Plant General Manager: Job Description and Education Requirements

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

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Plant general managers are usually required to hold a bachelor's degree in a related field. Some positions may consider experienced candidates without a bachelor's degree, while others may require a master's degree. Positions in this field were expected to decline in the coming years.

Essential Information

Plant general managers, or industrial production managers, oversee staff and operations in manufacturing plants. Plants may produce any number of products, from automobiles to plastic equipment. These managers work to ensure that company policies are implemented and goals are met. Typically, managers have a college education in management or related field.

Required Education Bachelor's degree; those with significant industrial experience may sometimes forego formal education
Other Requirements Some experience in a plant setting; various certifications are available
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) -4% (for industrial production managers)*
Median Salary (2015) $93,940 (for industrial production managers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for a Plant General Manager

Plant general managers are in charge of various aspects of the production of goods, and their specific duties often depend on the type of products that are produced. Most managers are in charge of establishing and meeting production goals, developing new ideas to make production more efficient, maintaining quality control, and meeting the needs of their employees. Plant managers may supervise hundreds of employees and be in charge of an entire plant, or they may oversee a specific department within a plant.

General managers often work with the managers of different departments or the plant's administrative staff to implement company policies. They may coordinate with the financial, sales, procurement, and logistics departments to establish budgets and make sure that production goals are met.

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Plant General Manager Education Requirements

Many employers prefer plant general manager candidates who have worked in a manufacturing environment and hold a minimum of a bachelor's degree in management, business administration, industrial technology, or engineering. However, some employers might accept prior plant management experience in lieu of a degree.

Additionally, some employers might seek plant general manager candidates who have completed a master's program in business administration or management. These programs often include coursework in the following subjects:

  • Foundations of accounting and finance
  • Basics of management and marketing
  • Economics courses
  • Strategic management
  • Global issues in business
  • Financial management and policy

Certification Information

There are various voluntary certifications that plant general managers can earn. For example, the Association for Operations Management offers certification in production and inventory management, which requires passage of a skills assessment examination. Managers must complete continuing education courses to maintain certification (www.apics.org).

Additionally, the American Society for Quality offers a Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence certification for professionals who have completed ten years of education requirements or have ten years of experience in the field, with five of those years in a decision-making role (www.asq.org). Professionals also must take continuing education courses to maintain this certification.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the employment of industrial production managers, including plant general managers, is expected to decline by four percent between 2014 and 2024. The BLS also reported the median annual salary earned by such managers as $93,940 in May 2015.

Plant general managers oversee the entire operation of a manufacturing plant. They typically need a degree and experience in manufacturing and management. The median salary for these professionals is about $94,000 per year.

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