What is a Director of Operations?
Directors of operations, often known as chief operations officers or chief operating officers in large organizations, are typically charged by the chief executive to oversee and manage an organization's day-to-day activities. To ensure the smooth performance of a company, a director of operations needs to possess excellent communication and delegation skills. The pathway to becoming a director of operations typically means getting a degree in business and accruing experience.
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree; MBA|
|Degree Field(s)||Business or finance|
|Experience||Operations experience required|
|Key Skills||Exceptional leadership, management, delegation, business, finance and communication skills|
|Mean Annual Salary (2017)*||$123,460 (General and Operations Managers)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Director of Operations Job Description
Large companies and organizations need a highly capable person with outstanding business, leadership and communication capabilities to plan, coordinate and manage their operations. The person they choose to do this is a director of operations. These key people in an organization's management structure constantly review and evaluate business procedures, involving expenditure and assets, including those in senior management positions.
What Does a Director of Operations Do?
The day-to-day duties of a director of operations will vary greatly from company to company. They can be in charge of overseeing the operation of every department such as purchasing, sales, research and development, human resources and manufacturing, or they may specialize in specific areas of an organization that are in need of attention. Areas of evaluation and potential improvement include employee productivity and revenue margins, all of which a director of operations hopes to optimize to increase overall profitability.
Requirements for a Director of Operations
Budding directors of operations will generally need to obtain the minimum of a bachelor's degree in a business or finance-related program from a four-year higher education institute. They will often also need to get an advanced business degree. This gives potential employers confidence that candidates have the training and preparation needed for such a demanding role. Relevant bachelor's degree programs will typically include courses that cover topics such as business management and strategy, taxation, marketing, economics, accounting and organizational structure.
MBA programs generally last from 1-2 years and, while they build on the core subjects mentioned above, there is more chance to specialize in one area such as healthcare or supply chain management. Tuition and fees for MBA programs come in at around $40,000 per year (in-state) at a mid-range public college to $75,000 at some of the more prestigious private colleges.
Once the necessary qualifications have been obtained, aspiring directors of operations should accumulate relevant work experience in supervisory positions in the industry or department of interest. This could be as a plant manager or finance manager, for instance. An individual will need to spend a number of years moving up the ranks, with increasing levels of responsibility, so that they can be perceived as a credible candidate for a director of operations role.
Director of Operations Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that in 2017 the mean salary for general and operations managers is $123,460. The mean salary for chief executives in the same year was $196,050. There is no specific data from the BLS about predicted job growth for operations managers but growth for top executive positions is predicted to be 6% between 2018 and 2028.