Should I Earn an Operations Management Degree?

Operations Management Degree Overview

College student reading notebook
Emma Innocenti / Getty Images. Emma Innocenti / Getty Images

Operations management is a multidisciplinary area of business that is concerned with planning, controlling and supervising day-to-day production and operations of a business. Operations management is a popular business major. Getting a degree in this area makes you a versatile professional who can work in a wide range of positions and industries. 

Types of Operations Management Degrees

A degree is almost always required to work in operations management. A bachelor's degree may be considered acceptable for some positions, but a master's degree is a much more common requirement. Individuals who would like to work in research or education sometimes earn a doctorate in operation management. An associate's degree, coupled with on-the-job training, may be enough for some entry-level positions.

Some of the things you might study in an operations management program include leadership, management techniques, staffing, accounting, finance, marketing, and project management. Some operations management degree programs may also include courses in information technology, business law, business ethics, project management, supply chain management, and related topics.

There are three basic types of operations management degrees that can be earned from a college, university, or business school:

  • Bachelor's Degree in Operations Management - A bachelor's degree program in operations management take approximately four years to complete. Part-time students will need more time and students in an accelerated program can usually earn their degree in only three years. You can expect to complete a core set of general education courses in addition to courses focused on operations management.
  • Master Degree's in Operations Management - A master's degree in operations management will not include general education courses, but will instead be comprised of core courses focused specifically on operations management topics. Some programs may provide the opportunity to choose electives and customize the curriculum to match your career goals. Most master programs take two years to complete, but one-year MBA programs can be found at some business schools.
  • Doctorate Degree in Operations Management - A doctorate degree program in operations management requires research and rigorous study. Doctorate programs in business usually take three to five years to complete, though program length can vary depending on the school as well as your previously earned degrees.

What Can I Do with an Operations Management Degree?

Most people who earn an operations management degree go on to work as operations managers. Operations managers are top executives. They are sometimes known as general managers. The term "operations management" encompasses many different responsibilities and may include overseeing products, people, processes, services, and supply chains. The duties of an operations manager are often dependent on the size of the organization they work for, but every operations manager is responsible for overseeing daily operations.

Operations managers can work in almost any industry. They can work for private companies, public companies, non-profits, or the government. The majority of operations managers focus on the management of corporations and enterprises. However, a large number are also employed through local government.

After earning an operations management degree, graduates could also assume other management positions. They may be able to work as human resources managers, project managers, sales manager, advertising managers, or in other management positions.

Learn More About Operations Management

Learning more about the field of operations management before enrolling in a degree program is a really good idea. By searching out various resources, including people who currently work in the field, you can learn what it is really like to study operations management and follow this career path. Two resources that you may find especially helpful include:

  • APICS - The Association for Operations Management website offers specialized training, internationally recognized certifications, management resources, and networking opportunities for industry professionals.
  • Operations Management Center - The Operations Management Center from McGraw-Hill Companies offers thousands of resources for operations management students, faculty, and professionals. You can find online publications, a video library, news feeds, announcements, operations management software, internet tools, and employment info.
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Schweitzer, Karen. "Should I Earn an Operations Management Degree?" ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Schweitzer, Karen. (2023, April 5). Should I Earn an Operations Management Degree? Retrieved from Schweitzer, Karen. "Should I Earn an Operations Management Degree?" ThoughtCo. (accessed June 4, 2023).