Operations Manager Career Guide

Job Description:
  • Plan, direct, or coordinate the operations of public or private sector organizations, overseeing multiple departments or locations.
  • Duties and responsibilities include formulating policies, managing daily operations, and planning the use of materials and human resources, but are too diverse and general in nature to be classified in any one functional area of management or administration, such as personnel, purchasing, or administrative services.
  • Usually manage through subordinate supervisors.
  • Excludes First-Line Supervisors.

Operations Manager Salary 2024

National Salary Data for Operations Managers

This bar graph shows the annual salary for Operations Managers.

U.S. Salary in 2024

Annual Median Salary: $98,100
Hourly Median Wage: $47.16

Data sourced from O*NET Online, provided by the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics wage estimates.

Projected Employment for Operations Managers

Job Growth Projections

This line chart shows the projected job growth over 10 years for Operations Managers.

Projected Job Openings for s by 2031

Projected Growth Rate in Job Openings by 2031: 7%

Data sourced from CareerOneStop, provided by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Typical Tasks for Operations Managers

  • Direct administrative activities directly related to making products or providing services.

  • Direct and coordinate activities of businesses or departments concerned with the production, pricing, sales, or distribution of products.

  • Review financial statements, sales or activity reports, or other performance data to measure productivity or goal achievement or to identify areas needing cost reduction or program improvement.

Technologies and Skills Used by Operations Managers

Customer relationship management CRM software

  • Oracle Eloqua
  • Salesforce software

Data base user interface and query software

  • Blackboard software
  • Yardi software

Enterprise resource planning ERP software

  • Microsoft Dynamics
  • Oracle PeopleSoft

Basic Skills

  • Keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements
  • Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions

Problem Solving

  • Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it


  • Changing what is done based on other people's actions
  • Understanding people's reactions

How To Become a Operations Manager

Becoming an operations manager involves a mix of education, experience, and skill development. Aspiring professionals should focus on building a strong foundation in business practices, leadership, and specialized knowledge relevant to their industry of interest. Here's your guide to stepping into the role of an operations manager.

Education and Qualifications

To start off on the right foot, you'll want to pursue relevant educational credentials:

  • Bachelor’s Degree: Most employers look for candidates with a bachelor's degree in business administration, operations management, or a related field. Courses in these programs often cover topics such as project management, supply chain management, and organizational behavior.

  • Master’s Degree (Optional): For those aiming at higher-level positions or wanting to deepen their expertise, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a master's degree in operations management can be beneficial.

  • Certifications: Consider obtaining professional certifications to enhance your qualifications. Certifications like the Certified Operations Manager (COM), Project Management Professional (PMP), or Six Sigma Green Belt can demonstrate your commitment and expertise to potential employers.

Gain Relevant Experience

Operations managers typically need several years of experience. Here's how you can accumulate it:

  • Entry-Level Positions: Start in roles such as operations assistant, supervisor, or any position that gives you insight into business processes and operations.

  • Cross-Functional Experience: Seek opportunities to work in different departments, such as finance, logistics, or human resources, to gain a holistic understanding of how the company operates.

  • Leadership Roles: As you progress, take on leadership roles that allow you to manage teams and projects. This will help you develop the necessary skills to oversee an organization's operations.

Develop Essential Skills

To excel as an operations manager, focus on developing the following skills:

  • Leadership and Management: Learn how to motivate teams, delegate tasks effectively, and make strategic decisions.

  • Problem-Solving: Be adept at identifying problems quickly and using analytical skills to develop and implement solutions.

  • Communication: Hone your ability to communicate clearly and effectively with team members, stakeholders, and senior management.

  • Time Management: Master the art of managing your time efficiently to balance multiple projects and priorities.

  • Technical Proficiency: Stay up-to-date with industry-specific software and tools that are essential for streamlining operations.

Networking and Professional Development

Engage with the professional community:

  • Professional Associations: Join organizations such as APICS (Association for Supply Chain Management) or The Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) for networking opportunities and resources.

  • Conferences and Workshops: Attend industry conferences, workshops, and webinars to keep up with the latest trends and best practices in operations management.

  • Mentorship: Find a mentor who is an experienced operations manager. Their guidance can provide valuable insights into navigating your career path.

An effective operations manager must be knowledgeable about changes in their field:

  • Keep abreast of technological advancements that could affect your company's operations.
  • Follow market trends that influence supply chain management and operational efficiency.
  • Understand regulatory changes that impact your industry.

By following these steps, you'll be well on your way to becoming an operations manager. Remember that continuous learning and adaptability are key in this dynamic career path. Focus on building a strong foundation of education, experience, and skills development while staying connected with the professional community.

Operations Manager Career Path FAQ's

What is an Operations Manager?

An Operations Manager is a key figure in any organization, responsible for overseeing and coordinating daily operations to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in meeting company objectives. They play a crucial role in managing teams, improving processes, and driving business performance.

What qualifications do I need to become an Operations Manager?

To become an Operations Manager, you typically need:

  • A bachelor's degree in business administration, operations management, or a related field.
  • Relevant work experience in operations, management, or a supervisory role.
  • Strong leadership and communication skills.
  • Knowledge of industry-specific regulations and operational standards.

Some positions may also require a Master's degree in Business Administration (MBA) or related areas for higher-level management roles.

How can I advance my career as an Operations Manager?

To advance your career as an Operations Manager, consider the following steps:

  • Gain experience in various aspects of operations through on-the-job learning.
  • Pursue further education or certifications such as Certified Operations Manager or Project Management Professional (PMP).
  • Develop strong leadership and strategic thinking skills.
  • Stay updated with the latest industry trends and best practices.
  • Network with professionals within your industry.

What are the typical responsibilities of an Operations Manager?

Typical responsibilities of an Operations Manager include:

  • Overseeing the production of goods and/or provision of services.
  • Ensuring that operational processes are efficient and effective.
  • Managing quality assurance programs.
  • Coordinating with other department heads to align operations with overall business strategy.
  • Supervising, hiring, and training staff.
  • Managing budgets and forecasts.

What industries employ Operations Managers?

Operations Managers are employed across various industries including:

  • Manufacturing
  • Retail
  • Healthcare
  • Logistics and transportation
  • Technology
  • Hospitality
  • Financial services

Each industry requires a specific set of skills and knowledge tailored to its operational demands.

What is the job outlook for Operations Managers?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics{.noopener noreferrer}, employment of operations managers is projected to grow at an average rate compared to all occupations. The demand for skilled managers who can improve efficiency and productivity is expected to sustain job opportunities in this field.

What are the potential salary ranges for Operations Managers?

Salaries for Operations Managers can vary widely based on factors such as:

  • Industry
  • Geographic location
  • Years of experience
  • Level of education

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics{.noopener noreferrer} provides up-to-date information on wage estimates for operations managers across various industries and locations.

Can an Operations Manager work in any type of organization?

Yes, almost every organization requires operations management at some level. Whether it's a small business or a multinational corporation, nonprofit or government agency, there is a need for individuals who can ensure that the business runs smoothly and efficiently.

What skills are important for an Operations Manager?

Key skills for an Operations Manager include:

  • Strategic planning and forecasting
  • Problem-solving and analytical thinking
  • Leadership and team management
  • Communication and interpersonal abilities
  • Knowledge of industry-specific software and tools
  • Time management and organizational skills

To stay current with trends affecting Operations Management:

  • Attend industry conferences, workshops, and webinars.
  • Subscribe to relevant trade publications and journals.
  • Join professional organizations such as APICS or the Institute for Operations Management.
  • Participate in online forums and networking groups.
  • Engage in continuous learning through courses and certifications.

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