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Materials Planner: Job Description & Career Info

Research materials planner career information. Learn about the job duties, education, and certification requirements and average salaries to make an informed decision about pursuing a career as a materials planner.

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What is a Materials Planner?

Materials planners are responsible for ensuring that appropriate amounts of materials are purchased to complete a project. These professionals receive plans and information from other departments and use this information to determine the necessary materials that will be needed. Materials planners ensure that suppliers deliver the ordered materials accurately and on time. Other administrative tasks vary by employer, but may include inventory management or coordinating supplier payments with accounting or purchasing departments. Materials planners are often expected by their employers to have knowledge of the industry in which they are working and the nature of the materials used in the business.

Education and Certification Requirements

Education

Employers expect materials planners to have at least a high school diploma; however, higher-paid positions often require an associate's or bachelor's degree. Some employers specify desirable majors, which may include business, supply chain management, or finance. In addition, some employers may also want their materials planners to have training in Six Sigma or other quality management protocols.

Certification

Many employers require materials planners to hold some type of professional certification, such as the Association for Operations Management's Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) designation. To earn the CPIM, an individual must have at least two years of on-the-job experience and pass a series of five exams. Candidates for certification are not required to hold a college degree, although those who earn the CPIM designation must complete professional development activities, such as continuing education classes, to maintain their certification.

Salary Levels

Salary.com reported in November 2013 that entry-level materials planners earned a median salary of $49,834. The website also reported that intermediate materials planners earned a median annual salary of $56,409, while senior-level planners earned $68,607 during the same year.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics