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Production Manager: Job Description & Career Info

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a production manager. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs and job duties to find out if this is the career for you.

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A production manager is the supervisor who makes sure a media production stays on schedule whether through hiring or budget management. Those in this position typically have a bachelor's degree in film production but a degree in business management is also viable. This job market is growing as these companies are always on the lookout for strong managers.

Essential Information

Production managers ensure that film, television and theater productions stay on schedule without going over budget. They must understand all aspects of production, both on and off the set. While formal education is available, experience is the most relevant qualification for this position, and most production managers work their way up from a variety of stage and office positions.

Required Education An undergraduate degree in film production or business management
Additional Requirements Several years of work experience
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 9% (producers and directors)
Median Annual Salary (2016)** $76,715 (media production managers)

Sources: *O*Net Online, **Salary.com

Production Manager Career Description

Production managers typically supervise a team that includes the production coordinator and assistant directors. They are responsible for hiring, budgeting, scheduling and handling insurance issues on the set. They must also ensure that the production complies with all safety, guild and union regulations. Production managers typically work with scripted, reality or live television, as well as new media, film or theater production companies.

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Education Requirements

An undergraduate degree program in film production or business management can teach individuals the skills needed to work as a production manager, but experience is necessary to attain most jobs. Film production degree programs cover lighting, equipment, design and business procedures. Some schools provide students with internship opportunities at a production studio.

These programs also teach students the skills required to manage the business aspect of the job. Business management courses typically cover subjects such as economics, accounting, business methods and communications. Graduates may start out as production assistants and work their way up to increased responsibilities.

Career Information

Production managers must be highly organized with strong communication skills and problem-solving abilities. They must also be familiar with budgeting software specific to the film and television industry. While production managers may not need in-depth technical skills, they must understand how each department can affect the budget and the schedule. Production managers must be able to handle many things at once, from hiring crew members and resolving equipment issues to creating daily reports and making sure permits are up to date.

Economic Outlook

According to Salary.com, the median annual salary for media production managers was $76,715 as of 2016. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics includes production managers in the broader category of producers and directors, and these professionals earned $68,440 per year in 2015. Additionally, the BLS reports that producers and directors can look forward to a faster-than-average job expansion of 9% between 2014-2024.

Production managers are the organizers behind a television, film or theater production that supervise, budget and schedule to ensure the production finishes on time and at budget. They typically have a bachelor's degree and can expect median earnings ranging from roughly $68,000 to $76,000 a year.

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