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Any business that creates a product depends on operations management professionals to ensure that production is efficient and safe. Operations managers wear many hats at work, as they plan, direct, and coordinate production activities. As an operations manager, you will see that quotas and quality standards are met without going over budget, in addition to maximizing personnel efficiency and the return on invested capital, and ensure that production stays on schedule. Operations managers also meet with other managers and financial departments in order to meet the company's goals and develop spending plans, requirements that necessitate solid communication skills. Efficiency is the watchword of any operations manager, and those who pursue this career path should possess a talent for "making something out of nothing" and be able to orchestrate several threads of responsibility while keeping the golden business virtue firmly in mind: make more than you spend.

Operations Management Online Degrees and Career Training

Due to the considerable variance in manufacturing operations, there exists no standard educational path for this occupation. That said, most employers prefer to hire college-educated workers. Typical a business program in operations management include supply chain management, production and inventory, customer service, accounting and finance, and case studies in management. Because operations management techniques can be applied to a wide range of fields, classes may not be focused on individual career paths. As production operations grow more sophisticated and responsibilities increase, educational requirements become more stringent. Higher-level positions often require graduate degrees in industrial management or business administration.

Job prospects for Operations Managers

Graduates of operations management college degree courses may go on to careers in industrial production, or to more specialized careers in production and inventory management. An operations manager may oversee a number of production facilities, which could require extensive travel. Most industrial productions managers divide their time between office settings and production sites, and many work extended hours, especially when production deadlines loom closely. Industrial productions managers held roughly 157,000 jobs in 2006. Operations managers work nationwide, but 80 percent are employed in major manufacturing sectors such as metals, transportation, and computers. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a decline in the employment of operations managers, applicants with pertinent experience and college degrees will have an edge over those less qualified.

Operations Management Salary Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median annual earnings for industrial production managers were $77,670 in May 2006. The practical skills you learn in an operations management college degree program may be preferred or required by potential employers in the field, and those with more impressive credentials are likely to be rewarded with more responsibility and higher pay.

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