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Which APICS Certification is Right for You?

APICS Senior Director, Professional Development

Wednesday March 22, 2017

The question I’ve been asked most often, in my 25 years as an APICS volunteer and staff person, is “Which of the APICS Certifications is right for me?” APICS is recognized by corporations around the world as the premier provider of certifications in Operations Management, Supply Chain Management, and, now, Logistics, Transportation and Distribution Management, and it can be a little confusing determining which of our certifications will most help your career.

I always answer this question with questions of my own: “Where is your focus in your current career? And, where do you want to be in in your career over the next five years?”

Is your focus inside the four walls of your company, anything to do with planning, purchasing, inventory management, or scheduling the products or services that your company provides? Then the Certification in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) will give you the tools and techniques you need to improve the efficiency of our company’s internal processes.

Is your focus outside the four walls of your company, anything to do with supply chain optimization, supplier or customer relationship management, the flows of information, money and materials between your company, your suppliers and customers? Then the Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) designation will give you the knowledge of the end-to-end supply chain that you need to help your company make your supply chains more competitive and use your supply chains as strategic assets.

Is your focus on the storage and movement of the materials, components and finished goods that your company, or your clients, work with? Then the Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD) designation will give you the tools and techniques you need to improve the efficiency of your logistics and transportation capabilities and distribution and warehouse facilities and processes.

A certification validates your mastery of the body of knowledge covered by the certification you earn, and many companies require or prefer employees with one or more of the APICS Certifications.

For more information on which APICS certification is right for you, and the individual certifications, watch our recent webinar recording, and view the Q&A document that resulted from the live webinar.

Still trying to decide, which certification is right for you? Join us in April and early May for free webinars on each of the certifications, CSCP, CLTD and CPIM. We will be presenting a more detailed look at each of the credentials. Register today! All registrants will be sent a link to the recorded presentations and FAQs.

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  1. APICSPres03 July 16, 2018, 10:25 AM

    Hi Seema,

    Yes, the CLTD sounds ideal for the job combination you are moving into. Your CSCP gives you a good "big picture" of the end-to-end supply chain, but the CLTD will dive more deeply into best practices in your new role.

    We can always use good instructors.  Is there an APICS chapter or partner where you live or work? I often recommend starting with them. Contact them and express your interest; they may or may not have an immediate need, but it would be good to get to know them.  APICS has an Instructor Development Program.  You can find more information about it here:

    Best of luck!


  2. July 15, 2018, 06:20 AM
    I used to work in Warehousing, now I work in Sourcing, warehousing and logistcs and I obtained a CSCP from APICS lately, I will soon make another jump to another role with both warehousing and transportation, would CLTD be a good start for the new role? and how likely and easy should it be if I want to peruse a carrier as an APICS instructor once I finish all of the 3 courses? Thanks for your reply
  3. Seema May 25, 2018, 05:20 AM


    Give me details of Six Sigma if any courses you have  

  4. APICSPres03 May 17, 2018, 02:36 PM

    Hi Aditya,

    Your interest in Demand and Inventory Management, with a background in replenishment and finished goods planning, leads me to suggest that you consider CPIM, assuming you want to move to companies that provide the finished goods, like those you are currently planning.  I suggest CPIM because it goes much deeper into the "how to'" of demand management and inventory control than the other certifications.

    All the best,


  5. Aditya May 17, 2018, 02:12 AM

    Hi am having around 6yrs of exp in Replenishment and Finished goods planning particularly in Retail and Fashion industry after bachelor’s degree . Am very much intrested to switch over to other industries with Demand and Inventory managemnt profile. Need suggestion which APICS course will suitable for my profile.

    Rgds Aditya

  6. APICSPres03 May 11, 2018, 04:02 PM

    @ Sumeet -

    As you move into a more functional role, where do you see yourself? As a developer, what areas of the software did you work on?  I would use those two guides to help me decide, if I were making a similar move. If you're focus has been, and/or you would like it to be in end-to-end supply chain, then CSCP will help you get where you want to go. If your focus has been, and or you would like it to be in pursuing excellence inside the company, then CPIM. Similar advice for CLTD.  If, after thinking through your experience and desire and you still aren't sure - I'll recommend CSCP. It is the broadest of the three certifications and a typical certification for a manager or director.

    We do have a partner in India - KnoWerX (, they may be able to help you.

    Best of luck!

  7. Sumeet May 09, 2018, 06:23 AM


    I am working in JD Edwards EnterpriseOne (Oracle ERP) and have an experience of 10 years as a developer. I want to take the next step into my career by moving towards the Functional side.

    Will you please let me know if APICS can be helpful for my job profile? If yes, then which certification should I begin with. Also please let me know if there are any APICS Knowledge Centres in Pune (Maharashtra, India) where I can attend the training?

  8. DengXingxing April 22, 2018, 01:15 PM
    I am with 5 years experience in planning but without CSCP certificate, has been searching for a job a while;<
  9. APICSPres03 April 12, 2018, 01:32 PM

    Hi Nabanita,

    Your bachelor's degree makes you eligible to take the CSCP exam (don't forget to fill out the eligibility before trying to register for an exam). 

    If you are interest in a career in Supply Chain, and have no experience yet, then earning the CSCP will do a couple of things for you. First it will introduce you to the end-to-end supply chain and the body of knowledge supply chain professionals need. Second, it shows a prospective employer that you are serious about working in the supply chain and that you are serious about, and willing to, engage in life-long learning; that you recognize that you always have something to learn and are interested in self-improvement.

    Neither APICS, nor I, can guarantee you a job in supply chain if you earn the CSCP. What we can tell you, from decades of experience, a CSCP will help you put your best foot forward in a career field with a lot of opportunity.

    Best of luck to you.


  10. Nabanita Sanyal April 11, 2018, 01:49 PM
    Hi, this is Nabanita. I've a Bachelor's degree and no supply chain experience. I'm interested in the CSCP certification. Is this the right program for me and will i be able to get a job as a analyst in the Supply Chain field. Can you please advise.
  11. mhaase1 January 29, 2018, 09:29 AM

    Hi Rajiv. You should check out the APICS Certification Interest Community in Supply Chain Channel. Many certification discussions are happening there and instructors will often provide feedback. 

  12. January 27, 2018, 02:30 AM
    Smartly Explained and This will make the task easy for the people who are still deciding which certification to pursue. Thanks Bob
  13. Rajiv Shishodia January 25, 2018, 03:44 AM

    Hi , This is Rajiv Shishodia , Manager in Purchase Department with Top most automotive company . Is there any platform where we can talk or discuss with certified persons for the actual benefits and experience?

    Please share the details . 

  14. mr_mrsk June 08, 2017, 05:54 AM

    Thank you  Bob, I have been this confusion more than 6 to 7 years, As I am working an logistics company, I could find myself into this APICS course bit difficult. With your clear explanation, I decided to purse with CLTD, which exactly suits my area of domain.

  15. Lisa Angell March 30, 2017, 10:15 AM
    Thank you Bob for this concise recommendation. As an instructor, I receive this question frequently, and from the company perspective as well. "Which program should I consider for my employees?" Your recommendation ties the certification to the focus of their professional functions within the organization, and supports that we give consideration to the longer term plans for each employee's professional development. 

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