Operations managers can make themselves useful across virtually every industry. From start-up companies to consulting, government and scientific firms, these managers often have a significant amount of responsibility and can be regarded as top decision-makers within their companies. In some cases, their duties might even overlap with those of chief executive officers. A degree in operations management can provide the necessary education for someone hoping either to enter the field or to obtain a similar position, perhaps as a construction manager, compliance officer or production manager.
We used our in-house methodology to analyze data points such as graduation rate, tuition costs and acceptance rate gathered by the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). From this study, we bring to you our list of the 10 best online colleges for operations management. If you're curious about our methodology, you can find more details at the bottom of this page.
Online colleges for operations management prepare students for the demands of the field through a variety of courses that cover topics such as project management, leadership and human resources management. Prospective students can learn more about these programs on this page, which includes information about coursework and the skills they can obtain from completing this degree.
The coursework that is required for operations management programs depends on the specific school students enroll in, as well as the degree level they choose. The following are examples of courses students may find in an operations management degree program.
Operations management professionals are responsible for the overall daily operations of public organizations and private companies. This tremendous responsibility requires many duties, which in turn require many skills to be performed properly. The following are some examples of the skills graduates may want to focus on during their education to be prepared for a career in this field.
In order to advance in their careers, operations management professionals may choose to validate their expertise by earning a certification. These credentials are offered through several industry associations that satisfy the needs of operations managers, including the following organizations.
As long as there are people working, there will be a need for managers to coordinate and supervise them. Job openings can vary widely based on location and funding, but here are a few particular areas that you might want to consider.
Frequently heading up the "IT" department, computers and information systems managers take the lead roles on important IT tasks. Any disaster that requires a panicked call to IT is probably going through these managers. The network is down? The servers are overheating? Need to secure data, deploy upgrades or even develop a server failover plan? These managers are the go-to people: prioritizing problems, deploying their team to fix them efficiently, then looking ahead to predict and prevent a new batch of emergencies.
For those interested in computer and information systems manager careers, a day in the life of a manager varies tremendously, particularly when an emergency arises. Typical duties involve recommending possible upgrades to company systems, planning the installation and maintenance of computer hard- and software, planning and directing the work of other IT professionals they work with and more.
Whether it's producing parts for a car — like tiny electronic chips embedded into "smart" vehicles — or cranking out snacks — like the delicious chips that go into kids' lunchboxes — industrial production managers focus on end numbers and ensure that production output meets demand. It's never a dull day for an industrial production manager who has to keep a close eye on operations, write reports, analyze numbers, hire employees and make decisions about overtime.
Sometimes called "plant managers" or "quality control systems managers," these professionals should also be prepared to interact with several other areas of management. Coordinating with employees, other managers from other departments, and representatives from other companies such as suppliers and salespeople.
More than a box of nails and a nail gun are required to become a construction manager. The ability to see the big picture is important for those seeking construction manager careers. While these managers may get hands-on for the job, they also oversee operations, take a look at progress and ensure that plans for construction are being followed. The middle man between the architects and the laboring team, these managers handle challenges that arise as a result of inclement weather, delayed materials, unrecorded water pipes or an unexpected badger sett on the build site, to name a few.
Construction manager careers could be right for people who like to see projects through from beginning to end and who are skilled at managing people. The job can also involve interactions with lawyers and local city inspectors, in order to ensure that their building projects are in line with local ordinances.
Although this field sounds abstract, logisticians actually have very down-to-earth jobs. They are the people who ensure that products get to where they need to be, whether that's Guatemala or right next door. For anyone interested in logistician careers, the field is literally about transporting specific things to specific places.
Logisticians have many different considerations to weigh, with timelines, production scale, delivery and even consumer demand fighting for front-and-center. And, while many logistician jobs are available in manufacturing, positions can be found in federal government, wholesale trade and enterprise management, too.
A bachelor's degree is typically needed for logistician careers, although an associate degree may be accepted. Industry certification can be a way to build skills and to seek new job opportunities.