Is an ASCM Certification right for me?
ASCM Certifications - Photography by cottonbro

Is an ASCM Certification Right for Me?

I see this question quite often, so I've decided to outline a few different considerations below before you decide to take the plunge on ASCM certifications. These certifications usually are quite a commitment; you have the option for teacher-led classes, the books are quite thick, and studying for the exam typically takes several weeks to a few months of intense study time. 

If you don't have a traditional Supply Chain education

I would say that if you don't already have a traditional degree in Supply Chain, getting a certification can be a solid way to get some official high-level Supply Chain education. You may already have a few years on-the-job experience which is great, but the certifications can give you a more rounded viewpoint.

If your current job will pay for it

The ASCM certifications are abhorrently expensive. That's the biggest downside. It rivals the cost of certifications like taking the Bar exam. If your current employer will pay for it, take that offer as soon as possible! Think of it like getting a bonus.

Your leadership should see the value in getting a certification like this - it can make them look more competent in the eyes of a customer when their associates have certifications. If your employer shoots you down, start looking for a new job - and use your desire to get this certification as a positive point, - "I'm really looking for a company that will give me continuing education opportunities, so I can be the best [ analyst, planner, manager, etc] I can be". 

If you are looking to leverage higher salary

Sometimes you might be looking to move up in your career but not sure what steps to take to get there. Make sure to ask your management, point blank, if getting the certification would lead to a direct increase in salary or upcoming promotion. Be direct, don't beat around the bush or assume. It's a fairly big time commitment, besides the monetary commitment.

If you are looking for a new job in the next year

If you're not very happy where your at, and looking at outside opportunities, getting an ASCM certification can make you stand out as a candidate. Before exploring this option, look around at job postings and titles that look like a good fit for your next role. Many job postings include the ASCM certifications as a required or preferred qualification - see how many for yourself. This can also point you in the direction of which certification to get, as ASCM offers a few different ones. 


When shouldn't I look into an ASCM Certification?

It's expensive

If your job won't pay for it, you'll need to set aside about $2,000 - $2,100 for the full course prep and exam voucher. You can try getting the exam without the official course prep, but you will need to dedicate a lot more time to it. 

$1791 for ASCM PLUS Member
$2011 for Nonmember + PLUS ASCM Membership

You need to dedicate time and energy to it

You will need to dedicate a few weeks or months to some intense study time. If you're working full time, obviously this is going to take a bit longer studying on nights and weekends. I'd say when I took the class, a majority of students did this alongside working full time. It took our class about 4-6 months after the class itself to get certifications. 

If your current job is not likely to pay, and not likely to allow you the time and energy to study, it's probably not the right time for you. Look for a better company that will provide you a positive work environment, and then re-evaluate from there.

You can read more about the ASCM Certifications on the official site here: ASCM Learning and Development



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