The certifications offered by APICS are the most recognized credentials in Supply Chain and Logistics. But they also are expensive.
In many organizations, it is difficult to justify the significant expenditure on training. Thus, most companies do not provide their employees with the opportunity to obtain the certification offered by APICS.
However, those interested in getting certified on their own face the prospect of significant investment—both financially and in terms of time. Not everyone can afford it.
So what can you do if you feel the need to gain knowledge in Supply Chain and Logistics? Below is a piece of advice I gave to one of the ‘Logistics Simply’ blog’s readers’.
The true story
After the publication of the article Is it worth doing a certification in Supply Chain? I was approached on Linked In by Jakub Woszczek.
To clarify the issue, he was considering I presented the original question sent to me in a private message (with his permission of course).
I am a regular reader of your blog and find there valuable content that helps me systematize my SCM knowledge.
I am writing to you in reference to your recent article. Could you advise me which certificate is worth doing at the beginning of Supply Chain career and which could help me to improve my knowledge and be a valuable element of my CV at the same time?
I know the value of APICS in the marketplace, but at the moment the price of the full package is prohibitive for me. Do you see any worthwhile cheaper options? Or is it better to postpone the topic to raise the required amount for APICS?
I look forward to your reply and thank you in advance for it.
After reading this question, I realized that even though I shared perspectives on if, when, and how to get certified in supply chain, but I did not give specific advice on what to do in a situation with a limited budget.
APICS, like most other certifications, implies high costs.The last time I checked, getting the APICS CPIM costs $1900 (the version for the prep materials kit and exam).
Getting the APICS CSCP, on the other hand, costs $2345 (also the version for the materials and exam).
So what should you do if you don’t have at your disposal such sum? When do you want to build competence in Supply Chain or Logistics Management individually or in a small organization?
Before I answer Jakub’s question, I’d like to note that it’s essential why certification is sought.
Some like Ilona Smółka, with whom I had the pleasure of writing a previous post about certifications, are looking because of an employer requirement. In such cases, there is no reasonable alternative. The choice is based on necessity and, unfortunately, the costs mentioned above have to be paid.
Others just want to systematize and expand their knowledge of the Supply Chain. They are looking, like Jakub, for knowledge. However, they don’t need to meet a specific requirement. In these cases, I recommend two alternatives:
The courses and certifications offered by both CSCMP and MIT cover Supply Chain and Logistics Management in a broad sense. Unlike the other certifying bodies available, you will not have a preponderance of purchasing or quality management functions here.
On the other hand, studying the required knowledge alone in both cases is free. CSCMP offers some of its materials for $0 and MIT provides courses requiring only enrollment.
In both cases, the fee is only required to take the exam and become formally certified. Of course, there will still be costs in the end. However, in both cases, lower than the APICS certification.
Currently, the CSCP certificate costs $975. MIT exams cost $200 – $300. In the case of MIT, you have to reckon with 3 – 4 courses covering similar material as CSCP.
Altogether, half the price of CSCP, which is the cheaper of the certifications offered by APICS.
The choice between SCPro and Micromasters is, in my opinion, an individual matter. With SCPro you can choose the pace of learning. With Micromasters, on the other hand, you have to sign up for the rigor of working in an online group.
Everyone should decide for themselves what works better in their case.
Outside the mainstream
Courses and certifications are not the only way to develop yourself or your team. In addition to these, I also recommend several other methods. I wrote about them earlier in the article 7 ways to develop Supply Chain team.
If you are looking for inspiration on how to improve your competencies, I recommend starting with this text.
I also encourage you to sign up for the Newsletter – Logistics Simply. You will always be up to date on what I do.
In the meantime see you in 2 weeks!