Operations Management Degree

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What is Operations Management?

Operations management is the area of study and employment that deals with the production side of business, specifically overseeing the use of materials to produce goods and ensuring production lines are cost effective and efficient. Individuals in this field work in the manufacturing side of business, applying business theory and methodology to ensure that production goals are met, costs remain low, and that machines and facets of production are maintained.

Top Operations Management Degrees

Business students looking to grow a career in operations management will need to understand their college degree options.  Overlaying your personal priorities, career goals, and educational objectives with the proper degree is critical to your success.

Graduates with a degree or certificate in operations management will be equipped to launch a career or continue within a leadership role as a team leader, supervisor, quality assurance, operations planning, inventory management, human resources, and materials management.

Below you can find a summary of each degree program along with the online degree equivalent from qualifying colleges and universities.  Degree programs include undergraduate and graduate programs along with certificate options.

Certificate Programs in Operations Management

Online certificate programs and on-campus certificates can be earned in the operations management track.  Undergraduate certificate programs are designed to provide students with entry-level skills in business management to help administer processes in an organization.

Students should be able to apply key business concepts such as inventory control, logistics, quality control, procurement, storage, and work cell management.  Certificate programs are a tight clustering of classes that can take students a few weeks to a year to complete.  Individual colleges and universities will establish the curricular design of each program so make sure to understand the program requirements when requesting school information.

Operations Management Associate's Degree

The online associate’s degree in operations management is a 2-year program for full-time students.  Associate degrees blend general education courses with core classes in business.  Liberal arts classes are intermingled into the curriculum to help provide a balanced learning approach.

Classes typically include statistics, English, philosophy, creative writing, communications, and history.  Core classes in operations management will generally include introductory classes to marketing, materials management, computers, workplace safety, logistics, law, financial accounting, quality management, production planning, economics, and operations management. Associate degree programs are conferred as an Associate of Arts (AA) in most instances.

Operations Management Bachelor's Degree

Online bachelor’s degrees in operations management can be conferred as either a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BS) as a function of the program’s design.  Bachelor degrees are 4-year programs for full-time students with part-time students taking longer to complete.

Both the BA and BS degrees mix general education courses with core business curriculum.  Blending both types of programs provides students with a well-rounded education and a set of holistic thinking skills.  Curriculum in bachelor degree tracks for BA and BS degrees will effectively differ from school to school.

However, most schools will include the following type of classes in the core program: principles of management, supply chain management, management science, project management, Six Sigma quality management, production management, and management of service organizations.  The bulk of bachelor degree programs will require students to take a capstone course along with a school-approved internship.

Operations Management Master's Degree

An online master degree in operations management can be conferred as a Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Science (MS), or a Master of Arts (MA).  The school’s curricular design and program emphasis will determine the nature of the degree being awarded.

Master degrees will take 2-3 years to complete for most students and focus heavily on preparing students for managerial positions in business.  Core classes at the graduate level will vary by school but generally include similar courses.

Typical upper-level classes in operations management include: financial management, managerial accounting, multinational corporations, global entrepreneurship, corporate finance, international trade, market strategies, negotiations, supply chain management, economics, financial reporting, advanced operations management, organizational design, and human behavior.

Operations Manager Requirements

At minimum, a degree in business administration or operation management is required for individuals to be considered for employment. Larger businesses or managerial roles that require complex systems to operate may require a higher level degree in order for consideration, generally offered as a concentration when one is seeking their master's of business administration degree.

An education in this field will provide students with a fundamental understanding of business as well as in depth understanding of the various types of systems and models that may be used when constructing a supply chain for the purposes of manufacturing.

Individuals will also learn to manage others, oversee production lines, and how to test for efficiency and manage costs.   A curriculum in operations management may include:

  • Accounting for Management
  • Managerial Economics
  • Organizational Design
  • Production Planning and Control
  • Business Management
  • Information Systems
  • Scheduling & Production
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Manufacturing Operations
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Quality Assurance

Employment in Operations Management

Individuals in this field will primarily work for large businesses or firms that are responsible for the production of goods. Operations managers will work closely with production teams and fabrication specialists.  They are tasked with supplying data and reports to ensure team members are notified of variations in production and operational goals.

Upper management will work toward developing policies and methodologies regarding production to support strategic goals.  Examples may include an increase in production, expense reduction, and raw materials being used.  All told, the entire production team must be unified for an organization to effectively meet their monthly and quarterly goals.

Operations Manager Salary

The median salary for an operations manager is $100,410 a year.  Income will vary by industry, job scope, occupation type, and education.   The overall employment for operations managers is expected to remain steady over the next decade at a hearty 9% growth.  A nine percent gain in employment is effectively an additional 210,700 jobs added to the economy in the coming decade.  Expect the competition for high paying managerial jobs in every sector of the economy to be stout.

Resources for Operations Managers

Individual interested in operations management may also wish to consider a career in business administration, project management, organizational leadership, customer service management, or organizational psychology.  Likewise, APICS and POMS provide managers with additional tools, training, and resources outside academia that may prove beneficial to graduates.  Additional associations of interest include:

  • American Management Association (AMA)
  • Institute of Certified Professional Managers (ICPA)
  • International Public Management Association (IPMA)
  • National Management Association (NMA)
  • Operations and Performance Management Professionals (OPMP)

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Career Summary: Operations management Major




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