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How to Become an Industrial Production Manager

By Ajoke Aminu


Do you want to join the growing ranks of industrial production managers? Unleash your inner manager extraordinaire as we delve into the secrets of becoming an Industrial Production Manager! From factory floors to efficiency galore, this article unveils the path to mastering the art of industrial production management.

Career Summary

Industrial Production Manager Salary

Industrial Production Manager Salary

The average industrial production manager in the United States earns a respectable $84,211 yearly, according to recent data. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg–the top 10 percent of industrial production managers pull in over $130,000 annually, making it a highly lucrative career path.

  • Entry Salary (US$66k)
  • Median Salary (US$84k)
  • Executive Salary (US$136k)

For context, this wage falls into the category of high income compared to the national average.

What does an Industrial Production Manager do?

An industrial production manager is responsible for planning, coordinating, and overseeing production processes in various industries. Their main role is to ensure efficient operations, meet production targets, maintain quality standards, and optimize resources.

Industrial Production Manager Career Progression

  • Production Supervisor/Team Lead: Oversees a team of production workers, ensuring smooth operations and coordinating daily activities.
  • Production Planner/Scheduler: Develops production plans and schedules, and coordinates with various departments to optimize resource allocation.
  • Operations Manager/Plant Manager: Manages overall production operations, including process optimization, resource management, and performance evaluation.
  • Supply Chain Manager: Focuses on managing the flow of materials, coordinating with suppliers, and optimizing inventory levels.
  • Continuous Improvement Manager: Drives process improvement initiatives, identifies bottlenecks, and implements lean principles to enhance efficiency.
Industrial Production Manager Career Progression


  • Competitive salary.
  • Opportunity to oversee and contribute to the production of tangible products.
  • Ability to lead and collaborate with diverse teams.
  • Potential for career advancement and growth in various industries.
  • Chance to apply problem-solving skills and drive process improvement.


  • High levels of responsibility and pressure to meet production targets.
  • Dealing with unexpected challenges or disruptions in production processes.
  • Balancing the demands of meeting deadlines with maintaining quality standards.
  • Potential for long hours and work during evenings/weekends in certain industries.

Top Industrial Production Manager Skills

  • Strong leadership and communication skills
  • Analytical thinking and problem-solving abilities
  • Knowledge of production processes and quality control methods
  • Ability to manage resources effectively and optimize workflow
  • Proficiency in data analysis and interpretation

Popular Industrial Production Manager Paths

  • Lean Manufacturing Specialist
  • Quality Assurance Manager
  • Operations Manager
  • Supply Chain Manager
  • Process Improvement Manager

How to become an Industrial Production Manager

Industrial Production Manager 5 Steps to Career

Education in Industrial Production Management

Industrial production managers are like the chefs of the manufacturing world–  they’re in charge of making the production process run smoothly and ensuring that the final product is up to par. But what does it take to become one? First, you’ll need a solid background in engineering or business–either from a formal degree or through on-the-job experience– let’s discuss.

The Essence of a Degree as an Industrial Production Manager

In today’s rapidly evolving job market, it’s common for individuals to question the necessity of obtaining a degree for various career paths. While a degree is not always mandatory, having one can significantly benefit your career as an Industrial Production Manager. A degree provides in-depth knowledge of production processes, develops essential skills like project management and problem-solving, and offers industry exposure through internships.

Employers have a strong preference for Industrial Production Managers with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. Although the degree can be in any field, it is common for Industrial Production Managers to hold a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering or Business Administration—offering relevant knowledge and skills that align well with the demands of the role.

In addition, possessing a degree enhances your credibility and competitiveness in the industrial production manager job description market. However, alternative paths like relevant certifications and practical experience can also lead to success in this field. Ultimately, the decision depends on your long-term goals and the specific requirements of the organizations you aim to work for.

Obtaining a degree as an industrial production manager is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it provides comprehensive knowledge of production processes, quality management, and supply chain operations, enabling informed decision-making. Secondly, a degree develops essential skills like project management, problem-solving, and communication, essential for effective leadership in the field.

Beyond skill acquisition, a degree offers industry exposure through internships, fostering practical experience and professional networks. Moreover, having a degree enhances credibility and competitiveness in the job market, showcasing a commitment to professional growth. While alternative paths exist, a degree equips individuals with a solid foundation, advanced skills, and industry recognition necessary for success as an Industrial Production Manager.

Become an Industrial Production Manager in 2023 | The Duration to Earn a Degree

There is no such degree as “industrial production management,” but there are alternative degree programs that provide the necessary education and training for aspiring industrial production managers. Two such degrees include Industrial Engineering and Business Administration herein each offers the typical four-year undergraduate degree. However, some institutions offer a concurrent degree of both—B.S. IE/MBA, which lasts for five years altogether.

