Industry Pathway: Supply Chain Management

Why Pursue a Career in Supply Chain Management?

Supply chain management is essentially the gathering of materials needed for manufacturing/production and then the distribution of those goods and services. This involves everything from procurement of materials to organizing inventories, arranging shipments, and transportation.

Supply chain management involves many steps that create needed professionals at every level. More military members have more supply chain management experience than they realize. Logistics professions that are found in the military are:

  • Logistics analysts
  • Fleet managers
  • Inventory managers
  • Transportation managers
  • Supply chain managers
  • Demand planners
  • Quality Control
  • Financial Management
  • Expense Management

Because this career field focuses on enhancing operational efficiency through the seamless flow of goods, information, and services, supply chain managers are needed in every business sector from private organizations to the federal government. Creating many career options around the world with livable wages.


Career Outlook

The career outlook for those in the supply chain management/logistics career field is good. The career field seems to fare well during a recession. Careers in this field are expected to grow 28% in the next 10 years making this a growing field with strong earning potential.

Career Paths

Several career paths within the supply chain management career field don’t require a degree, military members have the basic skills needed to land those entry-level jobs. However, a bachelor’s degree or a graduate degree may be required for those seeking higher-paying jobs.

Below are examples of career paths within supply chain management and the average annual salary according to Indeed.


Annual Salaries – Supply Chain Management

Job Title                                             Average Salary

Production manager                        $68,273 per year

Safety manager                                  $75,772 per year

Maintenance manager                      $80,251 per year

Manufacturing Engineer                  $82,536 per year

Packaging engineer                            $85,284 per year

Manufacturing manager                   $85,342 per year

Plant manager                                     $96,756 per year

Vice president of operations             $149,670 per year

Vice president of manufacturing     $184,309 per year


Location always plays a role in compensation. According to, the average salary of a supply chain manager in Boston, MA is $127,224, while the average salary in Dallas, TX is $63,737.

Considering a career in supply chain management? Enroll now in an online supple chain management course.

How to Start Your Career

Because there is such a demand for supply chain managers, more and more schools are developing supply chain management and logistics majors. With the ability to enter the career field from all job levels, getting a degree will allow you to combine skills earned through service with the education needed for those top-paying positions. There are two options to start your career:

1)    Lean on military experience to start a career in supply chain management

2)    Backup experience gained through service to land a higher-paying job in supply chain management

Also, check out military scholarship opportunities.

Lean on Military Experience

Several staffing and recruiting companies can help place military community members into supply chain management careers around the country. Staffing and recruiting companies help job seekers directly connect with companies who are looking for them.

Military-focused staffing and recruiting companies can help career connections, provide resume assistance, and more. Find staffing and recruiting agencies in supply chain management and logistics here.

Backup Experience Gained Through Service

Military-connected students have several advantages when it comes to seeking a degree in supply chain management. Many schools provide credit for military experience, offer discounts, are approved for tuition assistance, and have flexible online courses. Seeking a degree or certificate always military-connected students to utilize military benefits to gain the education needed for high-paying sustainable careers.

Skills Gained with a Degree in Supply Chain Management

  • Forecasting
  • Workflow optimization
  • General management
  • Analytics
  • Financial planning
  • Strategic planning
  • Problem-solving
  • Data analysis skills

Learn more and start your new career.

Hear from an Industry Expert

Industry Pathway: Supply Chain Management

William King, MBA
Lecturer of Business (2010)

“I’m excited about the launch of the Supply Chain Management major at UIU. I think it’s timely as employees with bachelor’s degrees are in-demand in the field, and the industry continues to grow. I’m also excited we’ve made the program available online – it gives students a lot of flexibility, plus many of the jobs in the field are often remote or hybrid – so it makes a lot of sense.”


How do I get into this Industry?

A high percentage of employees working in the supply chain and logistical disciplines
have earned an undergraduate degree. This is a great point of entry into these fields,
especially if the degree is supply chain/logistics focused. Internship experiences coupled
with the degree form a solid foundation for competitive entry.

What Certifications do I need in this industry?

Certifications, either granted through an educational institution or professional
organization, can potentially be helpful to career path development. In some cases,
certificates will require a component of experience within the industry before the
certificate is granted.

What degrees or education pathways should I take?

A business related degree is a common path to entry but the growth in supply
chain/logistics focused degrees is a strong indicator of workplace needs. Coupling
education with actual work experience helps to build a solid entry point into these fields
of opportunity.

Translating my military experience specifically for this industry

Military experiences can potentially correlate extremely well for work experiences
related to supply chain and logistics operations. Operational procedures and objectives
for private and public institutional organizations would share common perspectives.

Entry level/mid-level experience I need for this industry

Any work experience related to operations, supply chain, procurement, materials, and
logistics would be helpful for both entry level positions and career path development.
As those experiences are broadened across these areas, an employee will better
understand the interrelationships and how each contributes to the overall success of an

Also, explore information on Getting a Degree in Supply Chain Management for Military & Veterans.

How do you advance in this industry?

As organizations move towards a flattened structure, one could anticipate a horizontal
career development path which might also include moving between different employer
options from time to time. A strength of the supply chain/logistics fields is that the
knowledge and experience base earned over time can translate well across different
industries providing higher levels of career flexibility.

What are they looking for from me to communicate in an interview?

One can expect the usual types of questions, but more specifically, preparing for an
interview and performing well in the interview can often be accomplished by utilizing a
specific approach. One common approach is to use the STAR technique. It helps to not
only to prepare, but also to manage the conversation within an interview. The STAR
approach is simply this: describe the Situation you were dealing with at the time;
describe the Task and the objective you needed to accomplish; discuss the Actions you
took to try and reach the objective; and lastly, describe the outcome or Results. This
approach may well lead to additional clarifying questions, but it is a well-structured
approach to interviewing.

Tips and tricks to getting into this industry

Networking with those already in the industry is a great approach. You can find those
contacts and possibly early career mentors within an organization where you work and
also through professional organizations such as Institute for Supply Management and
Association for Supply Chain Management and the Transportation and Logistics
Professionals Association and local chapters for each.

What can I do while still in the service to prepare for this industry once I get out?

Completing a supply chain management degree is a great starting point. Additionally,
finding supply chain/logistics work experience in that process would help to strengthen
the potential for entry into the discipline. Lastly, finding networks of support to help
guide and open doors when needed.

What is the work-life balance like in this industry?

Organizations in many cases are becoming more engaged on work-life balance needs of
their employees. This may be more challenging in smaller organizations at times when
employees are called on to wear many different types of hats for responsibility, but in
larger organizations there could be more resources to help level out the load for
employees. However, regardless of the discipline, the basic challenge of raising the bar
of expectations for organizations continues to remain strong.


Explore the fully online bachelor’s degree at Upper Iowa University.