Operations Management Careers

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in operations management. Read on to learn more about career options along with education and salary information. Schools offering Global Operations & Supply Chain Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Careers Are Available in Operations Management?

Operations management could be a general term to apply to careers involving industry, general operations or management. Industrial production managers will most likely oversee the work and workers within a corporation or industrial company and write production reports. They will take charge of not only the employees but the machines being run as well. Operations managers may have similar responsibilities but usually cover the day to day operations of the work. Management analysts work with executives in looking at data and statistics to determine the most effective means for the success of the company or project.

Of the various careers available in operations management, you might be an industrial production manager, an operations manager, or a consultant such as a management analyst. The following chart provides an overview of the education, job outlook and average salary in this field.

Industrial Production Manager Operations ManagerManagement Analyst
Degree Required Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's or master's degree
Education Field of Study Business administration, engineering, manufacturing Operations management, human resource management, finance Finance, business administration, operations management, project management
Certification and Licensure Optional certification through the American Management Association (AMA) Optional AMA certification Optional AMA certification
Key Responsibilities Plan production and procedures, oversee production Negotiate with vendors, purchase inventory, hire and train personnel Study organizational structure and operations, advise management on cost effective procedures
Job Growth (2014-24) -4%*7% for all general and operations managers* 14%*
Median Salary (2015) $93,940*$97,330* $81,320*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is an Operations Manager?

The work you perform as an operations manager will depend on what kind of industry or organization you work for, as well as its size and structure. For example, working for a small to medium-sized manufacturing company, you might be responsible for planning production, negotiating with vendors, customers and suppliers, hiring and training personnel, purchasing and inventory planning, as well as other supply-chain planning and management.

In a larger organization, you might be in charge of just one department or division, such as logistics or plant production operations. Many companies today are developing more complicated supply-chains, which offers new opportunities in this segment of operations. Strategy and planning are also important as companies become more competitive in global markets.

If you are entrepreneurial, once you have gained enough experience to demonstrate expertise in your field, such as accounting or management, you could choose to start your own business or become a consultant. By sharing your knowledge with other companies, you could help them improve their productivity and profits.

What Training Will I Need?

Depending on the industry, you may need at least a bachelor's degree in a field such as business, finance or engineering. Your courses could include math, business, management, operations management, finance, statistics, manufacturing and inventory planning, project management and purchasing.

Student internships may be available, offering valuable on-the-job experience as well as improving your chances for future employment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many companies offer training programs as well as ongoing seminars for their personnel (www.bls.gov). These are good opportunities to become better informed with issues in your industry, as well as network with other professionals.

Pursuing a master's degree program, such as the Master of Business Administration, may prepare you for career advancement. Certification and other professional credentials, like those offered by the American Management Association (AMA), are not required for employment or advancement. They can provide skills and training for professional development.

How Much Can I Earn?

According to the BLS in 2015, the median annual salary for general and operations managers was $97,330, and the median was $93,940 for industrial production managers. Management analysts earned a median of $81,320 in 2015. Your salary may vary based on your industry. For example, operations managers who worked in local government earned an average of $96,570 in the same year.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Many related careers in this field require a bachelor's degree to start. These jobs could include construction managers, budget analysts, and human resource managers. Construction managers work with a team to work from the planning stages to the final construction of a building project. Budget analysts use research and studies to estimate costs and pursue the most effective means to reach budget goals for a project or company. Lastly, human resource managers take care of recruiting, interviews and hiring of employees and acts as the go to representative of employees when complaints arise.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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