These programs offer a comprehensive curriculum that covers the skills and knowledge required to excel in the role of an industrial production manager. Industrial Engineering focuses on optimizing production processes and improving efficiency, while Business Administration provides a strong foundation in managerial principles and organizational operations. Any industrial production manager job description will also attest that either degree is usually required. Pursuing either of these degrees can equip individuals with the qualifications and expertise needed to succeed as an industrial production manager.

Typically, the time required to earn a degree in either of these courses may vary depending on factors such as the specific program, academic institution, and the student’s individual circumstances. In any case, part-time study options are also available, which can extend the duration to approximately five to six years.

Furthermore, accelerated programs may offer a shorter timeline of around two to three years, but they may require a higher level of dedication and time commitment. It’s important to consider your personal circumstances and academic goals when determining the most suitable timeframe for earning a degree in Industrial Production Management.

Financial Considerations: The Cost of Education for Industrial Production Management

The cost of studying to become an Industrial Production Manager depends largely on different factors including your choice of degree as explained previously. Besides having to choose between different courses that provide the necessary education and training for your career choice, other factors that may influence the cost of studying to become an industrial production manager include the specific institution, location, and whether you are an in-state or out-of-state student. This is besides the fact that tuition fees can fluctuate over time.

On average, however, the tuition fee for an Industrial Engineering program for in-state students is around $12,000, while the out-of-state fees range from approximately US$30,000 for undergraduate programs and $28,000 for graduate programs. Meanwhile, in the Business Administration and Management Program for undergraduate students, in-state tuition is set at US$9,314, while out-of-state students have a higher rate of US$26,175.

These tuition figures provide an overview of the costs associated with pursuing the two most common programs in industrial management in 2023, catering to different program types and residency statuses. This estimate typically includes tuition, fees, and other educational expenses. It’s, however, important to research and consider the costs associated with your chosen university, as well as explore financial aid options such as scholarships, grants, and student loans to help manage the expenses of pursuing your degree.

Shaping Your Future in Industrial Management Through Online Education

It is possible to become an Industrial Production Manager through online education. Many universities and educational institutions now offer online degree programs in fields such as Industrial Production Management and Industrial Technology with a focus on production management. These online programs provide flexibility for individuals who may have work or personal commitments that prevent them from attending traditional on-campus classes.

Notably, online education allows you to study and complete coursework remotely, providing access to the same curriculum and resources as on-campus students. You can learn about production processes, quality management, supply chain operations, and gain other necessary skills to thrive as an industrial production manager.

More importantly, it is crucial to select an accredited program that holds recognition from employers and industry experts. Not just that, online education typically lacks practical components, making it important to seek opportunities for hands-on experience. In this instance, internships or cooperative programs can offer valuable practical knowledge and industry exposure that complement online coursework. By actively pursuing such opportunities, you can bridge the gap between theoretical learning and real-world application, thereby enhancing your skills and employability.

While online education offers flexibility, dedication and self-discipline are crucial for success. Engaging with course materials, participating in online discussions, and actively seeking networking opportunities can help you build a strong foundation and establish yourself as a qualified Industrial Production Manager.

Practical Experience for a Beginner Industrial Production Manager

Consolidating theoretical knowledge with practical experience is crucial in Industrial Management. As earlier mentioned, there are two ways to go about becoming an industrial production manager—one of which is through hands-on experience or training. So, let’s delve deeper.

Internship Opportunities vs. Vocational Programs in Industrial Production Management

When it comes to kickstarting a career as an Industrial Production Manager, two prominent avenues await aspiring professionals: internships and vocational programs. Both pathways offer unique advantages and skill-building opportunities, but understanding their nuances is crucial in making an informed decision. So, let’s unravel the options and discover which route best aligns with your career goals.

Internship Opportunities

  • Gaining Real-World Experience: Internships provide hands-on exposure to the industrial production environment, allowing you to apply theoretical knowledge and develop practical skills.
  • Networking and Industry Connections: Internships offer invaluable networking opportunities, allowing you to establish connections with professionals in the field, potential mentors, and future colleagues.
  • Flexibility and Exploration: Internships provide the chance to explore different industries and company cultures, helping you identify your preferences and refine your career path.

