What Does a Chief Operating Officer (COO) Do? - Responsibilities & Salary

If you're interested in becoming the COO of an organization, read on to find out more about this role. Learn about the responsibilities expected of COOs, along with how much you can earn. Schools offering Global Operations & Supply Chain Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

The chief operating officer (COO) leads and manages a company to success. They are one of the company's top executives and must deliver strategies to assure that an organization meets its targets. Find out more about being a COO in the table below.

Education Required Bachelor's or master's
Education Field of Study Business administration, public administration, law, liberal arts
Skills Required Leadership, management, communication, decision making
Job Growth (2016-2026) -4% (for all chief executives)*
Median Salary (2017) $183,270 (for all chief executives)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Is A COO?

A COO is one of the top executives of an organization. They are generally responsible for a company's daily operations, making key decisions and ensuring efficiency. They often work across multiple areas of business, such as supply chain management, marketing, and accounting, but depending on the size and needs of the organization, the COO may specialize in a certain area. COOs follow the objectives of the company and put these into place using their vision and initiative. They have strong leadership and management skills, guiding an organization to financial and operational success through effective management techniques.

What Does A COO Do?

A COO uses communication and leadership skills to guide a company and its employees toward a vision for success. They focus on operations within a business and work closely with executive and management teams to implement necessary strategies and processes. The COO is usually held accountable for outcomes within a business, whether these are positive or negative, so they are often required to complete or oversee reports on the operating conditions of the organization.

How Much Experience Do I Need?

COOs are experienced managers who almost always have at least five years of experience within a high-level managerial or executive position. They will usually have to demonstrate a wealth of operational and managerial experience to be considered for this role. It is not uncommon for those in this role to hold a master's degree in business or a related field though it is not essential. You should have specialized managerial experience relevant to the COO post you apply for.

How Much Will I Earn?

The BLS reported the median salary in 2017 for all chief executives as $183,270. Those who worked in professional, scientific, and technical services earned a median of $208,000 or more, whereas chief executives working for the government brought home a much lower median salary of $107,130. This role and the type of work can vary greatly between industries and organizations, which is reflected in the recorded salary figures.

What Similar Roles Are There?

Those interested in becoming a COO may also consider the roles of financial or sales manager within a company. The financial manager is responsible for the overall financial health of a company. They are required to hold a bachelor's degree in finance, business or a related field, and earned a median salary of $125,080 in 2017 according to the BLS. Sales managers lead the sales team within a business. They usually require the same level of education as a financial manager, however a high school diploma may be sufficient for some positions. The BLS published the median salary for sales managers in 2017 as $121,060.

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