Supply chain management is a growing field and a satisfying profession, as a recent survey from the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM) found that 96% of those surveyed were highly satisfied with their career in SCM, with average rating of 8.4 out of 10. The survey also found that it pays to get certified: SCM pros with at least one certification get paid on average 19% more than those who aren’t certified, and those with two or three certifications earn salaries that are 39% and 50% higher than the median, respectively.
And with the global supply chain remaining a vital concern for businesses across nearly every industry, the value of those with verifiable SCM skills will likely only increase, especially as IT turns to analytics and other data-related measures to help alleviate issues businesses face with their supply chains.
Whether you’re already making a career in supply chain management, or want to break into the field, here are 12 supply chain management certifications that can round out your resume and give you a leg up against the competition.
Top 12 SCM certifications
- ASCM Certified in Logistics, Transportation, and Distribution (CLTD)
- ASCM Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM)
- ASCM Certified Supply Chain Professional certification (CSCP)
- ASCM Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR-P) Endorsement
- Certified Six Sigma Black Belt
- ISM Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM)
- ISM Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD)
- NCMA Certified Professional Contract Manager (CPCM)
- Oracle E-Business Suite 12 Supply Chain Certified Implementation Specialist: Oracle Purchasing Certification
- SCPro Council of Supply Chain Management Fundamentals
- SCPro Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP)
- SOLE Certified Professional Logistician (CPL)
ASCM Certified in Logistics, Transportation, and Distribution (CLTD)
The Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), formerly known as the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS), offers a number of certifications to demonstrate your SCM skills. The ASCM Certified in Logistics, Transportation, and Distribution (CLTD) certification is designed for those focused on improving efficiency in distribution and warehousing in order to optimize the overall customer experience. The exam covers the best practices around logistics, transportation, and distribution with a focus on topics such as logistics overview, network design, sustainability and reverse logistics, capacity planning, demand management, order and inventory management, and global logistics and transportation. According to the ASCM, CLTD certified professionals report earning 25% higher salaries than those without the certification. To earn the CLTD designation, you will need to pass one exam, and to maintain the certification you will need to earn and submit 75 professional development maintenance points every five years.
Exam fee: $985 per exam for Plus members, $1,315 per exam for Core and nonmembers
ASCM Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM)
You’ll need to pass two exams within three years to earn your Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) certification from ASCM, and you’ll need to maintain your certification every five years by completing 75 professional development points. If your certification isn’t maintained within five years, it will expire before the 10-year mark, and you will be required to retake the exam. For every year that your certification is suspended, you’ll need to submit an additional 15 professional development points. When considering the cost, remember that you’ll have to pay the fee for both exams — the fee only applies to one exam at a time. According to ASCM, those with a CPIM certification reporting earning up to 23% more per year over their uncertified peers. The exam covers supply chain fundamentals, plan supply, inventory management, continuous improvement and quality management, strategy, sales and operations planning, and inventory, among other topics.
Exam fee: $545 per exam for Plus members, $760 per exam for Core and nonmembers
ASCM Certified Supply Chain Professional certification (CSCP)
To be eligible to take ASCM’s Certified Supply Chain Professional exam, you’ll need three years related experience or a bachelor’s degree or international equivalent. As with the CPIM certification above, you’ll need to submit an extra 15 points for every year your certification is suspended if you let it lapse. The CSCP certification exam covers topics such as supply chains, demand management and forecasting, global supply chain networks, sourcing products and services, internal operations and inventory, supply chain risk, and optimization and sustainability. According to the ASCM, those with a CSCP certification report earning salaries that are 40% higher than their peers.
Exam fee: $1,095 for Plus members, $1,425 for Core and nonmembers
ASCM Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR-P) Endorsement
The SCOR-P endorsement from ASCM validates your knowledge in the Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR) model and methods. The SCOR model is a supply chain approach that helps link SCM to business goals, metrics, processes, and other internal departments and stakeholders. The exam is included in the course, which extensively covers the SCOR model to help you apply it to real-life supply chain problems, support organizational goals, improve efficiency, organize SCOR projects, and implement processes. To become SCOR-P certified, you will need to attend a three-day SCOR-P public training or an in-house corporate training where you’ll study the workbook material in a group setting and take the exam at the end of the three-day training.
Exam fee: The exam is included in the course fee, which varies per program
Certified Six Sigma
The Six Sigma method was designed to streamline quality management and it’s still widely used today to help eliminate waste in processes, identify areas for improvement, and keep track of the supply chain while developing products. The Six Sigma certification scheme is often found within organizations, earning you “belts” as you move from green belt all the way up to black belt and make your way up the certification ladder. It’s typically used in large companies to create paths towards leadership in operations and to maintain a focus on efficiency and quality. The principles in Six Sigma can be extremely helpful for keeping your supply chain lean and agile, and it’s a valuable certification if you’re working in an organization that leans on the Six Sigma method.
