A degree in transportation teaches students how to keep organizations profitable by covering subjects such as cost reduction, inventory control, and global supply chain management. Another term for this type of degree is logistics management.
What Is a Transportation Degree?
There are both bachelor’s and master’s degree in transportation and logistics management. These degree programs focus on principles, policies, trends, and issues that are important in air, maritime and ground transportation. Transportation management is the core of global supply chain management. It encompasses manufacturing, retailing, distribution, recreation and even national security. A transportation degree will prepare you for many logistics-related roles in private industry, military, and government.
The US economy in recent years has been experiencing stronger economic growth, with some quarters showing a GDP growth rate of 4%. Unemployment is also around 4%, and wages are on the rise. For these reasons, the growth of many business and financial occupations are increasing by 10% in the next few years. By 2026, many business and financial occupations together will add more than 773,000 new jobs. Many of these new opportunities will include transportation and logistics managers.
One of the most common positions with a transportation degree is logistician. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports logisticians held 148,000 jobs in 2016. The biggest employers of logisticians were:
- Manufacturing: 25%
- Federal government: 20%
- Professional, technical and scientific services:
- Management of companies and enterprises: 10%
- Wholesale trade: 9%
Jobs for logisticians will increase by 7% through 2026, which is faster than average.
Another related job for people with a transportation degree is operations research analyst. BLS reports this position now has 114,000 jobs in the US mostly in finance and insurance and professional, scientific and technical services. Many operations research analysts also work for the federal government, including the Department of Defense.
The job outlook for operations research analysts is outstanding, with job growth expected to be 27% through 2026, which is much faster than average. Technology is getting better and organizations want to save money and grow their efficiency. Demand for operations research analysis will likely grow very rapidly.
The median salary for operations research analysts in 2017 was $81,300. For logisticians, the median salary was $74,500. Professionals who have a master’s degree and many years of experience in both professions may expect to earn in the low $100,000s.
With a transportation degree, you can work in virtually any industry that ships products or parts across the US or world. You also can work for one of many logistics and transportation companies that services various companies. Top employers in this industry as of 2018 were:
- XPO Logistics
- UPS Supply Chain Solutions
- DHL Supply Chain
- CH Robinson Worldwide
- JB Hunt Transport Services
- FedEx Corp.
- Americold Logistics
- Ceva Logistics
- DB Schenker USA
If you are already working in transportation or another field, you may want to earn a degree online. This will allow you to possibly continue to work full or part-time and complete your degree without visiting a college campus. Online degree programs also are beneficial because you can earn your degree from a college in another state that could be thousands of miles from you.
A good online bachelor’s degree option is the Bachelor of Arts in Business with a Global Logistics Management Concentration at Arizona State University. The degree program is offered through the W.P. Carey School of Business. Students will develop the necessary skills for logistics management and transportation in business, and also gain a better understanding of how these subjects relate to the global distribution of many services and goods.
Students in this two year, online master’s program learn to think in a strategic and analytic manner for approaching the complicated process of managing, coordinating and transporting goods and services. Students become better communicators and leaders with a strong focus on enhancing efficiency, profits, and effectiveness in the logistics and transportation space.
Required courses for this master’s degree are:
- Global Supply Operations
- Analytics for Logistics
- Applied Logistics Management
- Procurement of Services
- Business and Sustainability I
- Principles of International Business
- Global Marketing Management
- Advanced Logistics Management
Students who want to get a great start to their career in the transportation industry may select a Bachelor of Science in Operations Management with a Concentration in Logistics and Transportation from Southern New Hampshire University. This program is a great fit for the business-savvy professional or military member who wants to learn the fundamental skills needed to work in operations and supply chain management. This degree will prepare you for a long and profitable career in professional services, scientific and technical services, warehousing and transportation. Common careers include supply chain analyst, distribution analyst, logistics team lead, inventory control manager or transportation supervisor.
