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How to Become an Operations Manager

A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at CTU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.

Qualified operations managers are expected to be in demand as businesses expand throughout the U.S. Opportunities for general and operations managers are projected to grow from 5% to 8% through 2024.1 This growth may be seen across a variety of industries, including business enterprises, retail trade, service industries, management and technical consulting, government and manufacturing.1,2 As a result, individuals with the proper education and training have the opportunity to pursue a rewarding career that best fits their skills, knowledge and interests.

Skills and Characteristics

The specific duties or responsibilities of each operations manager may vary depending on the industry. In general, this position requires a general understanding of business operations, human resources (HR) and management techniques. 1

Operations managers are required to plan, direct and coordinate the activities of public or private organizations, and they tend to deal with staff and different departments of a business. As a result, active listening skills and social perceptiveness can be valuable. An operations manager may also want to have the ability to coordinate the tasks of others and monitor or assess the performance of staff to make improvements in their organization.1, 2


Though it depends on the organization hiring, a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration may be a good starting point for those interested in a career as an operations manager. Professionals looking to advance within their existing career may benefit from a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or Master of Science in Management (MSM) with specialized experience.3 Some MBA programs offer concentrations which may include Management, Human Resource Management, and Supply Chain Management. Additionally, MSM program concentrations relating to business operations can range from Management to Organizational Leadership.

MBA or MSM programs may require certain core courses, such as those offered by Colorado Technical University (CTU), which can include Applied Managerial Finance, Applied Managerial Marketing, Leadership and Ethical Decision-Making, and Organizational Behavior. Each master’s program can provide students the opportunity to further develop managerial and decision-making skills.

Certifications and Licenses

Professional and prospective operations managers have several certifications and licenses available to them. Many of these programs offer training in supply chain, logistics and operations management.4, 5

An organization dedicated to supply chain education and certification programs is the American Production and Inventory Control Society (APCIS). Programs offered by the APCIS include Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) and Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP).5 The CPIM program demonstrates internal supply chain business operations knowledge, whereas the CSCP promotes effective management of global end-to-end supply chain activities.6,7 . Each certification is different; however, both have the potential to increase a professional’s skill set and better serve the needs of a supply chain workforce.

Job Market for Operations Managers

The job market for general and operations managers is projected to grow in the next several years.8 According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 2.1 million general and operations employed throughout the country in 2016.2

The states with the highest employment level in this occupation in 2016 included California, Texas, New York, Illinois and Georgia. Additionally, the industries with the highest levels of employment for general and operations managers were in business, restaurants and food service, management consulting, local government, and computer systems design.2

Alternative job titles for a general or operations manager can include business manager, facilities manager, operations director, production manager or store manager.1

What to Expect on a Day-to-Day Basis

There are many industries and organizational environments where an individual can explore a career. The daily tasks of operations managers vary depending on the organization, but typical responsibilities can include:1, 3

  • Formulating policies
  • Managing daily operations
  • Overseeing purchasing of materials and equipment
  • Logistics management to ensure machinery and equipment can produce goods and meet the goals of the organization
  • Budget management
  • Overall operational management, including resource management and supply chain management
  • Managing relationships with third-party services, including security, administrative assistants and office conveyance
  • Overseeing hiring within the department
  • IT service and resource management
  • Human resources

Since the responsibilities of an operations manager are broad and overarching, a professional may want to excel at time management, coordination and multitasking. To ensure the entire organization functions properly, staff schedules may need to be developed, monitored and adjusted regularly.1 When an operations manager is successful, an organization as a whole has the potential to function at a higher level, which may make for a rewarding career.

Earn Your Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree at CTU

Colorado Technical University offers several degrees for individuals interested in business and management careers. These programs are designed to provide a real-world scenario-based education and reflect industry-relevant trends, theories, applications and practices. Learn more about CTU’s business and management degrees.

1. “General and Operations Managers.” ONet Online. Retrieved from: (Visited 9/27/17).
2. “Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2016: 11-1021 General and Operations Managers.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from: (Visited 9/27/17).
3. “Business Operations Manager,” U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved from: (Visited 9/27/17).
4. “APICS Overview.” American Production and Inventory Control Society. Retrieved from: (Visited 9/27/17).
5. “Credentials & Education.” American Production and Inventory Control Society. Retrieved from: (Visited 9/27/17).
6. “CPIM.” American Production and Inventory Control Society. Retrieved from: (Visited 9/27/17).
7. “CSCP.” American Production and Inventory Control Society. Retrieved from: (Visited 9/27/17).
8. “Bright Outlook Occupation: 11-1021.00 - General and Operations Managers.” ONet Online. Retrieved from: (Visited 9/27/17).

For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended this program, go to CTU cannot guarantee employment or salary. Not all programs are available to residents of all states. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.
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