Exam fee: Varies by location and provider
ISM Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM)
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) offers a Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) certification that validates your knowledge on supply management functions across several industries. The ISM touts the CPSM as the “most recognized supply chain management certification” you can earn. To gain your credentials, you will need to pass three exams. The ISM offers several certification paths, including self-paced learning, learning bundles with everything you’ll need for all three exams, guided learning hybrid courses, and classroom-based training onsite at your organization. You can take the three exams in any order but to qualify, you’ll need three years of full-time SCM experience in a position that isn’t clerical or support. To maintain and renew your certification after four years, you’ll need to earn 60 hours of approved continuing education credits. If you already passed ISM’s CPSD certification (see below), you will not need to take the foundation exam for the CPSM certification, since it’s included in both. If you aren’t already a member, the cost of the nonmember fee for the exam also includes one year of ISM Direct membership.
Exam fee: $495 for members, $725 for nonmembers
ISM Certified Professional in Supplier Diversity (CPSD)
The second certification from the ISM is the Certified Professional Supplier Diversity (CPSD) certification, which you can earn on top of the CPSM certification from ISM. It’s a relatively unique certification that focuses on the growing demand for companies to “engage in supplier diversity to be socially responsible or to meet customer or federal requirements,” according to the ISM. The CPSD certification consists of two exams, but you can skip the foundational exam if you already hold your CPSM exam. To qualify for the exam, you’ll need three years of supplier diversity or management experience and a bachelor’s degree, or five years of experience. To maintain your certification, you’ll need to complete 50 hours of approved continuing education credits over a three-year period. According to the ISM, those with a CPSD certification earn around 10% more than their uncertified peers.
Exam fee: $229 for members, $379 for nonmembers
NCMA Certified Professional Contract Manager (CPCM)
The National Contract Management Association (NCMA) offers multiple certifications, including the Certified Professional Contract Manager (CPCM). The certification is designed for those who participate in government-to-business and business-to-business contract and subcontract activities, who want to better understand how buyers’ actions impact sellers and vice versa, and those interested in learning more about contract management. Candidates for the exam will need a strong understanding of the Certified Management Body of Knowledge (CMBOK) and a minimum of five years’ experience in a relevant field. The NCMA also offers a Certified Federal Contract Manager (CFCM) certification for those working in or with the government and a Certified Commercial Contract Manager (CCCM) certification for those in the commercial industry.
Exam fee: $135 for domestic, $160 for international exams
Oracle E-Business Suite 12 Supply Chain Certified Implementation Specialist: Oracle Purchasing Certification
The Oracle E-Business Suite 12 Supply Chain Certified Implementation Specialist certification is targeted at intermediate-level implementation team members who are members of the Oracle PartnerNetwork with a focus on selling and implementing Oracle E-Business Suite Supply Chain Management modules. The certification is designed to show employers that you have the right skillset to navigate the R12 E-Business Suite, enter data, pull information, form queries, and access online help. You’ll also need to know how to manage the purchasing process, set up and use the R12 Oracle Purchasing software, and navigate purchase orders. The exam covers topics such as navigating in R12 Oracle applications, introduction to Oracle Applications R12, shared entities and integration as well as the fundamentals of Flexfields, Multi-Org, and Workflow and Alerts. It also covers topics such as purchasing, suppliers, document security, routing and approval, RFQs and quotations, approved supplier lists and sourcing rules, requisitions, and automation.
Exam fee: $245
SCPro Council of Supply Chain Management Fundamentals
The SCPro Council of Supply Chain Management Fundamentals certification is an entry-level supply chain management certification that offers eight certification tracks that cover the most important aspects of SCM. These tracks include supply chain management principles, transportation operations, demand planning, manufacturing and service operations, customer service operations, warehouse operations, inventory management, supply management, and procurement. There are no eligibility requirements and each exam for the eight tracks consists of a 40-question multiple-choice format and the credentials do not expire or need renewal.
Exam fee: $200 per certification track
SCPro Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP)
The SCPro Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) certification is unique in that it combines a multi-level education with a three-tiered exam process. There are three levels of SCPro certification and the first level, SCPro Level One, covers the fundamentals and eight elements of supply chain management. At the second level, SCPro Level Two: Analysis and Application of Supply Chain Challenges, you’ll be tested on your ability to apply SCM knowledge in various scenarios. The third and final level, SCPro Level Three: Initiation of Supply Chain Transformation, certifies your ability to “positively impact an organization” through a hands-on project that demonstrates your skills. You will need to renew your certification for all three levels every three years, which will require 60 hours of eligible professional development activities. You will need to complete at least 20 hours of professional development annually, but no more than 30 hours per year.
Level 1 exam fee: $650 for members, $975 for nonmembers
Level 2 exam fee: $1,095 for members, $1,500 for nonmembers
Level 3 exam fee: N/A
SOLE Certified Professional Logistician (CPL)
The International Society of Logistics (SOLE) offers a Certified Professional Logistician (CPL) certification in logistics, which is a key element of supply chain management in certain industries such as commerce, defense, federal and local government agencies, and education. The exam takes place twice a year in May and November over an eight-hour period, with two four-hour sessions; you will need to pass all four parts of the exam before you can earn your certification. It’s a relatively advanced certification — to qualify for the CPL exam, you’ll need at least nine years’ experience practicing or teaching logistics and two years’ experience in at least two fields of logistics. Each year of undergraduate accredited coursework in logistics subjects is equivalent to one year of professional experience, up to four years. For those with a master’s degree or doctoral degree, you’ll need four or three years’ additional experience, respectively.
Exam fee: $225 for members, $375 for nonmembers
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