The coursework in this three or four-year bachelor’s program covers important topics in the field: logistics management, reverse logistics, transportation management, and integrated supply chain management. Students will learn how to use tools and techniques to handle transportation projects, spreadsheets, supply chains, and transportation.
Students and professionals who want to boost their career options may consider obtaining their Master of Science in Supply Chain Management from MIT. This is an intense, 10-month program that has a strong mix of transportation leadership development, analytical training and problem solving based in the real world by leveraging MIT’s strong alumni and industry networks.
The program will prepare you to conceive, design and operate complex systems. It also will prepare you with the proven sales and negotiation tools that you will need to handle the logistics and supply chain challenges of tomorrow. Students will work with many corporate partners in their research projects. They also can receive a Master of Science in Engineering in Supply Chain Management if they choose.
Both master of science degrees stress the great complexity of the modern supply chain, as well as its dependence on operations, planning, technology, management and policy making. The degree is overseen and administered by the Interdepartmental Transportation Education Committee.
Core courses in the MIT master’s programs are:
- Analytical Methods
- Logistics Systems
- Database Analysis
- Leading Global Teams
- Supply Chain Software
- Finance, Economics and Accounting
- Current Challenges in SCM
- SCM Leadership Workshops
- Graduate Research Project in Logistics
Entry requirements for a master’s degree in transportation or logistics management vary according to the program and university. But typical requirements to enter this degree program are:
- 0 GPA or higher
- GRE scores may be required
- Official college transcripts
- 3 professional and academic recommendations
- Writing samples
Each university has its own requirements for a transportation degree. A bachelor’s degree in transportation typically has these courses required in the major:
- Introduction to Transportation Management
- Transportation Economics
- Supply Chain Management
- Fundamentals of Intermodal Transportation
- Logistics Management
- Distribution Systems
- Hazardous Materials Transportation
- International Logistics Management
- Air Transportation
- Air Operations
- Advanced Business Logistics
Students can earn many scholarships and grants to fund their education in transportation. You should first check with your university department in transportation for school-specific scholarships. Then, check out these scholarships that can be used at most accredited universities in the US:
- Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship: $30,000
- GRCF Economic Club Business Study Abroad Scholarship: $2000
- Hooper Memorial Scholarship: $1500
- NARS Ivan A. Olsen Scholarship: $1000
- SME Education Foundation Family Scholarship: $40,000
- Two Ten Higher Education Scholarship: $12,000
- Wanda J. Schafer Graduate Scholarship: $2500
By earning a certification in supply chain management and transportation management, you can make more money and make yourself more likely to be promoted.
The most well-known certifications in this industry are the CPIM or Certified in Production and Inventory Management, and the CSCP or Certified Supply Chain Professional. The major difference between the two certifications is that CPIM is more designed to train professionals inside the factory and deal with products and materials there, while the CSCP is designed to focus on issues and tasks outside the factory, such as managing suppliers.
Also, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals offers the SCPro certification programs. The focus here is on distribution and logistics. SCPro certifications are good for people who are heavily involved in problem-solving and project management; it uses case studies and hands-on projects as part of the curriculum.
Students who want to learn more about the transportation and logistics business may choose to join the related organizations below. These associations can be a good way to learn more and to network in the industry:
- International Warehouse Logistics Association
- Supply Chain Council
- Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals
- Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport
- Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point
- Purchasing Management Association of Canada
Earning a transportation degree will provide you with the supply chain management and logistics skills to be employed in management in a variety of transportation organizations. As the US economy is growing at a solid rate, it is likely that you will have plenty of good job opportunities with a transportation degree for many years.
- Logistics Management Bachelor’s Degree. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://catalog.apus.edu/undergraduate/academic-programs/bachelors/bachelor-arts-transportation-logistics-management/#requirementstext
- Operations Research Analysts. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/math/operations-research-analysts.htm#tab-8
- Logisticians. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/logisticians.htm