How to Become a Plant Manager

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plant manager job description

For those who have an interest in becoming a plant manager, there are many opportunities in the fields of Environmental, Safety, and  Occupational Health Management to explore this career opportunity. It’s essential that you understand what manufacturing plants require before making a firm decision, though. Therefore, we’re going to look at the job description, as well as how to become a plant manager and the expected salary of a plant manager.

Expected Job Duties for a Plant Manager Role

The people who must organize and watch over the daily operations of a manufacturing plant, as well as similar organizations, are plant managers. It’s their responsibility to oversee efficiency and production, the employees, and to ensure the plant consistently runs efficiently, quickly, safely, and smoothly.

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Under some circumstances, the plant manager manages entire locations. However, it isn’t uncommon that a plant manager oversees individual sections of the operation. To maintain optimal operation, plant managers will assign workers, create work schedules, develop production schedules, and hire and train new staff.

They’ll also collect and analyze new data to determine where waste could be occurring or where improvement could occur. The plant manager is also responsible for keeping an eye on plant and worker safety, monitoring the production equipment to ensure it remains in optimal working order, and repair or replace equipment as it becomes necessary.

The last line of defense is the plant manager regarding quality control each time manufactured items leave the plant. They maintain constant communication with other departments or sections of the plant to ensure all operations are running smoothly.

What Kind of Education is Best for a Plant Manager?

Plant managers are responsible for overseeing the production and maintenance of a manufacturing plant. As such, they need to have a strong understanding of the operations and processes involved in running a plant. To be successful in this role, it is important for plant managers to have an education that equips them with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively manage a manufacturing facility. Many plant managers build from their on the job experience, but a management career can go much farther with a degree.

Manufacturing management is the process of planning, organizing, and controlling the production and delivery of products from raw materials to finished goods. It involves the coordination of people, machines, and materials to ensure that a product is produced efficiently and cost-effectively. Manufacturing management requires knowledge in areas such as quality control, logistics, inventory management, supply chain management, and production scheduling. By utilizing these skills in an organized way, manufacturers can increase their efficiency while reducing costs.

Good college majors for a plant manager would include manufacturing business management, industrial engineering management, and/or industrial technology. These majors will provide the necessary skills and knowledge required to manage a successful manufacturing plant.

Manufacturing Business Management: A manufacturing business management degree is an excellent way to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to become a successful manager of a manufacturing business. With this degree, you will learn how to effectively manage production processes, develop quality assurance systems, and create efficient cost-saving strategies. You will also be able to apply your knowledge of supply chain management and operations research techniques in order to optimize production planning and control. With a manufacturing management degree, you will be well-equipped with the necessary tools for success in this field.

Industrial Engineering Management: Industrial engineering management is a specialized field of engineering that focuses on the efficient use of resources and technology in industrial settings. It involves the application of principles from engineering, operations research, economics, and management to optimize production processes and systems. Through its application, industrial engineers can help companies achieve greater efficiency in their operations while reducing costs and increasing profits. Industrial engineering management is an important tool for businesses looking to stay competitive in today’s global market.

Industrial Technology: Industrial technology majors are a specialized field of study that focuses on the application of technical and engineering principles to industrial processes. These majors prepare students for careers in manufacturing, product design, supply chain management, and other related fields. Industrial technology majors learn how to design and develop systems, analyze data, manage projects, and optimize production processes. They also develop skills in problem solving, communication, project management, and business operations. With the rise of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics in the industrial sector, industrial technology majors are well-positioned to take advantage of these opportunities.

Additionally, courses in economics or finance may also be beneficial for those interested in becoming a plant manager. This education should include topics such as

  • production management
  • safety regulations
  • quality assurance
  • operations planning and scheduling
  • financial management
  • personnel management
  • human resources
  • operations management
  • industrial management
  • business strategy
  • operating procedures
  • cost accounting

Of course, that’s not including soft skills like communication skills. With this kind of education, plant managers can ensure that their plants are operating efficiently and safely while meeting their goals.

How Much Money Can a Plant Manager Make?

The latest statistics for average plant manager salary are from 2017 from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), and they report that a plant manager salary is, on average, $48.36 hourly. That equates to $100,580 annually. Of course, average salary for a management position goes up with a master’s degree.

How to Become a Plant Manager

Those six figures sound pretty good, right? Now that you’re interested, here is how to become a plant manager. The career path may begin with a bachelor’s degree. Generally, plant managers must have a Bachelor’s degree in business administration or industrial engineering, or a degree closely related. However, if plant workers have several years of experience, they have the opportunity to take management classes so they can be promoted to plant manager. Plant manager jobs are often internal hires, so most plant managers will have worked for the company already. If you’re looking at a larger plant, you may discover that they require their incoming staff members to have an advanced degree in higher education. More specifically, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is often the prerequisite.

It isn’t uncommon for plant managers to spend months with the company training to learn plant manager skills following their hire date. The purpose of this is, so they understand the inner workings and processes of the plant. Though it’s not a requirement, certifications are available for this industry.

Finally, Ask Yourself: Do You Think Like a Manager?

When you become a plant manager, you must have optimal interpersonal skill. What this means is you must be able to speak with senior management, employees, and other department managers. You’ll also be tapping into your leadership skills because it’s your responsibility to keep employees motivated. Your problem-solving skills must be sharp because, while on the plant floor, you’ll be required to assess situations and devise a solution quickly. It’s also necessary that you have optimal time management skills because you’ll be facing tight production-line deadlines, shipping dates, and other time constraints.

Check out our other resource on High Paying jobs within Occupational Health and Safety Industries:

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Aya Andrews


Aya Andrews is a passionate educator and mother of two, with a diverse background that has shaped her approach to teaching and learning. Born in Metro Manila, she now calls San Diego home and is proud to be a Filipino-American. Aya earned her Masters degree in Education from San Diego State University, where she focused on developing innovative teaching methods to engage and inspire students.

Prior to her work in education, Aya spent several years as a continuing education consultant for KPMG, where she honed her skills in project management and client relations. She brings this same level of professionalism and expertise to her work as an educator, where she is committed to helping each of her students achieve their full potential.

In addition to her work as an educator, Aya is a devoted mother who is passionate about creating a nurturing and supportive home environment for her children. She is an active member of her community, volunteering her time and resources to support local schools and organizations. Aya is also an avid traveler, and loves to explore new cultures and cuisines with her family.

With a deep commitment to education and a passion for helping others succeed, Aya is a true inspiration to those around her. Her dedication to her craft, her community, and her family is a testament to her unwavering commitment to excellence in all aspects of her life.

Find your perfect value college is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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