BS in Operations Management: The Definitive Guide & Top Schools

Operations management refers to optimizing the efficiency of the administrative and production practices of a business or organization.

The field of operations management (O.M.) is primarily concerned with efficiently converting resources (staff, materials, equipment, and technology) into saleable goods and services – to ultimately maximize profits.

What Will I Learn in an Operations Management Program? (Curriculum)

A Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree program in operations management prepares graduates for rewarding careers in which professionals seek to identify, plan, and strategize in a business or organization regarding:

  • Economies of scale issues.
  • Network structure concerns.
  • Project management.
  • The handling and management of raw materials, work-in-progress, and Inventory levels.
  • Acquisitions of raw materials.
  • Quality control.
  • Cost efficiencies.
  • Maintenance policies.
  • Finding cost-effective, reliable vendors.
  • Delivery of goods to customers in accordance with customer expectations.

Typical classes for students enrolled in a B.A. in operations management include foundational knowledge in the related areas of:

  • Business Law.
  • Economics.
  • Project Management.
  • Supply Chain Management.
  • Understanding global trends.
  • Business Ethics, to name a few.

As noted above, a vital function of the role of an operations manager is concerned with managing inventory – a process known in the business world as Operations and Supply Chain Management (OSCM).

Those students who wish to further specialize in one of the operation management specialties will usually complete a graduate degree in the sector of their choice.

How to Choose a Good Program

Fortunately, there are many on-campus and online Bachelor of Arts degree programs for those interested in a career in operations management.

However, the wide variety of quality programs can make a choice a bit more complicated for the aspiring operations management major.

Remember that each institution of higher learning offering an operations management program will approach the curriculum uniquely – highlighting one or several operations management specialties.

Deciding which program is the best fit will depend on:

  • The reputation of the college/university and the operations management program.
  • The tuition and other expenses.
  • Student-to-teacher ratios.
  • When considering a traditional program, review the campus and its facilities. For online operations degrees, research how the distance-learning coursework is managed.

Take a few moments to check out what current and previous students have to say about the school online.

Select an Accredited Operations Management Program

Accreditation is a type of formal quality assurance process.

Depending on the level of accreditation, Regional or Specialized – either the school or the program will be assessed against pre-established standards.

Regional Accreditation

Regional accreditation is managed by several agencies throughout six regions – managed by the U.S. Department of Education.

Regional accreditation is a critical factor in deciding which operations management program will be most suitable for reaching your career objectives.

Plus, if you plan to transfer to another school, attend a graduate operations management program, or apply for financial aid, accreditation is a requirement.

Specialized Accreditation

Schools and colleges have the option of volunteering for an additional quality assurance process known as specialized accreditation.

Management and business programs – including those focused on operations management by one of these accrediting agencies:

  • The ACBSP is the second-largest business accrediting organization. Accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs primarily focuses on program content and applicable teaching methods.
  • The AACSB is the oldest business accrediting organization.  The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business was initially created to evaluate Ivy League Schools and Public Ivies.
  • The IACBE is a business-related professional organization in the world of business.  The International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education is structured as an organization that accredits business programs at various academic degree levels.

Online vs. On-campus Operations Management Degree Programs

For those students who have limited time or restricted finances, an online operations management degree program can offer tremendous flexibility, reduced tuition, and no costs to travel to/from campus for class.

How Long Does It Take to Earn a Bachelor’s in Operations Management?

An operations management bachelor’s is recognized to be the most traditional route in this field.

An operations management degree, depending on the school and how they organize their semesters, will take 120 to 128 baccalaureate credit units.

For most full-time students, a bachelor’s degree takes four years or eight semesters to complete.

For many entry-level positions in the operations management sector of the business world, a bachelor’s degree is generally considered the most effective degree for entry-level positions.

A BA in operations management degree is also the perfect stepping stone for those looking to earn their graduate operations management degree.

How Much Does it Cost to Get a Bachelor’s in Operations Management?

Education costs have skyrocketed in the 21st century, although there are still affordable programs from which to choose – if you know how to reduce potential costs.

As you consider the many operations management programs available in the marketplace, you will begin to notice that tuition for these undergraduate business-related degrees varies substantially.

To keep educational expenses at a minimum, consider these valuable suggestions:

  • Begin your studies at a more affordable local community college. After you have completed the general education requirements, you then have the option to transfer the credits earned to a four-year school when entering your junior year. Many public schools have education pathways between community colleges and four-year universities within the same state.
  • Tuition for an operations management program offered by a public college or university is typically significantly less than the tuition at private schools. Here is an example – the average annual tuition expense for an in-state student (at a public higher learning institution as an in-state student) was $9,349; however, out-of-state students attending these same schools paid $27,023 per year. To put some perspective on the variance of tuition fees between public and private schools, consider that tuition/fees at a private university is $37,641 per academic year.
  • Look into a B.A. in operations management program that is either offered online or through a hybrid delivered format. These degree programs typically have a reduced per-credit fee, and students can avoid the cost of traveling to and from class. Some degree programs have options for students to study at an accelerated pace – offering another way to reduce education costs.
  • If you have previous work or military experience, inquire with the admissions staff to see if the school offers credit for life/work/military experience.

Remember, if you plan on using federal financial aid to fund your education, be sure the program is regionally accredited because only these programs are eligible for this type of federal financial assistance.

Finally, check with the school and related professional organizations for scholarship opportunities as a way to defray your education costs.

What Can I Do With a Bachelor’s in Operations Management?

An operations manager has skills that can be successfully applied to most sectors or industries, as they are the professionals coordinating the activities of the business – with the ultimate objective of maximizing resources and profits.

In other words, operations managers direct and manage the production, sales, and distribution of a product or service.

The operations manager is also responsible for identifying and implementing strategies to reduce costs and, thus, increase profits.

Consider the following top jobs in operations management, with salary data from February 2023.

Materials Manager

A materials manager is responsible for ensuring the materials and resources needed in production are there on time.

This includes the control, storage, and distribution of various materials, and a materials manager is often a key position in helping a business cut costs.

The average salary for a materials manager was $116,296.

Operations Research Analyst

An operations research analyst is a business or organization problem solver in terms of wasted resources and inefficiency.

They use statistical techniques, data mining, and mathematical modeling to identify wasteful spending and design plans to improve these inefficiencies.

The average yearly salary for an operations research analyst was $54,256.

Project Manager

A project manager is the professional responsible for managing a project from start to finish.

Their responsibilities are varied but include designing a plan to implement tasks, identifying possible risks, and developing strategies to overcome risks.

The average salary for a project manager was $71,025.

Business Operations Manager

A business operations manager is responsible for the coordination of several interrelated departments – with a common end task.

This operations professional’s job responsibilities will vary by company and industry but generally involve cost control, efficiency, and quality control.

The median yearly income for a business operations manager was $79,478.

Should I Get a Bachelor’s in Operations Management?

Operations management is a slice of the business sector focused on efficiently controlling production processes and business operations.

Maximizing profits by balancing revenue and operating costs can be challenging but quite rewarding for those who enjoy what can be complicated detailed work.