Fully online and hybrid operations management degree programs are widely available at the bachelor's and master's levels. Bachelor's degree programs include both general education core coursework and business classes providing an overview of operations, production, logistics and management, applicable across industries. Master's degrees become more specialized, and online learners can seek out programs specific to their industry or role in a company's operations management.
While the majority of the coursework and group discussion for online operations management degree programs is offered online through course management portals, some programs may require students to be on campus for labs, exams or orientations. Class discussion may take place at a scheduled time or through asynchronous means such as forums.
Bachelor's Degree in Operations Management
Operations management focuses on improving productivity and quality in an organization. Degree candidates learn team management principles and how a supply chain, logistics and transportation affect a business. They also learn about business functions, such as accounting, finance and marketing. Some programs offer courses in globalization, environmental regulations or specific management methodologies, such as lean management.
Program Information and Requirements
Degree requirements combine of general education and business classes, including 7-13 courses in management operations, 6-12 in accounting and finance and 1-4 in information technology. Some programs include classes that require students to be on campus for lab work. Class participants typically communicate with their instructors and peers through online course management software.
To get assignments, read lectures and communicate online, a computer that's up-to-date with an Internet connection is needed. Also required is a Web browser, e-mail and office software for spreadsheets, word processing and presentations. Students may need to install plug-ins, such as Java, Shockwave or Adobe Reader.
In their first two years of study, degree candidates take general education classes and business classes. Operations management classes usually begin in a student's third year.
Operations Management Fundamentals
Students learn about the operational areas within an organization. Concepts such as horizontal and vertical integration, push versus pull and economies of scale are discussed. The class learns how forecasting and scheduling can improve workflow and productivity.
Analyzing Business Operations with Statistics
This course introduces statistical concepts and models to make operations and business decisions. Participants learn methods for data collection, problem-solving and analysis. Other concepts covered are regression methodologies, sampling and elementary probability.
Maximizing Production Workflow
Focusing on improving business processes, this course covers flow-charting, streamlining, bench-marking and documenting processes. Students learn methods to measure efficiency and reduce bureaucracy and waste. This class also reviews current quality and process trends, such as Total Quality Management and Six Sigma.
Master's Degree in Operations Management
An online master's degree program in operations management is usually designed for a working professional with a baccalaureate degree. This program teaches the skills, methods and tools used to manage projects, people and work processes within an organization. Subjects can include economic decision-making, project planning, human behavior analysis, supply chain management, quality management, operations research and business systems technology. Classes on calculus, financial accounting and statistics may be recommended.
Program Information and Requirements
Pursuing an online operations management master's degree part-time usually takes 18-24 months. Some schools may require participants to be on-site for orientation or testing. Access to lectures and assignments is usually provided through the school's website. Online course management software can include e-mail and discussion forums that allow degree candidates to fully participate in an online class.
For a positive online learning experience, most schools recommend an up-to-date computer, Web browser and an Internet connection. E-mail might be provided through the school. Standard office software for spreadsheets, presentations and word processing may be necessary.
At the master's level, common operations management subjects may be taught alongside courses providing a special emphasis, such as information systems or supply chain management.
Supply Chain Operations
Students learn how to analyze, design and manage supply chains in information, facilities, transportation and inventory. Students use spreadsheets and other tools to analyze case studies. The roles of information technology and electronic commerce are also discussed.
Business Information Systems
This class covers operations management information technology, from spreadsheets to complex applications. Students learn how to use logical modeling methodologies and their own observations to create requirements for business systems. Also included are topics in data resources, networking and information security.
Project and Operations Scheduling
Scheduling courses require that degree candidates understand the balance of cost estimation, activity sequencing, control methods, time-cost trade-offs, manpower hours, technology and budget restrictions. Participants learn how negotiation, conflict management and team building can help organizations reach their scheduling goals.
Individuals who can configure and streamline a company's operations can work in an organization's manufacturing, production control and quality assurance departments. Job titles include operations manager, supply chain manager and general manager. PayScale.com reported that in November 2019, most operations managers earned between $41,000 and $102,000. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted 10% job growth for operations specialties managers from 2018-2028 (www.bls.gov).
Graduates with master's degrees in operations management have learned how to use analysis and quantitative tools to make high-level decisions about distribution, manufacturing, logistics, transportation and supply chain management. These graduates are often qualified to pursue job opportunities with more responsibilities and a higher salary. PayScale.com reported that as of November 2019, most vice presidents of operations earned between $73,000 and $199,000. Chief operating officers made between $71,000 and $246,000. The BLS expected 6% growth in the number of top management jobs from 2018-2028.
Continuing Education Information
The Association for Operations Management provides certification in supply chain management or production, as well as inventory management. Graduates can also continue their academic education with a Doctor of Philosophy in Operations Management program. These Ph.D. programs are not common wholly online, though some hybrid programs may exist.
Online degree programs in operations management can be found at the bachelor's and master's levels. Fully online options are available; however, students may be required to take labs and exams on site for some programs.