Aspiring plant managers can receive training through associate's and bachelor's degree programs in industrial technology. Both the two-year associate's and four-year bachelor's degree programs combine technical training with courses in business management. Students also get information on some basic engineering principles, and bachelor's degree students may get hands-on experience through design projects.
A high school diploma or equivalent is required for admission and courses from an associate's degree may transfer towards a bachelor's degree. Students who can demonstrate an aptitude for math and science may receive preference. Graduates with a bachelor's degree may decide to continue their education and earn a master's degree in a related field.
Associate's Degree in Industrial Technology
Those who aspire to become plant managers should enroll in an associate's degree program for industrial technology, which may be an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science. These programs cover general education topics as well as specialized training courses in mechanical engineering technology, operations management and industrial technology. Classes commonly offered discuss:
- Introduction to manufacturing operations
- Facilities planning and operations
- Inventory management strategies
- Introduction to systems and cost analysis
- Fundamentals of team management
Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology
Manufacturing or mechanics are a few examples of specialties offered in a bachelor's program. Lessons teach supervisory and leadership strategies, technical engineering theories and real-world applications. Coursework often addresses:
- Technical writing specifications
- Applied electronics and engineering design graphic
- Quality and safety management in manufacturing
- Facilities design and efficient process flow methods
- Human relations and organizational behavior
A bachelor's degree in industrial production management normally leads to a career in manufacturing leadership; however, it can also lead to occupations that have a number of similar duties and responsibilities. In order to qualify for some of these jobs, candidates might need to complete additional courses or training programs. Options include:
- Architectural assistant
- Corporate and industrial trainer
- Manager of inventory control and logistics
- Material handling manager
- Quality control manager
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that employment opportunities for industrial production managers are predicted to decline about 4% during the 2014-2024 decade. Industrial production managers earned a median yearly salary of $93,940, according to the same source as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education Information
There are a number of continuing education options for those who hold an undergraduate degree in industrial technology. Graduate degree programs in related fields are widely available, leading to such titles as Master of Engineering, Master of Science in Industrial Engineering or Master of Science in Engineering and Technology Management. For individuals seeking more career-focused educational programs or professionally recognized certification credentials, organizations like APICS The Association for Operations Management offers a wide variety of courses, seminars and certification exams.
Through hands-on and classroom training, associate's and bachelor's degree programs in industrial technology equip aspiring plant managers the industrial, technological and managerial skills needed to efficiently manage the operations of a manufacturing or production plant.