How to Become a Production Manager?

Are you thinking of becoming a Production Manager or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Production Manager, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Production Manager job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

Steps to Become a Production Manager

Production managers handle the logistics of industrial production. They manage the budget, schedule, employees, and logistics of each job. Production managers are also responsible for purchasing equipment, scheduling maintenance, and implementing proper training procedures and health and safety protocols. Throughout each project, the production manager will gather and analyze data on the efficiency of the industrial process. The manager may then develop and implement changes to make the process more cost- or time-efficient. Here are three steps you should follow to become a production manager.

Get a college education.

Though not always required, it's best to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree to become a production manager. Pursue a degree in a related field, such as business administration, manufacturing management, supply chain management, manufacturing engineering, or industrial engineering. It's best to complete coursework in management, accounting, marketing, production analysis, supply chain management, statistics, and computer-aided design to gain a well-rounded education for work in this field.

Some students may elect to continue their education through to a master's degree. An MBA in production and operations management is the most appropriate degree for this line of work.

What type of degree should you pursue to become a Production Manager?

67% of people working as a Production Manager earned a Bachelor's Degree

Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as a Production Manager in the United States.

Gain professional experience.

Your career path toward a job as a production manager may begin at the bottom with a job as a production worker. After gaining experience as a production worker, you would typically advance to a supervisory position. Supervisors who demonstrate their skills in leadership, communication, time management, problem-solving, and efficiency are well-positioned for a promotion to the role of production manager.

With a college education, you may be able to enter the field as a supervisor without first working on the production line. However, if you choose to pursue your education and work experience concurrently, you may find that your employer will reimburse you for some of your educational expenses. For this reason, many prospective production managers choose to start in entry-level roles and gain hands-on experience and a degree at the same time.


Pursue professional certification.

You can increase your employability as a production manager by pursuing professional certification for this position. The American Society for Quality provides a Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence certification. To qualify for this certification, you must pass a multiple-choice exam and have at least 10 years of relevant on-the-job experience, five of which are in a decision-making position. You can waive one year with a diploma from a technical or trade school, two years with an associate degree, four years with a bachelor's degree, and five years with a master's degree or doctorate.

The Association for Supply Chain Management (APICS) offers certification in planning and inventory management (CPIM). For this designation, you must pass two exams within three years of one another. The required information for these tests is available through the APICS CPIM Learning System. This learning system includes easily digestible content segments, informative videos, quizzes, and activities to help you prepare for the exams.

Production Manager Career Path

Production Manager

2 - 4Years of Experience
$57K - $87K /yrAvg. Annual Salary
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Senior Production Manager

2 - 4Years of Experience
Not Enough Salary Reports
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Lead Production Manager

5 - 7Years of Experience
Not Enough Salary Reports
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Salary Trajectory

Production Manager Career Path

Production Manager I
Production Manager
Assistant Manager of Production Management
Senior Production Manager
Production Manager Manager
Lead Production Manager
Assistant Director of Production Management
Associate Director of Production Management
Head Production Manager
Senior Director of Production Management
Vice President of Production Management
Senior Vice President of Production Management

Related careers in the Skilled Labor & Manufacturing Industry

Interested in other Skilled Labor & Manufacturing careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Production Manager skills. Discover some of the most common Production Manager career transitions, along with skills overlap.

Operations Manager
0% skills overlap
31% transitioned to Operations Manager