Operations Director Careers: Job Description & Salary Info

About this article
The median annual salary for operations directors was about $97,270 as of May 2014. Read on to see job postings listed by real employers and learn about the job outlook for this career.
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The Pros and Cons of an Operations Director Career

Operations managers, a title that encompasses operations directors, are needed in virtually every industry. Read the following pros and cons to determine if working as an operations manager is right for you.

Pros of Working as an Operations Manager
Better than average pay ($97,270 in May 2014)*
May work in many industries*
Graduate education isn't required*
Opportunity to advance to board positions*

Cons of Working as an Operations Manager
Strong competition for positions*
Can be stressful*
Sometimes requires long hours*

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

Essential Career Information

Job Description and Duties

The job duties of an operations manager might vary with the industry you work in. Generally, you would be responsible for outlining organizational or departmental goals and developing protocols to see those goals are met. You might also be in charge of planning the use of materials and human capital, which may include preparing budgets, evaluating company performance and negotiating with vendors. You could also be responsible for writing departmental policies, planning sales promotions, setting prices for consumer goods and performing market research.

Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), operations managers earned a median annual salary of about $97,270 as of May 2014 (www.bls.gov). The highest-paid professionals in this position earned upwards of $149,000. Commodities and securities exchanges, financial investment, securities brokerage and scientific research were the industries that offered the highest salaries to operations managers.

Career Outlook

The BLS reported an expected employment growth rate of twelve percent between 2012 and 2022. This average growth is mostly due to new companies forming and old companies expanding. Additionally, you can expect to run into stiff competition, since these positions pay well and are associated with prestige. The industries with the highest levels of employment for operations managers include enterprise management, local government, restaurants, technical consulting and computer systems design.

Career Requirements

Education

The minimum educational requirement for operations managers is usually a bachelor's degree in business or the area in which your organization specializes. Bachelor's degree programs in business administration usually take about four years to complete. You could take classes in subjects like accounting, information systems, finance, business theory and business law. Other areas of study may include entrepreneurship, human resources management, leadership and economics.

Skills

Operations managers must be adept communicators and motivators in order to lead teams of people and to effectively convey goals. You must also be good with math, since preparing budgets and performing financial analyses are often part of the job. Other valuable qualities include social perceptiveness, active learning and complex problem solving.

Job Postings

Employers seeking operations managers are usually looking for job candidates with experience in the industry in which they operate. While many employers require a bachelor's degree, specific jobs may have unique requirements. The following job postings were listed in May 2012:

  • A North Carolina consulting firm is seeking an operations manager to coordinate functional tasks and review data. Since this company often works with military firms, experience in military leadership is required.
  • A large industrial and manufacturing company is seeking an operations manager for their San Jose location. Monitoring the inbound and outbound processes of the supply chain is one of the responsibilities for this position. A bachelor's degree and four years experience are required.
  • A Washington, D.C. transportation company is looking to hire a recruiting operations manager. The duties of this position include the recruitment and training of new talent. Previous experience in recruiting and the ability to make good decisions are required.

How to Beat the Competition

While some employers will hire job candidates with a bachelor's degree, you could improve your chances of employment by earning a master's degree in business. For example, you could pursue a Master of Business Administration degree program with a concentration in operations management. This is a terminal degree in business that could qualify you for many executive or upper-level management positions, including operations manager. Another option is to join a professional organization. Business managers may join the American Management Association, which offers seminars and job search services.

Alternate Careers

Engineering Manager

If you'd rather study engineering than business, consider pursuing a career as an engineering manager. Professionals in this field are responsible for planning, directing and overseeing projects at engineering firms. Similar to operations managers, these positions typically require candidates to have significant experience in the industry. The BLS predicts that employment opportunities for architectural and engineering managers were expected to increase nine percent from 2010-2020. In May 2011, the BLS reported that these professional earn a median annual salary of $122,000.

Computer and Information Systems Manager

If you're interested in a management position related to computers, you may consider becoming a computer and information systems manager. These professionals plan, develop and implement an organization's technological strategies. This could include establishing information technology goals, setting up computer networks or determining technology budgets. A bachelor's degree and experience are typically required. The BLS estimates that employment opportunities for this profession are expected to increase 18% from 2010-2020. As of May 2011, the BLS indicated that these professionals earned around $118,000 annually.

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Bryant & Stratton College

  • General Management (GM) - BBA
  • AS - Business
  • Business Assistant Diploma

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Grand Canyon University

  • D.B.A. Innovation and Corporate Entrepreneurship (Qualitative Research)
  • MBA and MS in Leadership (Dual Degree)
  • Bachelor: Applied Management

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Purdue Global

  • MBA: Project Management
  • BS in IT - Supply Chain Management
  • Associate of Applied Science in Small Group Management
  • Professional Focus + Google Project Management Certificate

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Liberty University

  • Doctor of Business Administration: Accounting
  • Doctor of Business Administration: Executive Coaching
  • CTG: Business Administration

What is your highest level of education?

Full Sail University

  • M.S. - Entertainment Business
  • B.S. - Music Business
  • B.S. - Sports Marketing and Media

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Penn Foster

  • Career Diploma - Small Business Management

What is your highest level of education?

Saint Leo University

  • DBA: Business Administration
  • MBA: Supply Chain Global Integration Management
  • BA: Business Administration - Project Management
  • AA: Business Administration

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Penn Foster High School

  • HS Diploma

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