Transferring Your Military Training to Civilian Jobs - How to Become a Logistician

By: U.S. News University Connection

Transferring Your Military Training to Civilian Jobs - How to Become a Logistician

When looking for a career after the military, many people might overlook acareer that can make use of the kind of skills many people pick up during their military service.

That occupation is logistician.

Those who work in logistics are often the unseen heroes in emergency situations, coordinating medical teams, rescue teams and those offering food and shelter to make sure everyone is in the best position possible to deal with the crisis.

They also are the people who can make a business more efficient in how it delivers its goods, from the operation of the warehouse to the delivery of products.

Skills That Can Lead to Success in Logistics

A global economy means that business competition is tougher than ever, making it important for businesses to become as efficient as possible. Logisticians typically are brought in to learn a business from the top to bottom and find ways to improve business processes.

Those who have served in the military often have skills that will bring them success in the logistics field. They include:

  • Organizational skills. An ability to look at a set of tasks and accomplish them in the most efficient way possible is part of what makes military personnel good at what they do, and the same goes for logisticians.
  • Understanding how the different parts of an organization fit together. Military operations often require a great deal of cooperation between service members working in different areas.
  • Critical thinking. Military tactics require vigorous attention to detail and repeatedly going over a plan to make it as good as possible in a complex environment. The same goes for logisticians who must develop efficient plans, but never stop refining them to make them better.
  • Discipline. More so than many occupations, logisticians must maintain a strict discipline in how they approach their tasks, something members of the military know well.

Education Needed for a Career in Logistics

While an associate's degree can get you into the industry, many businesses now prefer hiring those with a bachelor's degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Possible degree fields for logisticians could include supply chain management, process engineering, industrial engineering and business.

Coursework typically includes study in operations and database management and system dynamics, as well as classes on decision making. Students also receive education and training on software systems commonly used by logisticians.

There also is certification available through the American Society of Transportation and Logistics and the International Society of Logistics.

Jobs for Logisticians

There are openings for logisticians across many different industries. Some of the typical jobs include:

  • Emergency response. Logisticians are often used to develop and implement emergency response plans, coordinating the movements of supplies and personnel to most effectively aid those who are victims of disasters.
  • Supply chain management. In this field, logisticians develop plans for the best distribution of goods. They might find ways to make warehousing of goods more efficient, as well as examine the details of shipping to find the best way to deliver goods to customers within set timeframes.
  • Government services. Officials in government – often stigmatized as an area where there is a great deal of waste – are increasingly turning to logisticians for more efficient methods to deliver public services.

Salary and Job Outlook

Logistics is a career that can reward you well financially.

Logisticians made an annual media salary of $72,780 per year in May 2012, according to a survey done by the BLS. But that's just the median pay. The top 10% earned more than $112,000, according to the BLS.

Those who work for the federal government made the most money – about $78,000 a year, according to the BLS. Other high-paying industries for logisticians include aerospace products and parts manufacturing ($75,230), transportation equipment manufacturing ($74,210) and professional, scientific and technical services ($71,510).

The job outlook is also positive. The BLS projects the number of logisticians will jump by 22% between 2012 and 2022, meaning about 27,600 new jobs.