Vocational Programs

  • Specialized Knowledge and Skill Development: Vocational programs offer comprehensive training in industrial management, equipping you with the necessary knowledge and skills specific to the field.
  • Structured Curriculum: These programs provide a structured learning experience, covering various aspects of industrial production management, such as operations, supply chain management, quality control, and lean manufacturing.
  • Industry Recognition and Credentials: Completing a vocational program can enhance your credibility and marketability, as employers often value the specialized training and certifications obtained through these programs.


  • Time and Commitment: Internships typically range from a few months to a year, while vocational programs can vary in duration, ranging from several months to a couple of years.
  • Cost: Vocational programs may involve tuition fees, while internships may be unpaid or offer stipends. For vocational programs, the average tuition stands at US$29,847. Consider your financial situation and weigh the costs against the potential benefits.
  • Individual Learning Style: Reflect on your preferred learning style and consider whether hands-on experience or a structured educational program better suits your needs and learning preferences.

Nevertheless, if you choose to leverage internship opportunities that are tailored for Industrial Production Managers.

Here are some common types of internship opportunities to consider:
  • Manufacturing Companies: Interning at manufacturing companies allows you to work directly within production facilities, gaining practical experience in areas such as process improvement, quality control, inventory management, and production planning. Large manufacturing corporations or smaller specialized firms often offer internship programs.
  • Supply Chain and Logistics Companies: Interning at supply chain and logistics companies can provide insights into the broader aspects of industrial management. You may work on optimizing supply chain operations, managing inventory, coordinating shipments, and collaborating with various stakeholders to ensure smooth production flow.
  • Engineering Consulting Firms: Interning at engineering consulting firms that specialize in industrial production and process improvement offers exposure to a wide range of projects and industries. You may have the opportunity to work on client engagements, analyze production systems, and propose solutions for enhancing efficiency.
  • Research Institutions and Labs: Interning at research institutions or industrial labs allows you to contribute to ongoing research projects related to industrial production management. This provides exposure to cutting-edge technologies, data analysis, and innovation in manufacturing processes.

Industrial Product Manager Skills in 2023

Next, you’ll need to hone your skills. Thus, you can motivate and supervise a team of workers, and if you’re the type who loves to solve problems and improve processes, then you’ll be right at home in this field.

Necessary Skills To Have as an Industrial Production Manager

  • Operations Management: You will learn how to oversee and optimize production operations, including resource allocation, capacity planning, scheduling, and workflow management. This skill enables you to ensure smooth and efficient production processes.
  • Quality Control and Assurance: You will gain expertise in implementing quality control measures to maintain and improve product quality, adherence to specifications, and compliance with regulatory standards. This includes developing quality assurance processes, conducting inspections, and implementing corrective actions.
  • Supply Chain Management: You will learn to manage the flow of materials, components, and finished products within the supply chain. This involves coordinating with suppliers, inventory management, demand forecasting, and logistics planning to ensure timely and cost-effective production.
  • Leadership and Team Management: As an Industrial Production Manager, you will develop leadership skills to effectively manage and motivate teams. This includes assigning tasks, providing guidance, fostering collaboration, resolving conflicts, and promoting a positive work culture.
  • Problem-Solving and Decision-Making: You will learn to analyze complex production issues, identify bottlenecks, and implement solutions to improve efficiency and productivity. Decision-making skills are crucial for prioritizing tasks, allocating resources, and addressing unexpected challenges.
  • Lean Manufacturing and Continuous Improvement: You will gain knowledge of lean manufacturing principles and techniques to eliminate waste, streamline processes, and optimize resource utilization. This skill helps drive continuous improvement initiatives within the production environment.
  • Communication and Interpersonal Skills: Effective communication is vital for coordinating with various stakeholders, including employees, suppliers, and senior management. You will learn to convey information clearly, listen actively, and build strong working relationships.
  • Safety and Risk Management: You will learn to prioritize workplace safety, identify potential hazards, and implement safety protocols to protect employees and minimize risks within the production environment.

Knowledge Hub: Web Resources to Excel as an Industrial Production Manager

  • Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM): A professional association that offers certifications, webinars, and educational resources for individuals interested in supply chain management and production planning.
  • Production and Operations Management Society (POMS): An organization dedicated to advancing the theories and practices of production and operations management. POMS offers access to research articles, publications, and conferences related to the field.
  • Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE): Offers resources, publications, and events focused on industrial engineering, systems engineering, and operations management.
  • Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME): Provides resources, webinars, and industry updates related to manufacturing processes, automation, and production management.
  • Lean Enterprise Institute (LEI): Focuses on lean manufacturing principles and practices, providing educational resources, case studies, and training programs for process improvement and waste reduction.
  • Quality Digest: Offers articles, webinars, and resources on quality management, including topics such as Six Sigma, Total Quality Management (TQM), and process improvement methodologies.
  • Manufacturing.NET: Covers industry news, technology advancements, and best practices in manufacturing, including production management, process optimization, and industrial automation.

