Becoming an Operations Manager: Job Description, Career & Salary Info

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What are the pros and cons of an operations manager's career? Get real job descriptions, career prospects and salary information to see if becoming an operations manager is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Career as an Operations Manager

Operations managers oversee the daily operations of a business or organization and have a myriad of duties related to administration and supervision. The following are some pros and cons of the profession to help you decide if it is right for you.

Pros of Being an Operations Manager
Good salary potential (median of more than $97,000 a year)*
A decision-maker within an organization*
Variety of industries to work in (telecommunications, trading, import/export, construction)**
Work in a comfortable environment

Cons of Being an Operations Manager
Managers often work long hours (evenings and weekends)*
High-pressure position*
Will need to advance to this position after years of work experience*

Source: The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics*, Career Builder**

Essential Career Information

Job Descriptions and Duties

Operations managers oversee the operations of such departments as pricing, production and sales; their specific duties may include looking over performance data and supervising staff. Additional duties include hiring managers and department leaders, reviewing contracts and conferring with other heads of the company.

The type and size of the organization plays a big part in an operations manager's job description. For example, some managers may be responsible for planning store layouts, hiring staff, financial reporting, managing information technology and overseeing the company's sustainability plan.

Job Prospects and Salary

The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that from 2012-2022, operations managers could expect to see a 12 percent growth in employment, which as fast as the average for all occupations. It should be noted that employment growth will vary by industry depending upon each industry's individual growth. PayScale.com reported in 2014 that operations managers in the 10th-90th percentile earned a yearly salary that ranged from about $38,000-$96,000.

What Are the Requirements?

It's recommended that operations managers have at least a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration or a related field. While enrolled in a business administration program, students will learn about accounting, statistics, organizational behavior, Web marketing, business law, finance and human resources management. Having a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree could also prove beneficial to operations managers. Some positions also require applicants to have adequate work experience related to the position for which they are applying.

What Employers Are Looking For

Employers may request applicants who are willing to relocate and have adequate experience with certain technologies. Communication and analytical skills, in addition to operation and inventory control experience could also be requirements. The following are examples of job postings from May 2012:

  • A telecommunications company in Florida advertised for an operations manager with extensive knowledge in the latest wireless technology, as well as a familiarity with cell sites and cell site towers. Requirements included prior experience in telecommunications as an operations manager, current experience of the latest in wireless technologies and strong project management experience.
  • A trading company in Reading, PA, advertised for a general operations manager with a hands-on management style. Responsibilities included scheduling, customer relations, inventory control and building maintenance. Applicants were requested to have at least five years of experience, in addition to a bachelor's degree.
  • A construction company in Chicago advertised for an operations manager to ensure excellent customer service, keep in touch with customers to promote sales, solve problems and tend to all supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization's policies and applicable laws. The job also called for some human resources responsibilities, such as hiring and training new employees.

How to Stand Out in the Field

Operations managers who have received the Certified Manager credential through the Institute of Certified Professional Managers may have an advantage in the job market. In order to become certified, individuals must meet certain education and experience requirements in addition to successfully passing exams.

It's also beneficial for operations managers to have specific qualities, such as the ability to communicate ideas clearly, negotiation skills, leadership, critical thinking and time management.

Other Career Paths

Administrative Service Manager

Administrative service mangers create budgets, manage supplies, ensure that a business is operating at maximum efficiency and oversee that regulations and policies are being met. In order to become an administrative services manager, individuals should have at least a high school diploma, but formal training may be preferred. Individuals must also have extensive experience before moving into a managerial role. Payscale.com reported in 2012 that administrative services managers in the 10th-90th percentile earned a yearly salary that ranged from $30,000-$88,000.

Human Resources Manager

Human resources managers hire, train and interview new staff members. They also terminate employees, tend to disputes, work with support staff and help map out an organization's policies. Human resource managers must earn a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration or human resources. In these programs, students will learn about operations management, global business issues and business finance. According to Payscale.com, in 2012, human resources mangers earned a yearly salary that ranged from $36,000-$92,000.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

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    Master's
      • MBA: Project Management
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      • BSBA - Supply Chain Management and Logistics
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      • Associate: Business Admin.
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    Certificate
      • Executive Leader Graduate Certificate
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    2. George Mason University

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    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration: Business Analytics Specialization
      • Master of Business Administration
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    3. Georgetown University

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    Master's
      • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
      • Master of Professional Studies in Sports Industry Management
      • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management
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    4. Northcentral University

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    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Project Management
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    5. Johns Hopkins University

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    Master's
      • Master of Science in Government Analytics
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    6. Herzing University

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      • MBA
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    7. American InterContinental University

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    Master's
      • Master of Business Admin: Operations Management
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      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Project Management
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      • Associate of Arts in Business Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    8. American University

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    Master's
      • Master of Science in Agile Project Management
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    9. Grand Canyon University

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    Doctorate
      • DBA - Management
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    10. Full Sail University

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    Master's
      • M.S. - Entertainment Business
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Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • MBA: Project Management
  • BSBA - Supply Chain Management and Logistics
  • Associate: Business Admin.
  • Executive Leader Graduate Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

George Mason University

  • Master of Business Administration: Business Analytics Specialization
  • Master of Business Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Georgetown University

  • Master of Professional Studies in Real Estate
  • Master of Professional Studies in Sports Industry Management
  • Masters of Professional Studies in Technology Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Project Management
  • PhD in Business Admin - Project Management
  • MBA - Project Management
  • Master of Business Admin - General Business

What is your highest level of education?

Johns Hopkins University

  • Master of Science in Government Analytics

What is your highest level of education?

Herzing University

  • MBA
  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Business Management

What is your highest level of education?

American InterContinental University

  • Master of Business Admin: Operations Management
  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Project Management
  • Associate of Arts in Business Administration

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American University

  • Master of Science in Agile Project Management
  • Master of Science in Measurement and Evaluation

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