Logisticians

Career, Salary and Education Information

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What Logisticians Do[About this section] [To Top]

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, distributed, allocated, and delivered.

Duties of Logisticians

Logisticians typically do the following:

  • Manage the logistical aspects of 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 know how to meet them
  • Design strategies to minimize the cost or time required to transport goods
  • Review logistical functions and identify areas for improvement
  • Propose improvements to management and customers

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[About this section] [To Top]

Logisticians hold about 130,400 jobs. The industries that employ the most logisticians are as follows:

Manufacturing 26%
Federal government 22
Professional, scientific, and technical services 17
Management of companies and enterprises 9
Wholesale trade 7

Although logisticians work in nearly every industry, nearly half of them are employed in manufacturing and the federal government. About 26 percent of logisticians worked in manufacturing, and about 22 percent worked in the federal government. 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.

Logistician Work Schedules

Most logisticians work full time during regular business hours. However, they sometimes work overtime to ensure that operations stay on schedule. Nearly one-fourth of these workers work more than 40 hours per week.

How to Become a Logistician[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Logisticians near you!

A bachelor’s degree is typically required for most positions, although an associate’s degree may be sufficient for some logistician jobs. Industry certification and work experience in a related field is helpful for jobseekers.

Logistician Education

Logisticians may qualify for some positions with an associate’s degree. However, as logistics becomes increasingly complex, more 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 have a certain amount of education and work experience and to pass an exam.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Prospective logisticians can benefit from previous work experience in a field related to logistics or business. Others gain work experience while serving in the military. Experience allows a worker to learn about products and supply chain processes. Some employers allow applicants to substitute several years of work experience for a degree.

Important Qualities for Logisticians

Communication skills. Logisticians need strong communication skills in order 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.

Organizational skills. Logisticians must be able to perform several tasks at one time, 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.

Logistician Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

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Entry Level Experienced

The median annual wage for logisticians is $73,870. 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 $45,880, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $113,940.

The median annual wages for logisticians in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Federal government $80,430
Manufacturing 73,900
Professional, scientific, and technical services 72,930
Management of companies and enterprises 72,390
Wholesale trade 65,810

Most logisticians work full time during regular business hours. However, they sometimes work overtime to ensure that operations stay on schedule. Nearly one-fourth of these workers work more than 40 hours per week.

Job Outlook for Logisticians[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of logisticians is projected to grow 2 percent over the next ten years, slower than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by the need for logistics in the transportation of goods in a global economy. Growth will be moderated, however, because this occupation is concentrated in government and manufacturing, both of which are projected to decline over the next ten years.

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. Therefore, employment is expected to grow as companies need more logisticians to move products more efficiently, solve problems, and identify areas for improvement.

Governments and the military also rely on logisticians. Planning for and moving military supplies and personnel requires an enormous amount of logistical work. Employment of logisticians in contracting firms should continue to grow to meet the needs of the military.

Logisticians Job Prospects

Overall job opportunities should be good because many logisticians are expected to retire or otherwise leave the occupation by 2024. 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, 2014-24
Occupational Title Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24
Percent Numeric
Logisticians 130,400 132,900 2 2,500


*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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