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How to Become a Production Manager: From Raw Material to Finished Products

The individuals who supervise the day-to-day operations of manufacturing and other related facilities are production managers. They are responsible for ensuring the overall quality of the finished product. Most production managers work full-time and split their working hours between the actual place of production and an office. Over three-quarters of production managers work for the manufacturing industry. Long hours are common, and a production manager might be called in on evenings, weekends or holidays to deal with emergencies. Join the ranks of these professionals who coordinate workers and machines by becoming a production manager.

Production Manager Education Degree Requirement

Most employers ask that production managers have a four-year degree in industrial engineering or business administration. As manufacturers and manufacturing processes are becoming consolidated, a larger number of employers are requiring production managers to have a graduate degree in industrial management or a graduate business degree (MBA). Depending on the student’s background, a graduate program can usually be completed in two to three years. Graduate programs both in industrial management and business typically have a practicum component where you might have the opportunity to apply the skills you have learned in the classroom to real world environments. This experience can be useful in your future employment search.

During your degree program, you may take courses such as manufacturing processes and facility layout, service processes and waiting lines, lean manufacturing, demand management and forecasting, and aggregate sales and operational planning. In addition to your internship and classwork, good interpersonal and leadership skills might be advantageous for communicating with employees in numerous departments and motivating both team members as well as front line workers. Time management skills may are useful for organizing projects and meeting deadlines. Because production managers need to be able to identify issues in the production process and solve them quickly, strong problem solving skills may also be helpful.

While not generally required by employers, earning certification can show dedication to the field and progress in your experience. The Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CIPM) designation is offered by the Association for Operations Management.

Becoming a Production Manager: Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for production managers are expected to grow slower than average in the coming decade. The need for organizations to coordinate the work efforts of humans and machines will likely form most of this growth. The median annual wage for production managers was $88,190 in 2011. The lowest 10% of production managers earned less than $53,130 while the top 10% had wages exceeding $148,670. A production manager might advance by moving into a more specialized aspect of production such as supply chain management or secure a position at a larger organization.

A large number of current production managers are projected to retire in the next few years. Therefore, while new job growth for production managers will not typically be as high as that of other industries, the employment market will generally remain favorable for those who have at least a four-year degree in business administration or industrial management as well as experience in the field. If you would like to put your organizational skills to use in your career, learn more about how to become a production manage. Search for schools today!

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Project Management Colleges in Your Area

California Intercontinental University

CalUniversity is an established distance education institution of higher learning dedicated to the study of Business Administration and Management. Through quality online degree programs offered in subjects from business to healthcare and information technology, CalUniversity promotes, critical thinking, and the discovery of new knowledge for the benefit of all thriving and diverse business communities.

Florida Technical College

Florida Technical College was founded in 1982 to provide post-secondary training in specialized business fields. FTC offers both associate degree and diploma programs in today's fastest growing occupations, such as medical assistant, business, paralegal studies, medical administrative assistant, network administration, programming, and computer drafting and design.

Kaplan University

Why Kaplan University? Kaplan University offers a broad selection of programs that address the career goals of working adults from a variety of professional disciplines. Our emphasis is on real-world knowledge and skill development, and we offer programs from which students learn concepts and techniques they can use to take control of their professional destinies.

California College San Diego

California College San Diego offers fast, career-focused degree programs in healthcare, business and information technology. The goal of the college is to quickly and conveniently prepare you to become a competent professional to enter a career in your chosen field.

Northcentral University

Advance to a higher degree with NCU and enhance your ability to solve problems, think critically and reflectively, conduct research, and communicate effectively in today’s diverse global environment.


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