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Operations Management Careers

Operations management deals with the management and design of supply chains, services, processes, and products. It considers the utilization of resources, their acquisition and development that firms need to deliver goods and services to their clients. In short, operations management is at the heart of an organization.

What do operations managers do?

Operations managers plan and direct the operations of a business. They coordinate various activities related to production and also ensure quality of products. Policy making and administration of different routine operations may also be a part of their job.

Operations management specialists’ salary

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), general and operations managers earned a median yearly salary of $95,440 in 2012. Their job growth is expected to take place at the rate of 12% faster than the average job growth for all other occupations from 2012 to 2022.
It is however pertinent to mention here that these figures reflect the salary and job outlook of senior-management officials with advanced degrees and years of work experience, and not the entry-level operations managers.

Operations Management Careers

A career in Operations Management can be challenging, exciting and fulfilling. Operations management careers may be available in both public and private sectors:

  • Research corporations
  • Manufacturing companies
  • Government agencies
  • Airlines
  • Insurance companies
  • Banks
  • Hospitals
  • Retail establishments

Fresh graduates are hired in both line and staff positions. Entry-level job positions in line are usually titled as operating personnel or supervisors of production. Entry-level staff positions that may be available are:

  • Project managers
  • Quality control specialists
  • Materials managers
  • Operations analysts
  • Production planners
  • Master production schedulers
  • Business analysts

Business analysts:

They are also known as management consultants or analysts. They are responsible for improving an organization’s efficiency. These professionals also advise managers on how to increase profits by reducing costs. Business analysts, typically hold a bachelor’s degree in business, economics, management, marketing, finance, accounting, etc. A majority of business analysts are hired by technical consulting, scientific, and management services. BLS reports that business analysts with less than 5 years work experience earned a median yearly income of $78,600 in 2012.

Operations research analysts:

They hold at least a bachelor’s degree in operations research, physics, mathematics, computer science or engineering. A master’s degree in the same disciplines can enhance their employability. They help organizations investigate complex issues, identify and solve problems. Some of them are employed in finance and insurance sectors, while others work in manufacturing, healthcare, computer systems design and related sectors. According to BLS, operations research analysts with no work experience and a bachelor’s degree earned a median yearly salary of $72,100 in 2012.

Production planners:

They are also known as production, planning, and expediting clerks. They follow production schedules and expedite and coordinate the flow of work and materials within an organization. They compile reports on progress of work, production problems, costs, and inventory levels. Furthermore, production planners confer with department supervisors to determine progress of work and review and distribute shipment, work and production schedules. A bachelor’s degree may help learn about complex problem solving, judgment and decision making, coordination, writing, monitoring, critical thinking, time management, speaking, reading comprehension and active listening skills. According to O*NET OnLine 2013 statistics, production planners earned a median yearly salary of $44,630.

Material managers:

They are also known as purchasing managers. They plan and direct the activities of purchasing officers, buyers and those involved in purchasing materials, services and products. These include procurement managers and retail trade or wholesale merchandizing managers. Material managers must at least hold a bachelor’s degree. Those with decision making, time management, persuasion, negotiation, management of personal resources, communication, critical thinking, and coordination skills may be able to excel as material managers. According to O*NET OnLine 2013 statistics, material managers earned a median yearly salary of $103,780.

Operations management programs

There are a number of degree programs that can potentially help you to pursue a career in operations management. Some of them include:

  • Bachelor of Science in Operations Management 
  • Master of Business Administration - Operations Management 
  • PhD in Operations Management

Some of the courses included in these programs are: 

  • Economics 
  • Transportation management
  • Business management
  • Negotiations
  • Purchasing
  • Hazardous materials
  • E-commerce 

You can choose to earn a degree in operations management through campus-based programs or distance learning programs.


States with the highest employment level in this occupation:



Employment per thousand jobs

Location quotient

Hourly mean wage

Annual mean wage

California 16600.111.2618.1337720
Florida 11300.141.6817.9737370
Illinois 9600.161.9217.937240
Texas 7600.070.7816.6234570
New York 6500.070.8520.1241840


Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:While reading on the operations management jobs, there was mention of the course on Principles of Accounting. What are the contents of this course?

A:It is common to get to read about the course on Principles of Accounting while going through the Operations Management jobs. This course is worth 3 credits in total. It is designed to offer students with substantial understanding of the founding principles of financial accounting as well as the more advanced level skills of accounting. Hands on experience is also provided.

Q:What kinds of jobs can I pursue to initiate a successful Career In Operations Management?

A:There are many job positions available in the field of operations management. These include the job position of a operation research analyst, operations manager, quality assurance manager, facilities coordinator, materials manager, and purchasing manager. Operations management refers to the day to day functioning and operations of business organization, such as checking inventory, reordering, contacting suppliers etc.

Q:Can you tell me about operations management career opportunities?

A:There are varied operations management career opportunities as they are highly valued. Having a specialized degree can give you the edge. Organizations are always in need of professional staff that can manage the operations in an efficient manner and add value to the business. With a degree you can get jobs as a supply chain manager, logistics manager, consultant, production manager or industrial manager.

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