How to Become an Inventory Control Specialist

How to Become an Inventory Control Specialist: Career Path Guide

If you want to become an inventory control specialist, you first need to determine if this career path is well suited to your skills and interests. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as an inventory control specialist:


• You are highly organized and pay close attention to detail

• You enjoy work that involves documenting and communicating procedures

• You are skilled at balancing the needs of having adequate inventory, while ensuring there is not excess

• You have an excellent understanding of the supply chain process

• You are able to organize items by broad and specific classifications

• You are excellent at building professional relationships with employees and vendors

• You want to have a direct impact on the financial success of your employer


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as an inventory control specialist. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become an Inventory Control Specialist

The educational requirements for becoming an inventory control specialist vary based on the size and type of the employer, the other qualifications of the candidate, the level of experience of the candidate, and other factors.


You may qualify for some inventory control specialist jobs with only a high school diploma, although many employers prefer to hire candidates for inventory control specialist jobs that have an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in Business, Accounting, Inventory Management, Logistics and Supply Chain Management, or a related field.




Inventory Control Specialist Job Description

An inventory control specialist, also known as an inventory management specialist, is a business administration professional that is responsible for maximizing an organization's profit, with regards to inventory, by keeping track of the movement of an organization’s products, as well as monitoring orders, deliveries and shipments.


Inventory control specialists must oversee the movement of inventory units, within a single location or between multiple locations, in order to prevent inventory levels from becoming too high (as this ties up capital, and causes inventory to become obsolete with time), or from becoming so low that the operational needs of the company cannot be met.


Competent and efficient inventory control specialists are also concerned with controlling the various costs associated with the inventory: the total capital invested in the inventory, the tax burden created as a result of the cumulative value of the inventory, the administrative costs of maintaining excessive inventory, and other costs.



Inventory Control Specialist Job Duties

• Oversee the accurate monitoring, ordering and storage of inventory

• Supervise receiving staff during deliveries, or receive deliveries directly 

• Confirm that delivered goods match purchase order specifications of quantity, condition, model number, etc.

• Adhere to strict accounting procedures when inputting essential data on all materials handled

• Recruit, hire, train, supervise and support inventory control clerks

• Liaise with shipping and receiving managers to ensure the necessary items are in stock

• Develop and implement comprehensive inventory policies and procedures in order to properly manage the flow of supplies and merchandise

• May take inventory manually and enter orders in a computer system on an as-needed basis (in smaller companies)



Who Creates Jobs for Inventory Control Specialists?

Inventory control specialists are employed by small, medium and large organizations that maintain an inventory. They are mostly hired on a permanent, full-time basis by the following types of organizations:


• Municipal, provincial/state and federal government departments

• Supply chain management consulting companies

• Construction and manufacturing companies

• Medium and large retailers

• Small, medium and large distribution companies

• Hospitals and health care institutions

• School boards

• Colleges and universities



Getting Certified as an Inventory Control Specialist

Many employers do not require inventory control specialists to be certified, although becoming certified is recommended, as it demonstrates that you have the knowledge base and competency necessary to do the job effectively. It also demonstrates your commitment to the profession.


The Association for Operations Management (APICS) offers the Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) designation to qualified candidates who successfully complete a comprehensive examination. This certification is recognized internationally.



Experience Needed to Become an Inventory Control Specialist

The level of experience needed to become an inventory control specialist is entirely determined by the employer, and may vary from job to job. Some inventory control specialists may enter the role immediately after graduation, while others may have to first work entry-level jobs in logistics, procurement and inventory, or as junior-level or assistant inventory control specialist.


Those that are hired into entry and junior-level positions typically have to complete a period of on-the-job training prior to earning senior-level responsibility. This training allows the employee to gain experience in areas such as reading stock numbers, counting inventory, entering information into a computerized record-keeping system, managing outgoing inventory, purchasing raw materials, and other areas.




The Importance of an Effective Inventory Control Specialist

Inventory managers are important for small and medium organizations that maintain an inventory, as their control over inventory prevents losses that arise from the unreliable and inefficient oversight of the constant flow of units into and out of an existing inventory. Organizations that employ effective inventory managers will be able to:


• Maintain a wide assortment of stock, while not spreading the rapidly moving ones too thin

• Increase inventory turnover without sacrificing the level of service

• Striking the proper balance of stock: avoiding unnecessary stock, while having enough to fulfill needs

• Make volume purchases to keep pricing low, while avoiding unnecessary inventory



Skills Needed to Become an Inventory Control Specialist

In order to become successful in a career as an inventory control specialist, you need to posses a certain set of technical and interpersonal skills. These skills will help you make the most of your career as an inventory control specialist by allowing you to perform your job duties with competence.


It is important to note that the skills required of an inventory control specialist may vary by size and type of employer. For example, an inventory control specialist that works for a small company that distributes snack foods to convenience stores will need a slightly different skill set than an inventory control specialist that works for a large company that manufactures oilfield equipment.


Below we have listed general skills that are in high demand with various employers of inventory control specialists; you will see many of these skills, or variations of them, listed on inventory control specialist job postings:


• Able to understand mathematical conversions

• Able to organize items by broad and specific classifications

• Able to establish and maintain effective working relationships with other employees and vendors

• Able to perform minor equipment repair

• Able to direct the work of others

• Able to accurately write and document inventory procedures

• Strong project management skills

• Excellent understanding of the supply chain process

• Able to balance the needs of having adequate inventory, while ensuring there is not excess

• Proficiency with MS Office

• May require skill in the operation of specialized equipment, such as forklift operation



Inventory Control Specialist Jobs

Our job board below has "Inventory Control Specialist" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Inventory Control Specialist Salary

The income level of inventory control specialists can vary depending on their personal qualifications, the size and type of their employer, the specific responsibilities of their job, and many other factors.


There is no reliable salary information available specifically for the occupation Inventory Control Specialist, however we can get a good idea of what they earn by looking at the salary level of closely related occupations.


Inventory Control Specialist Salary Alberta: According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working in the Purchasing Agents and Officers occupational group earn an average of between $26.31 and $41.97 per hour.


Inventory Control Specialist Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadian workers in the Purchasing Agents and Officers occupational group is $48,351 per year.


Inventory Control Specialist Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Logisticians occupational group is $72,780 per year.



Careers Similar to Inventory Control Specialist

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Inventory Control Specialist, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities:


Media Buyer

Operations Manager

Procurement Manager

Quality Control Specialist

Supply Chain and Logistics Manager



References: How to Become an Inventory Control Specialist

Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as an Inventory Control Specialist.


Wages & Salaries in Alberta:Purchasing and inventory control workers.” (February 20, 2017). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved December 27, 2019.

Logisticians:Business and Financial.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved December 27, 2019.

Please Note: Much of the information for this career guide was gathered from actual job postings, which due to the brief nature of their online presence, are not listed here as sources.



Scholarships for Becoming an Inventory Control Specialist

Scholarships in Canada and the United States listed for majors that apply to becoming an Inventory Control Specialist can be found on our All Scholarships by Major page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



How to Become an Inventory Control Specialist: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming an Inventory Control Specialist. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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