Skip To The Main Content

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.

All comments will be published pending approval. Read the APICS Comment Policy.


Leave a comment
  1. Gautham Sachin September 15, 2018, 04:42 PM
    Hi. Im gautham i would like to move into entry level supply chain roles. Im currently in sales. Which positions to apply in supply chain.
  2. APICSPres03 September 14, 2018, 01:35 PM

    I was a procurement manager for a number of years myself.  At the time CPIM was my only option. For me, CPIM was a great choice, because in addition to procurement, I was responsible for the planning and the inventory for my product lines. CPIM focuses on improving all the activities that help create the products or services your company sells.  I have friends who were much more externally focused.  Their jobs were more about sourcing and moving materials and not as much about day to day inventory and production concerns.  For them, I would recommend CSCP because it gives the big picture about how materials, money and information move back and forth through the supply chain.

    So, I would ask you to consider, where is your focus in procurement? That will help answer your question. Best of luck!


  3. FUZAIL September 12, 2018, 12:39 AM

    Dear Sir,

    I am Procurement Manager , could you please let me know which certification will be better for me CPIM or CSCP ??

  4. APICSPres03 August 30, 2018, 09:36 AM

    Hi Mohamed,

    You'll want a plan - supply chain is too broad a goal. Where in the supply chain would you like to focus your effort? If you want to continue working in retail, but on the supply chain side, then you might consider purchasing, planning, warehouse management. Try talking to people that have jobs you might be interested in someday. Find out how they got to where they are. Most professionals are more than willing to talk about their careers, so don't feel like you are imposing. Read up on some of the career choices as well.  Go to the Career Center and review some of the job descriptions for the jobs that might interest you.  What are these companies looking for? Go to a couple of job sites (e.g., and review job description there as well. Make lists of qualities and experiences you need and think about how to go about getting them.

    CSCP would put your current job in perspective - at the end of the supply chain - and would give you the big picture about how materials and money flow through the supply chain to get the product into your retail store.

    CLTD would give you perspective about how material moves from your supplier to your warehouse, or distribution center. You'll better understand how distribution planning works and how to improve service to the retail outlets.

    CPIM would be better for a goal to work with the manufacturer of the products that are sold by your retailer. You will learn how to optimize the planning and inventory management within the organization, keeping costs in line and better servicing the customer.  In manufacturing, positions you might target would include inventory manager, buyer/planner, production scheduler.

    I would recommend looking for an entry level position somewhere. I wouldn't wait until having earned a certification. I wouldn't be overly concerned which entry level position - as you grow in your new career, your positions will change - and maybe in ways you can't currently imagine. If you've started certification prep, it is acceptable to put something in your resume about your pursing a specific APICS certification. When you've earned it, you can change that to earned the certification. An entry level position would help you to start getting the experience you will need to get a better job later.

    Having an APICS Certification is helpful in changing careers, but you'll want to be able to show a prospective employer how you will be able to help them solve company problems and save money and/or increase revenue. In a job search it is never about how you need a job.  It is always about how you might help the company meet its strategic goals - that will take some research about the company to which you are applying.

    Best of luck!


  5. Mohamed mandouh August 28, 2018, 12:27 AM


    i would like to start my career in supply chain from zero 

    i work as sales associate in retail co 

    what do you recommend for me ? 

  6. Vishantini August 05, 2018, 12:18 PM
    Hello... Im Visha... I would like to know how about diploma holders for CLTD... Is it possible... 
  7. 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!


  8. 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
  9. Seema May 25, 2018, 05:20 AM


    Give me details of Six Sigma if any courses you have  

  10. 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,


  11. 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

  12. 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!

  13. 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?

  14. 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;<
  15. 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.


  16. 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.
  17. 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. 

  18. 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
  19. 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 . 

  20. 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.

  21. 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. 

    Leave a comment

    1. New code