Although there are more than 1.7 million operations managers working in the industry today, operations managers are still in high demand in just about every area of business or organization. These top executives are needed to help formulate policies and direct the overall operations of businesses and corporations, public-sector organizations, non-profit institutions, and other organizations. In many organizations, operations management professionals have some of the same duties as chief executive officers (CEOs).
As you may have already guessed, big titles come with big responsibilities and even bigger salaries. The average operations management professional (or CEO) earns more than $145,600 per year. General operations managers earn an average salary of $91,570 per year. CEO “perks” averaged more than $360,000 in 2008, and it is not uncommon to find operations managers or CEOs that earn in excess of $1 million.
To become an operations manager in the U.S. you will have to earn an MBA. You can earn your operations management MBA online or on-campus, the choice is yours. An online operations management MBA will allow you to hold a full-time job in the field, in order to gain valuable experience and skills, while completing your advanced degree. Many traditional colleges now offer all or part of the MBA degree online and there are also dozens of business schools that operate solely online. These online schools offer MBA programs with concentrations in operations management, human resources, labor relations, finance, and more.
Whichever format you choose, there are a number of things to look for in a quality operations management MBA program. First, the program must be accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (Ed.gov). The following agencies are the top accrediting agencies for business schools:
-Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB)
-Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)
-Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)
-Distance Education and Training Council (DETC)
Regional accrediting agencies are also acceptable. These include:
-Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
-New England Association of Schools and Colleges
-North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
-Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
-Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
-Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Besides accreditation, check the schools MBA operations management curriculum. It should cover the areas of advanced accounting, business strategy, economics, finance, human resources, marketing management, manufacturing and production, operations management, statistics, and technology and information systems. Operations management courses should include teamwork basics, project management, designing and improving operations, enterprise resource planning systems, quality management, and manufacturing strategy.
Admissions requirements should include a transcript request, graduate record examination (GRE) test scores, and recommendation letters. The school should also require a statement of purpose or essay and other supporting materials that demonstrate leadership ability and the desire to succeed.
When you are ready to begin looking for a traditional or online program, try searching through directories and college review sites such as the Princeton Review. You can also use popular search engines such as Bing, Ask or Google if you don’t mind searching through hundreds of relative results. Good luck!