Director of Operations: Job Description & Requirements

The director of operations, known in larger organizations as chief operations officer (COO), oversees the day-to-day activities of a company, usually at the direction of the chief executive. A master's degree in business administration is a typical educational background for operations management officers. Read on to learn more.

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Job Description for a Director of Operations

A member of upper management, the director of operations ensures that a company's everyday activities run smoothly. These professionals often set parameters to judge how efficiently and effectively the organization is operating. Most of their time may be spent reviewing and evaluating business procedures ranging from office expenses to real estate assets. Accordingly, directors of operations may be responsible for overseeing the work of other upper-level management executives.

Duties for a Director of Operations

Duties for a director of operations vary considerably depending upon the company. For example, while most directors of operations oversee manufacturing, purchasing, and sales departments, some directors may also be responsible for targeting specific areas in which a company may need to improve operational efficiency. This may include monitoring revenue margins and worker productivity, as well as implementing new directives for growth. These professionals may also be responsible for setting guidelines for personnel evaluations, recruitment, and advancement.

Requirements for a Director of Operations

Aspiring directors of operations are generally required to have at least a bachelor's degree in business, finance, or a related field. Candidates may look to four-year colleges and universities to acquire training in these fields. Classes typically cover principles in accounting, taxation and asset allocation. Some programs may require students to take courses in organizational behavior, business management, and macroeconomics.

Master's Degree

While some employers may accept applicants who have significant experience in operations, others may prefer candidates who have also earned an advanced degree like a Master's in Business Administration (MBA). MBA programs usually last one to two years and delve into topics ranging from finance to healthcare administration. Students at this level may also specialize in specific industries or fields like energy or supply chain management.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

Depending on the size of the company and specific job duties, a director of operations might be categorized by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) as an operations manager or a top executive. The employment of general and operations managers was projected to grow by almost five percent between 2010 and 2020, while top executives will see job opportunities increase by about the same.

The BLS published the median annual salary earned by general and operations managers as $95,440 in May 2012. According to PayScale.com in November 2013, directors of operations earn between $45,606 and $161,011, on average.

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