Thousands of miles of roads crisscross the country, allowing for the speedy and efficient movement of goods from point A to point B. A logistics professional works behind the scenes to help a company plan and develop a product’s supply chain, from conception to delivery. Women make up only 36 percent of all logistics professionals, as of 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While not required by every employer, certification as a logistics professional gives employees additional know-how and legitimacy in the field.
Who’s Offering Certification
Earning certification as a logistics professional starts with choosing a certification provider. A number of providers offer designations for logisticians, including industry associations like the International Society of Logistics. Other providers include specialty organizations like the American Society of Transportation and Logistics, International Warehouse Logistics Association and the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals. Some organizations have several logistics professional certifications, like ASTL, which offers four levels of certification.
What It Takes
Applicants for certification must prove they have the background education and training needed to earn professional certification. While the exact requirements vary depending on the provider, general requirements include a combination of education and professional experience. For example, CSCMP asks for a bachelor’s degree or 4 years of professional experience. SOLE requirements are more stringent and include a doctorate plus 3 years of experience, master’s degree plus 4 years, or a bachelor’s degree and 5 years of experience. Other requirements include submitting the required documents, such as resumes, transcripts, professional recommendations and endorsements. Some organizations also require an applicant to join that group to earn certification.
Passing the Test
The certification exam allows providers to test a candidate’s knowledge in logistics and determine whether she deserves the designation. Most exams take place at third-party testing centers and consist of multiple-choice questions. The SOLE exam is so rigorous that the organization states that passing it is comparable to earning a master’s degree in logistics. The certification exams cover topics like systems management and design, acquisition support, production, distribution and customer support. To help test-takers prepare, many providers offer study guides, practice tests, study groups and test resources.
Keeping Up the Good Work
After earning certification, a logistics professional must keep it up to date by renewing every few years. For example, SOLE requires renewal every 5 years, while WLP requires renewing every 3 years. The renewal process includes earning a minimum number of continuing education credits during the renewal process. ASTL, for example, requires renewing every 5 years by getting CE credits through industry conferences, education programs or completing a certification module. Other sources of CE credits include teaching, writing for industry publications, attending workshops and seminars and joining professional organizations.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: 2012 Household Survey Annual Averages
- International Society of Logistics: Certified Professional Logistician
- American Society of Transportation and Logistics: Certifications
- International Warehouse Logistics Association: Certified Logistics Professional
- Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals: Certification Overview
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