Becoming a Process Manager: Careers, Salary Info & Job Description

About this article
A process manager's mean annual salary is $101,640, but is it worth the educational requirements? Read real job descriptions and learn the truth about future employment to decide if becoming a process manager is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Process Manager Career

A process manager is a type of industrial production manager. They are directly involved in a business' manufacturing and processes. With the rise of manufacturing technology and process data analysis, jobs are often scarce in this highly competitive field. Learn more about the pros and cons of this career ahead.

Pros of a Process Manager Career
Variety of jobs available in a number of different industries*
High salaries, with a 2014 mean annual income of $101,640*
New technologies offer better communication methods*
Process management reasoning and decision making can never be fully automated, limiting the elimination of the position*

Cons of a Process Manager Career
Risk of on the job injury, requiring wearing protective gear in dangerous production areas*
Long work hours; in 2012, 50% of managers worked more than 40 hours a week*
Employment is projected to decline -2% during the 2012 to 2022 decade*
Managing others and working under production deadlines can be stressful*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Career Info

As a process manager, you ensure that products are manufactured on time and according to the budget. Traditionally, production managers oversee quality control and supervise assembly line workers. Modern process managers are usually expected to concentrate on constant quality improvement using specific management techniques such as Six Sigma and Total Quality Management (TQM). In pursuit of quality and efficiency goals, process managers reorganize manufacturing, create employee training programs and experiment with various raw materials.

Job Prospects and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), projects a moderate (-2%) decline in employment of industrial production managers during the 2012-2022 decade. This decline is due to the automation of many production processes and an increase in the amount of overseas manufacturing. According to the BLS, in 2014 industrial production managers earned a median annual income of $92,470. In 2014, the bottom 10% of production managers earned $56,290 a year, and the top 10% $158,170 a year

Career Skills and Requirements

Employers usually require process managers to hold a college degree and have management experience. Typical undergraduate degrees sought in the field include business administration, management, industrial engineering and industrial technology. Sometimes process managers gain their position through promotion. In these cases, the managers develop advanced knowledge of the company's manufacturing and apply that knowledge towards quality management.

Job Postings from Real Employers

Employers often look for educated and experienced process managers with a track record of implementing production strategies, such as TQM and Practical Process Improvement (PPI). They also seek candidates with expert-level knowledge in manufacturing processes and management methods. For an idea of what employers look for, here are some actual listings from the March 2012 job boards:

  • A California biotech company advertised for a process manager with a bachelor's degree in business or technology, five years management experience and the ability to create and implement a PPI production plan.
  • An information technology (IT) company in Illinois was looking for a process manager with experience in IT organization and process implementation. Strong verbal communication and negotiation skills were a must.
  • In Massachusetts, a marketing company needed a process manager to ensure flawless execution of core operations. The company preferred applicants who were Six Sigma or Business Process Management (BPM) certified.
  • A Texas based steel product manufacturer advertised for a process manager with a minimum of two years college or 3-5 years related experience. Duties included diagnosing machinery malfunctions, leading continuous improvement efforts and interpreting company policy to employees.
  • A bottled water company in Arizona requested process management applicants with food manufacturing experience and trend analysis skills. The business required a minimum of 7-10 years experience in the field.

How to Get an Edge in the Field

To put yourself above your competition, you may consider earning a graduate degree in either business administration or industrial management.* Since this is an upper management position, you may end up starting at a mid to entry level position, such as accounting or floor supervisor. Once you're familiar with company policy and production process, you may be promoted to process manager.

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Certifications

The area of process management offers numerous certifications tied to the various methods of quality management (TQM, Six Sigma, PPI, and BPM.). Certifications may be provided by schools, traveling lecturers or organizations. Different levels of certification are available based on education and job performance. To stand out to potential employers, consider becoming certified in quality management.

Other Careers to Consider

Construction Manager

Construction managers are usually self-employed. They oversee a team of professional construction experts and workers. Like process managers, construction managers are concerned with producing final products under the constraints of time and budgets. Construction managers are often trained by spending years in the industry, although some employers require a bachelor's degree in construction science or management. These managers make similar wages as process managers earn; in 2010 construction managers made a mean annual salary of $94,240, according to the BLS.

Management Analyst

Management analysts are concerned with increasing a company's efficiency. These analysts usually work outside the companies they analyze. They typically visit a business on a project basis, research the company and propose profit maximizing solutions. This is a very high growth industry, and the BLS projects employment of management analysts to grow 24% during the 2008 to 2018 decade. These analysts are required to hold at least a bachelor's degree. According to the BLS, in 2010 management analysts made a mean annual wage of $87,260.

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Featured Schools

George Mason University

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

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American University

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

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Northcentral University

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

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Kaplan University

  • M.S. in Management
  • BSBA in Management
  • AASBA in Business
  • Executive Leader Graduate Certificate

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Saint John's University

  • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business

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University of Delaware

  • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Concentration
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Business Administration - Custom/General

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Saint Leo University

  • BA: Business Administration - Management
  • BA: Business Administration - Logistics
  • AA: Business Administration

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Johns Hopkins University

  • MA in Public Management
  • Master of Science in Government Analytics

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