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Operations manager training and degree programs

You may be the type of person to get involved in the nitty-gritty or take on tasks that other people do not want to do. Often, this may be a sign you are a team player or even a leader, unafraid of challenges. If you are interested in a career in business and overseeing a variety of operations — which could fall in fields as diverse as daily operations, human management or even policy-making — you may want to consider seeking operations manager training.

Whereas other workers may have just one focus, as an operations manager you may have many different tasks and responsibilities. In the course of just one day, you might be involved with supply, work flow and project management or staffing, hiring, price setting and even overseeing the control room floor. The responsibilities can vary greatly, but you may find many different industries in which to seek work — and you might also find the pay can be rewarding.

BLS fast facts for operations managers

Industries you can work in:

Company and enterprise management; local government; restaurants and dining establishments; scientific or technical consulting; and computer systems design and related services, among others.

Average salary nationwide:

$117,200 as of May 2014. Yes, you read that right! Pay can vary based on things like location of employment, job responsibilities, experience and even the degree type earned.

Job growth:

New jobs for general and operations managers should grow by 12 percent from 2012 to 2022, meaning around 244,100 more employment positions could open up during that time.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

What operations management degrees are there?

Degrees in operations management are available from the undergraduate to the graduate level. Below, more information is provided on some of the degrees that are available to provide you with operations manager training:

Associate degree: In these programs, you can learn how to improve your organization's efficiency, including through improved profitability and cost control. Most programs comprise approximately 60 credits, sometimes more, and take two years to complete. Classes could include:

  • Business Statistics
  • Project Based Accounting
  • Statistical Process Control
  • Supply chain management

A degree like this might be helpful in becoming a cost analyst, production planner or warehouse manager.

Bachelor's degree: Expect to complete about 120 credits and take approximately four years to finish a bachelor's degree in operations management and to build skills related to the operation and analysis of management systems. Classes in one of these operations manager training programs could include:

  • Business Law
  • Cost Estimating
  • Finance
  • Introduction to Business Management
  • Quality Assurance
  • Principles of Management

As compared to an associate degree program, you might complete more foundational business courses and also have the opportunity to take a variety of elective classes. A capstone project may also be required, through which you can tie together your new skills and knowledge. Upon completion, graduates may be able to look for employment in areas such as industrial engineering, production control, quality assurance and more.

Master's degree: Many master's degrees in operations management require completion of 30 credits of graduate level work, or even more. Graduate-level classes are typically more rigorous than undergraduate coursework and may require more reading, more projects, or more time. Often, you need to keep your GPA up to at least a 3.0. Some of the classes you might complete in a master's degree program in operations manager training are:

  • Economic Decision Making
  • Project Management for Operation Managers
  • Quality Management and Continuous Improvement
  • Strategic Management

At this level, you might also be able to complete a learning track, specifically in operations management or, alternatively, in project management. Upon graduation, you could be qualified to work in fields such as distribution, manufacturing, supply chain management, or others.

Also, at this point, you may be able to find MBA programs focused in operations management or even master's degrees with dual focuses, such as operations management and project management.

Doctoral degree: It may be surprising to realize there are doctoral degrees in operations management, typically available in the form of the Ph.D. Often, these programs train you to become a teacher or researcher, or even to come up with needed solutions for operations problems.

Can you get operations management training online?

The short answer is yes, but the longer answer is that you can find a variety of operations manager training programs online and at different degree levels. In fact, operations manager training may be well-suited for online learning since no lab work or clinicals are required like they are in many health care education programs.

You may be particularly able to find a vast number of master's degrees in operations management available online. What is most often needed to be successful with web-based learning is an up-to-date computer with high-speed Internet access and a willingness to be clear and communicative with your instructors and other students online.

Do other majors work?

An operations management degree will be the type of degree to prepare you best for the career. However, there are other degrees that may also enable you to gain job entry and then to build your skills through training or education as you go. Some of these degrees include:

Degree

Why it's relevant

Additional training

Business administration

Provides you with many of the fundamentals relevant to business

May need to take classes in cost analysis, quality control, and supply chain management

Finance

Helps you to understand many of the financial aspects of business, including accounting, economics and statistics

More foundational business and operation training classes could be helpful

Project management

Prepares you to lead various projects; instruction in project management is included in many different business operations degrees

May want to look at obtaining more business and operations training

After graduation

Following graduation, you may want to consider joining an organization, such as the Production and Operations Management Society (POMS). This is an international organization that represents the interest of professionals around the world. Upon joining, you receive the Production and Operations Management journal, discounted registration fees at the annual conference, the POMS Chronicle newsletter, and other benefits. You may also be able to find other related organizations or associations to join.

As well, you might be able to seek professional certification to attest to your skills. Check with both the Institute of Certified Professional Managers (ICPM) and the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS) to see what you might qualify for. Be aware that certification may require testing and/or other steps to show proof of your skills.

Starting an educational path to a specific career goal can be daunting but exciting. Start your search for the right program by browsing a list of schools below.

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Sources:
1. BSBA in Operations Management, Thomas Edison State College, http://www.tesc.edu/business/bsba/Operations-Management.cfm
2. Certification American Production and Inventory Control Society, http://www.apics.org/
3. General and Operations Managers, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes111021.htm
4. ICPM Programs, Institute of Certified Professional Managers, http://www.icpm.biz/?page=icpmprograms
5. Major in Finance, University of Maryland University College, http://www.umuc.edu/academic-programs/bachelors-degrees/finance-major.cfm
6. Masters in Operation Management, University of Alabama, http://bamabydistance.ua.edu/degrees/ms-in-operations-management-online/
7. Master of Science in Operations Management, University of Arkansas, http://msom.uark.edu/5762.php
8. Membership, Project and Operations Management Society, http://www.poms.org/membership/
9. Online Bachelor of Arts in Operations Management, Ashford University, http://www.ashford.edu/degrees/online/ba-operations-management-details.htm
10. Operations Management, Delaware Technical Community College, https://www.dtcc.edu/academics/programs-study/operations-management
11. Operations Management, Oregon Tech Online, http://www.oit.edu/online/degrees/operations-management
12. PhD in Operations Management, Georgia Tech, http://scheller.gatech.edu/degree-programs/phd/phd-concentrations/phd-operations.html

Explore Schools Offering Operations Management Programs