What’s the Career Outlook for Industrial Production Manager

According to projections, the employment of industrial production managers is expected to grow at a slower pace of 3% from 2021 to 2031. This moderate growth can be attributed to factors such as automation, outsourcing, and advancements in technology that impact production processes.

However, despite the relatively slower growth rate, there will still be an estimated average of 15,400 annual job openings for industrial production managers over the course of the decade. It’s worth noting that job prospects may vary by industry and geographic location. Industries such as manufacturing, aerospace, automotive, and pharmaceuticals are expected to offer good opportunities for industrial production managers.

Overall, while the employment growth for industrial production managers may be slower compared to other occupations, there will continue to be a steady demand for skilled professionals in this field. With the right qualifications and expertise, individuals can find rewarding career opportunities as industrial production managers in a variety of industries.

Industrial Production Manager Popular Career Specialties

In-Demand Roles

  • Production Manager: Overseeing and managing production operations, ensuring efficient use of resources, coordinating with various teams, and maintaining quality standards.
  • Operations Manager: Responsible for optimizing production processes, improving efficiency, and implementing strategies to streamline operations and enhance productivity.
  • Supply Chain Manager: Managing the flow of materials, coordinating with suppliers, optimizing inventory levels, and ensuring timely delivery of goods to meet production demands.
  • Quality Assurance Manager: Monitoring and maintaining product quality, implementing quality control measures, conducting inspections, and managing corrective actions to ensure compliance with industry standards.
  • Lean Manufacturing Manager: Implementing lean principles and methodologies to eliminate waste, improve process efficiency, and enhance overall production performance.
  • Continuous Improvement Manager: Identifying areas for improvement, leading process optimization initiatives, implementing best practices, and driving continuous improvement across production operations.
  • Manufacturing Engineer: Developing and improving manufacturing processes, conducting feasibility studies, optimizing production layouts, and collaborating with cross-functional teams to enhance production efficiency.
  • Production Planner/Scheduler: Developing production plans, coordinating with different departments to ensure timely production schedules, and optimizing resource allocation to meet customer demands.

Company Spotlights

Industrial production managers are hired by a wide range of companies across various industries. Here are some types of companies that commonly hire industrial production managers:

  • Manufacturing Companies
  • Engineering and Industrial Services Firms
  • Supply Chain and Logistics Companies
  • Consulting and Advisory Firms
  • Aerospace and Defense Companies
  • Energy and Utility Companies
  • Construction and Infrastructure Companies
  • Technology and Electronics Companies
  • Automotive Industry
  • Medical Devices and Pharmaceutical Companies.

Balancing Professional Responsibilities and Personal Well-being

Finding a healthy work-life balance is crucial for professionals in any field, and Industrial Production Managers are no exception. While the specific work-life balance can vary depending on factors such as company culture, industry demands, and personal preferences, there are general considerations to keep in mind.

As an Industrial Production Manager, the role often involves overseeing production operations, managing teams, coordinating schedules, and ensuring a smooth workflow. This level of responsibility may require working extended hours, especially during peak production periods or when addressing unexpected issues. However, it’s important to note that work-life balance is attainable with proper planning, prioritization, and effective time management.

To achieve a better work-life balance, Industrial Production Managers can implement strategies such as delegating tasks, setting clear boundaries, and fostering a supportive work environment. This may involve empowering team members to take on responsibilities, promoting open communication, and encouraging work-life integration through flexible work arrangements or remote work options.

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance also requires self-care and prioritizing personal well-being. Taking regular breaks, utilizing vacation time, and setting aside dedicated “off” hours can contribute to reducing burnout and maintaining overall well-being.

Ultimately, the work-life balance of an Industrial Production Manager is a personal journey that requires a proactive approach to managing work demands while nurturing personal life. Striking a balance ensures that both professional and personal aspects of life are given adequate attention and contributes to long-term career satisfaction and overall happiness.

Should I Become an Industrial Production Manager?

Before making the leap into the world of industrial production management, it’s crucial to weigh all the variables at play. From understanding the responsibilities and demands of the job to considering your own interests and skills, there are many factors that come into play. However, the decision to pursue this career path can lead to long-term stability and growth if approached with intention and care.

So, take the time to consider your options and weigh the pros and cons. Ultimately, the best decision for you will depend on your personal goals and aspirations. But, armed with the knowledge gained from this article and your own research, you can confidently embark on your journey toward becoming an industrial production manager.

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Ajoke Aminu

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