Operations Director: Job Description, Requirements & Career Info

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an operations director. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and experience to find out if this is the career for you.

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Operations directors manage the daily operations of a business to ensure effective planning and overall efficiency. They play an important role in the success of a business. Some employers require a bachelor's degree, master's degree, or certification.

Essential Information

Operations directors are responsible for improving the productivity of an organization. Operations directors must manage employees, be a good problem solver, and exhibit leadership qualities. A bachelor's degree in business, finance, management or economics is required for entry into this career. A master's degree, certifications, and many years of experience may be required by some employers.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in business, finance, management or economics
Other Requirements Master's degree, certifications, and 3-10 years experience required by some employers
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 7%* (General and operations managers)
Average Salary (2015) $119,460* (General and operations managers)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Operations Director Job Description

Operations directors develop and implement strategic plans to increase efficiency and effectiveness within a business, organization, or institution. These executives are commonly next in charge after the chief operating officer and chief executive officer. Operations director positions also might be available in middle management or within different branches or departments; these directors generally have the same responsibilities as those in upper management but on a smaller scale.

Although job descriptions for operations directors vary by industry, in general, these workers ensure that a business functions smoothly. Specific duties might include managing supervisory staff, planning budgets, reviewing expenses, cutting costs, monitoring inventory, and looking for new ways to increase profitability. Operations directors also must demonstrate clear knowledge of laws, regulations, and guidelines within their respective industries to ensure compliance with regulatory agencies and organizations. In addition, they might work with unions to negotiate terms or handle grievances.

These professionals frequently go on-site to supervise and evaluate middle management workers. In this capacity, they may field questions and concerns from staff, address problems and shortcomings, and provide insight to streamline business. In doing so, operations managers look to strengthen the business itself and help develop the management team.

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Requirements to Become an Operations Director

Education and Certification

Operations directors typically have at least a bachelor's degree for entry into the field. Acceptable majors might include business, finance, management, or economics. Training in any of these areas should provide future operations directors with the ability to analyze finances, communicate professionally, identify legal issues, and improve productivity.

A master's degree in business administration, supply chain management, finance, or economics might be preferred by some employers and may be required in some industries. Materials covered in these programs build management and analytical skills, which are needed in an executive position. Through graduate coursework, students learn to oversee a staff, make financial decisions, and implement a company's vision.

Even with a degree, promotion to the position of operations director typically requires proven work experience. Employers may request 3-10 years of experience before offering an advanced position. Additionally, employers might seek prospective operations directors with credentials as a Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) or Certified Public Accountant (CPA). The Institute for Supply Management and the American Institute of CPAs offer these respective credentials.

Skills

Employers typically seek operations director candidates with strong negotiation, organization, communication, problem-solving, and leadership skills. Basic computer knowledge in programs like Microsoft Office is necessary, and some employers might require experience with industry specific programs, such as SAP, a business management software. Employers also might look for applicants who have industry-specific experience, such as working as a department head or within a unionized environment.

Career Information for Operations Directors

Although salaries vary substantially by industry and experience, the average salary for general and operations managers was $119,460 in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). The BLS stated that job prospects for general and operations managers expected to grow by about 7% between 2014 and 2024. Industries with increasing growth, such as health care and technology, were expected to have more opportunities than those with declining growth, like manufacturing (www.bls.gov).

Operations directors manage operations, maintain budgets, and oversee projects to achieve the objectives of a business. Education for operations directors may include a bachelor's degree, master's degree, or certification. Employers typically prefer candidates with strong communication and leadership skills, which are often demonstrated through previous experience as a department or union head.

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