Where could a degree in logistics take you?

You could find yourself deep underwater in a submarine, up in the sky or halfway across the world.

You could be your own boss, serve in the military or work for a major international retailer.

No matter what, you would always be learning and growing, staying on top of the latest technology or cultivating your leadership skills.

Dr. Chuck Oden knows firsthand.

Oden spent two decades in the military, serving on submarines, aircraft, hovercraft and surface ships in more than 35 countries. As an officer in the U.S. Navy, Oden planned and executed operations — experience that sparked his interest in supply chain management and logistics.

Today Oden is an assistant professor of management at Saint Leo University, who helped Saint Leo's logistics program gain a prestigious industry certification by the American Society of Transportation and Logistics. Oden himself is a certified supply chain professional through APICS, the leading professional association.

Oden believes that logistics and supply chain management is a lucrative field with a great future. Students in Saint Leo's online business administration degree program now can pursue a specialization that prepares them for this exciting career path.

Is it the right choice for you? Here are five reasons to earn a degree in logistics.

1. Expansive Growth

Logistics is growing quickly with a bright future. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment in logistics will grow by 22 percent between 2012 and 2022, much faster than the average rate for other professions.

One of the driving factors behind this growth is the boom in online ordering, Oden says. Customers expect items they order to arrive at their homes in days — not weeks. Modes of transportation are growing to respond to this demand, and many companies turn to third-party logistics providers for answers to their distribution needs. These third-party companies, in turn, need quality employees.

2. Competitive Salaries

Demand is high for qualified personnel to fill the needs of this growing industry. Employers need to pay well to attract the best applicants and are willing to do so because companies need their distribution function to operate smoothly. But supply chain management extends beyond distribution. Logisticians manage a product's life cycle, how it is acquired, allocated and delivered, and they develop strategies to minimize costs and maximize efficiency. The median annual wage in 2012 was $72,780.

3. International Appeal

A career in logistics may offer opportunities to work or live abroad as more and more business is conducted with international players.

An understanding of the global marketplace is crucial now and stands to become even more so in the near future, Oden says.

The completion of the expansion of the Panama Canal in early 2016 will completely change the flow of goods both in the United States and around the world. Opportunities continue to increase for U.S. companies to export their goods, as demand is high because of the quality and customer service the companies deliver.

4. Interesting Work

Logistics has a regional, national and global focus that guarantees the field never feels stale. During your career, you could find yourself working with companies large or small, dealing with a wide variety of goods and materials. Rapid changes in technology, shifts in supply, improvements in processes and more keep it always interesting, Oden says. Look at progressive companies, such as Amazon, Walmart, eBay and Apple, to see how they implement similar processes to stay on the cutting edge.

5. Opportunities for Advancement

Logisticians with strong analytical skills who challenge themselves to keep learning will have bright futures in this industry. We are in the era of Big Data, Oden says, and those who move up will be the employees who know how to lead others, "think end-to-end" and apply the data at their fingertips to uncover advantages for their companies.

Logistics taps into a wide range of skills but attitude and work ethic are among the most important qualities for potential employees. "For students willing to work, think on their feet and learn analytical skills, the doors are wide open," Oden says.

Why are you considering a career in logistics?

Image Credit: Pichugin Dmitry on Shutterstock

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