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Director of Operations

Education and Training: Advanced degree preferred
Average Salary: $$91,570
Job Outlook: Fair

The director of operations is one of the most important positions in any organization. The director of operations is responsible for overseeing the implementation of strategies and policies to help ensure an organization meets its goals and carries out its mission, whether it is producing products, providing information, or performing another service. The director of operations is the person in charge of the day-to-day operations of businesses, corporations, government offices, nonprofits and other entities. Not only are they in charge of the operations, but they oversee and direct subordinates to carry out the duties needed to complete jobs.

In large organizations, like corporations, the level of responsibilities delegated to a director of operations can vary. Sometimes, the director of operations oversees a number of different departments with lower-level managers reporting to him or her. In smaller organizations, the director of operations could have a number of jobs they are responsible for, including overseeing purchasing, hiring, and supervising staff. Director of operations are responsible for formulating policies, managing daily operations, and planning for the future.

Education and Training Requirements

Directors of operations usually have at least a bachelor’s degree, with many having obtained a master’s degree, too. Business, math, liberal arts, and other classes that will produce a well-rounded candidate are suggested for those wishing to eventually land a director of operations job. Some executives in specialty areas like education may have a doctoral degree in that field.

There is often on-the-job training and company training programs to help lower-level managers gain the skills they need to move into more complicated managerial positions like director of operations.

Getting the Job

Top positions like director of operations are often filled by employees within an organization. These employees usually work at a lower-level management position to gain the experience to be put in charge of a number of different departments and operations. Student internships can help people network into companies and gain experience that may eventually help them move up the corporate ladder. While finding a job can be tough, it is not tough to break into many of the fields that have director of operations positions. However, obtaining a director of operations positions can be difficult because of the intense competition for the jobs.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

There is expected to be little change during the next decade in the job market for director of operations. However, since large organizations need directors of operations and other high-level managers, there will be openings in the field. The healthcare industry is expected to have good employment prospects while openings in manufacturing may diminish. Consolidation, cost-cutting, and other corporate downsizing may also affect the job market for this position.

A director of operations has many career advancement prospects, including moving into chief executive positions, consulting, teaching, and the possibility of moving on to move lucrative positions that are similar in nature.

Working Conditions and Environment

The director of operations works in an office-type setting. The job can be stressful because the position is responsible for many areas of an organization. Weekend work, long hours, and other non-traditional work schedules are the norm, and a director of operations is also expected to attend to most emergencies. There is also pressure to meet all project deadlines and ensure the company meets its goals.

Salary and Benefits

The median salary for a director of operations is $91,750. This salary depends on a number of factors, including size of an organization, location, type of industry, and how long someone has been with a company. The salary range for this position is about $62,900 to $137,000. The director of operations is eligible for a good benefits package, including corporate perks like expense accounts, stock options, and bonuses.

Where to Go for More Information

American Management Association
1601 Broadway
New York, NY 10019
(212) 586-8100

Project Management Institute
14 Campus Blvd.
Newtown Square, PA 19073-3299
(610) 356-4600

World Federation of People Management Associations
1800 Duke St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 535-6035

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesBusiness