Every organization needs talented people to handle the nuts and bolts of their operations. Whether it is a nonprofit delivering goods and services to tragedy-stricken regions, or a private company supplying labor to distant sites, strong leadership helps the organization run smoothly and meet contractual obligations. Operations managers oversee production, distribution, and hiring to ensure that all aspects of one department meet the requirements of the others. Operations managers work for both nonprofit and private organizations, government entities such as the military, and even religious organizations. Operations managers are responsible for decision-making, project planning, supply chain effectiveness, and human resources.
Degree Options in Operations Management
The variety of operations management positions ensures that there are many career paths to a leadership position in operations. One of the best ways to get started is to pursue a degree program in management & leadership with a specialization in operations management. Associate's degrees are available in operations and supply chain management. These programs expose candidates to coursework in contracts, negotiation, business administration, and strategic planning. A bachelor's degree in applied business or operations management allows students to develop more specific skills in certain industries. Many MBA programs offer concentrations in operations and supply chain management. The coursework is more advanced and deals with issues such as international trade and law, quality control, and systems analysis. A recent informal study by the Education Resources Information Center showed that a graduate degree in management could add up to $5,000 a year in salary.
Salaries and Operational Management
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts demand for operations managers to remain steady and to match the job growth in other occupations over the next ten years. Projected salaries depend largely on the industry in which you work. Private sector salaries tend to be more generous, and even recent economic stagnation has not changed that trend too much. The median average salary for operations managers in private enterprise was $77,040 in the last year in which polling data was taken, 2007. Operations managers in state and local government made slightly less, averaging $68,410 and $67,050, respectively. There is a lot of variation between industries as well, with financial industries trumping retail.
Choosing a Growth Industry for Career Advancement
With global business relationships growing more complex every year, the role of operations management is expanding in many vital industries. Such issues as subcontracting and performance-based procurement require that managers in leadership positions be properly educated. Industries as diverse as defense, agriculture, textiles, and information technology maintain operations in multiple countries. Production and distribution are often separate entities, but can be more efficient when managed in concert. Nonprofits are providing more and more opportunities for those with the career training and education to be effective managers in this modern economy. Government agencies also require many employees in operations management and look for candidates with the appropriate qualifications.