How to Become an Operations Manager

Operations Manager Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year $113,350
Avg. Pay / hour $54.50
Education 3-4 Years
Job Outlook 9.1%

An operations manager oversees many of the practical, everyday functions of a business or organization.

This may include things like human resources, policy management, public relations, and logistics.

An operations manager will usually supervise other department heads and is often the go-to person in the event of a company crisis.

To become an operations manager, your best skill will be your ability to communicate well with people from all walks of life.

The people working under you will need to respect you, but also feel that you are approachable.

This can be a hard balance to strike.

Another important skill is time management.

With your job covering so many different facets of a business, you will need to be able to manage your time well and prioritize when necessary.

Education Requirements to Become an Operations Manager

To become an operations manager, you will need a four-year bachelors degree in business, or a similar field.

More importantly, you will need to have quite a bit of work experience behind you before you will be considered for this type of role.

The best major you can have in college is business administration.

A degree in marketing, finance, or accounting, would also be applicable.

Some operations managers have a degree in the field they work in, for instance engineering or communication and then complete an MBA later on.

Operations managers that work for the big companies and demand a higher salary often have a postgraduate qualification, usually an MBA.

If you are currently working somewhere in the business field, and have your sights set on becoming and operations manager, then completing an MBA is a good idea.

There are many study options available, including online degrees which allow you to complete your coursework on your own time.

Operations Manager Job Description

An operations manager’s role is primarily to keep the day to day operations of a business running smoothly.

This consists of overseeing departments like human resources and logistics to make sure that no problems are occurring and, if they are, to fix them in a timely and efficient manner.

Some of the job responsibilities common to operations managers are:

  • Improve operational systems, processes, and policies
  • Hire and fire staff
  • Ensure occupational health and safety standards are being met
  • Ensure IT systems are at their best
  • Ensure financial and accountancy branches are performing well
  • Oversee company budgets
  • Help staff and managers set goals
  • Monitor staff performance indicators
  • Oversee payroll and communicate with staff about salary and promotion
  • Provide staff development and training opportunities
  • Communicate with a range of clients, managers, and employees
  • Communicate with executive director, financial director, and chief executive officer

An operations manager will often be called on to work long hours, well beyond a 40-hour work week.

They may need to work in high stress environments, and sometimes see people at their worst.

Part of the role of an operations manager is not only to oversee current business, but also to be on the lookout for new opportunities.

You may spend time speaking with clients, or looking at new ventures for a company to enter.

You must also be aware of risk management and be looking out for the company’s best interest at all times.

Operations Manager Salary and Career Path

Most who work as operations manager started their careers in other parts of a business.

Some may have worked in a hands-on entry level role and then completed managerial qualifications later on.

Others may have worked at an executive level and climbed the ranks to become an operations manager.

Some operations managers may move on to become CFOs, consultants, work within other sectors of business, or go on to become educators.

The salary for an operations manager will depend on their responsibilities, the size of the company they work for, their level of experience, as well as their qualifications.

The median salary for an operations manager is $123,000 a year.

This position is challenging, but also brings with it a large salary and has many other benefits including working with a variety of people and understanding how businesses are run.

If you’re serious about establishing a career in business, a role as an operations manager may be a good choice for you.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
District of Columbia$156,010
New Hampshire$119,480
New Jersey$164,670
New Mexico$107,260
New York$144,830
North Carolina$117,130
North Dakota$97,470
Rhode Island$135,160
South Carolina$94,700
South Dakota$129,370
West Virginia$86,500
Puerto Rico$77,840
Virgin Islands$88,600

The top earning state in the field is New Jersey, where the average salary is $164,670.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

New Jersey - $164,670
District of Columbia - $156,010
Delaware - $148,920
New York - $144,830
Massachusetts - $141,840
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for General and Operations Managers, OCC Code 11-1021, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an operations manager?

In almost any business, an operations manager is part of upper-level management.

The main aim of the specialist is to make sure that the business is performing to its best potential.

Typically, operations managers do not work with one department; they have to have an overall picture of the company to ensure its success.

Some of the responsibilities of this key figure include administrating the budget; ensuring a steady supply of materials (or whatever it is the particular company needs); adjusting the workflow and closely working with the HR department, and so on.

In large corporations, operations managers can focus on one single department, however, in smaller businesses these specialists may be responsible for supervising the overall functioning of the company.

How much do operations managers make?

The salary of an operations manager will fully depend on the company that he or she decides to work for (as well as the specialist’s overall experience, education level, and location).

On average, the annual wage for an operations manager in the United States is a little more than $52.000.

Throughout the country, specialists typically earn anywhere between $45.000 and $70.000.

However, there certainly are professionals that work for large corporations and earn hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

An entry-level operations manager can expect to earn nearly $22 per hour, while a top-level specialist can make $34 hourly and more.

The highest-paid states for the job are New Jersey, District of Columbia, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York.

How much does it cost to become an operations manager?

As, in most of the cases, an operations manager is part of upper-level management, the specialist has to possess a degree in business administration or a similar field.

Be prepared to pay anywhere between $14.000 and $40.000 (and more) per year of education.

The cost will depend on whether you decide to choose a private or a public university, whether you are an in-state student or not, and on the overall prestige of the school.

A candidate will have more chances to get the job if he or she had completed courses in psychology and organizational behavior (around $11.000-$14.000).

What is the demand for operations managers?

Between 2016 and 2026, the operations manager job market is expected to grow by 9.1% in the United States.

The industry is concentrated in New York, Texas, and California.

Those candidates who possess an MBA or have obtained any certificates related to the field will have higher chances to get employed for the highest-paid jobs.

How long does it take to become an operations manager?

You will be able to earn a bachelor’s degree in business administration, accounting, management or finance in 4 years.

In case you decide to go for a Master of Business Administration or Master of Science in Finance, it will take you between 1.5 and 2 years.

Some companies require the candidates for the position to have at least 3-5 years of experience in the field.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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