How to Become a Supply Chain Manager: Career Advice & Information

Overview & Salaries


Supply chain managers—sometimes called logisitcians—oversee the flow of goods in a business or government agency. In manufacturing, they ensure that raw materials and components of a product are available when and where they’re needed, in sufficient quantities. They ensure that the finished products are delivered where they’re meant to go. In doing so, supply chain managers are always looking for ways to cut costs or increase efficiency.

As businesses increasingly have a ‘just-in-time’ approach to supply problems and consumers are more demanding than ever, a supply chain manager needs to be highly organized and constantly on the lookout for ways to do things better or more cheaply.


Annual salaries for supply chain managers will vary depending on your experience, education level, and expertise. In 2013, the average annual salary for supply chain managers working in the U.S. was $76,330 per year.

For more information on what parts of the country have the most opportunity for supply chain managers, click through to our Best Places to Work tab for information on the number of people employed and the average salary in each state.

Discover the Best Cities and States to Work in Supply Chain Management

California leads the nation in employment for supply chain managers, with 13,300 making an average annual salary of $82,700. Texas is second in employment, where 11,440 supply chain managers earn an average salary of $83,510.

The metro areas employing the most supply chain managers are:

  • Seattle-Bellevue (5,130)
  • Washington D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria (4,520)
  • Houston-Sugar Land (3,170)

The metro areas employing the highest concentration of supply chain managers are:

  • Warner Robins, GA (22.67 jobs per thousand)
  • Huntsville, AL (13.65 jobs per thousand)

The metro areas employing the best-paid supply chain managers are:

  • San Jose-Sunnyvale, CA (average annual salary $96,790)
  • Washington D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria (average annual salary $93,650)

Employment and Salary Information for Supply Chain Management

Use our interactive map below to find out which areas of the United States are currently experiencing the greatest amount of growth and job availability for graduates looking for a career as a supply chain manager. The associated information has been gathered from Bureau of Labor statistics, representing data collected in 2012.

Why Become A Supply Chain Manager?

In today’s globalized world, most things we use come from somewhere else, and many of the things we use are made of parts that come from dozens of places around the world. Supply chain managers are responsible for keeping goods flowing around the world. Here are some of the benefits of the career:

  • Fast job growth. The number of supply chain managers is projected to rise 22% between 2012 and 2022. That’s much faster than the average job.
  • Be challenged. Globalization and the internet have changed how and when companies and government get their supplies. Supply chains are more efficient than ever, but also much more complex.
  • Be highly valued. The same factors that make supply chain management more complex also make it more important and valued.
  • Never rest content. Supply chain managers seek to make constant improvements to their processes. If you’re never quite satisfied with how things work, this job may be for you.
  • Pays well. An average of $76,330 per year in 2013.

Supply Chain Management: What You Need To Know

Efficiency and precision are the hallmarks of a good supply chain manager. A working knowledge of these skill sets will help to set you apart from other candidates.

  • Organizational Skills
  • Understanding of Logistics
  • Relationships with Suppliers/Transport
  • Understanding of Products
  • Math Skills

Feel like you’ve got a lot to learn? Get more information about supply chain management careers, degrees, and applicable courses from one of the schools below.

Degree Options for Supply Chain Management Careers

Associate’s degree

There are some opportunities for those who earn an Associate’s degreein supply chain management.

Bachelor’s degree

More commonly, however, supply chain managers who work in government agencies, multinational corporations, and other businesses have a Bachelor’s degree. Usually employers prefer degrees in supply chain management, degrees in business, industrial engineering, or process engineering may also qualify you for the job. Courses in supply chain management cover topics such as database management, system dynamics, logistics, and decision-making.

In addition to receiving an education, some individuals will opt to acquire a certification in the practice. The American Society of Transportation and Logistics (ASTL) and the International Society of Logistics (SOLE) offer certifications which require candidates to have sufficient experience and education, and to pass an exam.