:

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UICC). This school’s graduate concentration in Supply Chain Managementis offered with a Master of Business Administration or Master of Science in Business Administration. Courses focus on decision-making, lowering costs while remaining flexible for market trend changes, and “how to coordinate and integrate supply chain solutions across various intra-organizational and inter-organizational interfaces in any business or organization,” according to the program webpage.
  • University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). At the UIC Business Liautaud Graduate School, students can earn their MS in Supply Chain and Operations Management.The school is located in the heart of Chicago, a supply chain and operations hub. It’s 32-credit-hour program takes one year to complete full-time, or more than a year if taking classes part-time. UIC offers a flexible schedule for students who work. Students complete a capstone where they work with a client to manage supply chains, giving them hands-on, real-world experience.

Shorter SCM Programs in Illinois

Sometimes you want to get started at your new job without waiting to complete an entire degree. The good thing is that there are lots of shorter educational opportunities for SCM in Illinois. Those include:

  • Lewis University. This school, in Romeoville is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The advanced SCM program is designed to help those who already work in supply chains to move to the management level. Transportation, manufacturing, logistics and warehousing and distribution are the main learning topics. There is a total of four courses (12 credit hours) that can be completed in a year, or longer if needed. Prerequisites for the program include admission to the college as a freshman and a $40 application fee.
  • City Colleges of Chicago (CCC). CCC offers an Associate in Applied Science in Supply Chain Management & Logistics. The program takes 60 credit hours to complete and offers direct experience to students. Topics studied include operations/business development, receiving, shipping, and case analysis.

APICS Professional Certification

Most states, including Illinois, do not typically require certification or licensure for logisticians. However, those who want to stand out to employers and earn higher incomes may wish to become certified through APICS, the national association overseeing supply chain management.

This organization will soon be led by the Association for Supply Chain Management (ACSM).

Job Statistics for Illinois Logisticians

Illinois logisticians are paid under-average nationally, with a median income of $30.63 per hour reported in 2017 by the BLS. However, logistician demand within the state is growing faster than average, with an 8.9 percent increase in employment predicted by 2026. That’s a bit faster than the national rate of 7 percent and suggests that logisticians in Illinois have a positive job outlook in the future.

A Closer Look at Logisticians in Illinois

In 2017, the highest numbers of Illinois SCMs were employed in the Chicago area. The second highest number of SCMs worked in Peoria, though the number who worked there was much lower than the number in Chicago. The highest paid SCMs in the state worked in Decatur, where they were paid a median income of $35.03 per hour. The best employment rate was in Peoria, with the highest rate of employment per 1,000 jobs in 2017.

With a growing number of job opportunities and the ability to earn a steady income, more and more people are choosing to become logisticians. If this sounds like a career you might be interested in, start researching your educational opportunities now. Getting started in your education right away is the fastest way to gain an entry-level job.

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