Top 75 Best Affordable Operations Management Programs

Best Most Affordable Operations Management Programs

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Business careers can be a lucrative way for students to build solid, enjoyable careers, and the business subfield of operations management is blooming, increasing the need for new talent in the field. Specifically, operations management is the study of how to improve the efficiency of how organizations and teams are run so that decision-making processes can be more streamlined and effective. Employees in the field will plan, organize, and actualize business decisions such that revenues are maximized and costs are minimized. This means that operations managers stand at the nexus of the organization, directing how resources like materials, labor, and technology are effectively allocated to efficiently create outputs. Every type of organization, whether it is a private corporation, government department, or non-profit, requires effective collaboration amongst its different decisions. This makes operations management an essential part of day-to-day needs in all types of firms and industries, which translates to a large number of potential employment opportunities for students in the field.

Why a Degree from an Affordable Operations Management School?


It’s not a secret that higher education in the US can be one of the most expensive costs for young people today. Operations management degrees can be obtained at the undergraduate level, where students can graduate into an entry-level position within the industry, or students may choose to go to business school to obtain their MBA so that they are more prepared to take on managerial roles in the industry upon graduation. However, these educational opportunities will necessarily come with financial tradeoffs, with students forgoing both the potential income from working instead of attending school full-time and also needing to finance their education.

To give some perspective, on average, an American student graduating with their bachelor’s degree in 2019 held around $29,000 in student loan debt. For students who elected to then pursue their MBA degree, the combined average student loan debt between their bachelor’s and master’s degrees was bumped up to $66,300 in 2016, a figure that has continued to increase throughout recent years. As such, even if students have already determined early on that their passions lay in operations management, it still makes a lot of sense to compare available programs to see if there is a more affordable option that will match their needs.

Every dollar saved while in school could translate into a higher quality of life post-graduation due to minimized student loan payments. Furthermore, operations management is a flexible business degree that is in demand within every industry, with all sorts of employers looking for business professionals to help them streamline their methods of doing business and become more profitable. This gives students an advantage in that their educational programs need not be restricted geographically or necessarily need to contain certain types of industry-specific knowledge, which opens up the number of options students have when selecting an affordable program.

Choosing an Affordable Operations Management College


There are a number of factors that should influence a student’s decision when they are selecting an affordable operations management degree program, including the school’s reputation within the field, affordability, accreditation history, location, and the availability of flexible attendance options. To begin, students should only look at accredited programs offered at the associate, bachelor’s, or graduate level. This is because organizations like the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs will ascertain the quality of a postsecondary institution’s faculty and curriculum. Employers in the operations management field will almost exclusively hire graduates from accredited programs.

Additionally, organizations like US News provide an annual ranking of the top accredited programs by category. Operations management programs will generally fall under business programs, so students should also take a look at these annual rankings to gain an understanding of whether the program they are considering is well-regarded by business professionals. Attending a higher-ranking business program can be exceptionally helpful with employer recognition and networking post-graduation as some businesses will seek to primarily recruit from certain local or well-regarded postsecondary institutions. These are resources that are often extremely difficult to come by, and students should weigh the cost of attendance against the potential future returns on their degree.

Additional considerations that students should implement when hunting for affordable operations management programs are school location or if the program has options for flexible attendance, which can have an outsized impact on the affordability of the program. For instance, the average total cost of public in-state colleges for the 2017-2018 school year was $25,300 and $40,900 for out-of-state public schools. The total cost jumped up to $50,900 for students who attended private colleges that same year, meaning that, depending on a student’s school choice, they could save around 50% of their annual education costs. Of course, costs should be weighed in light of the potential long-term benefits of attending a school, but financial considerations are often a core issue when determining school selection.

Another important option that students should consider when looking at affordable operations management programs is the potential for flexible learning opportunities, like part-time programs or remote learning. These types of programs can allow students with important family responsibilities, like caring for young children, to continue attaining higher education. Students in more flexible programs can also work part-time while studying or attend school without needing to move, which can also be expensive.

Online Options


Operations management is a field of study that translates very well to online learning. Specifically, the field of operations management draws heavily from traditional management techniques and teaches students important communications skills, while also preparing students for technical situations like managing a factory or ensuring that equipment is well-maintained. Unlike certain engineering, science, or healthcare degrees, which require lab time or other hands-on training, business students can learn almost all of their relevant academic materials in a remote setting, as most classes are designed to facilitate peer-to-peer discussion.

With the advent of video software, students can easily simulate a classroom experience even if they are attending remotely. Most of the homework that operations management students will be given will include reading assignments, essays, and problem sets, all of which can be done in a collaborative online environment. This makes operations management a field that is particularly easy to translate into a fully online course of study, which can be especially beneficial for students who need a flexible study schedule.

It’s important to note that many leading educational institutions in the field have already pushed out online operations management programs that students can choose from. Given that students are usually attending classes out of their own homes, online programs can allow students to save on both housing costs and tuition. Today, many prestigious educational institutions offer affordable online bachelor’s programs in the field of operations management or logistics and supply chain management, which targets businesses that move physical goods. Students looking for online study options might consider taking a look at programs offered by UMass-Amherst, Arizona State University, Oregon Institute of Technology, Temple University, Ohio University, and Florida State College at Jacksonville.

Are Operations Management Programs in High Demand?


Operations management jobs are in high demand, which means that students are more likely to be able to secure gainful employment upon graduation. Given that all types of industries and businesses looking to hire employees with operational management expertise, job outlooks, and growth will differ slightly depending on an employee’s specific responsibilities and field. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), operations management students who gain employment in the field of administrative services and facilities managers can expect the field to grow at a rate of 6% between 2019-2029, which is faster than the national average in job growth.

In comparison, operations management specialists who work as architectural and engineering managers can expect their field to grow at 3% during that same time frame, which is as fast as the national average. According to the BLS, construction managers can expect their field to grow at 8% between 2019-2029, which is much faster than average, and emergency management directors can expect their field to grow at 4% during that same time, around as fast as average. From these numbers, it’s possible to see both the wide range of employment opportunities available in operations management and varying, industry-dependent job growth outlooks of the job. However, what remains consistent throughout the different industries is that businesses will continue to hire employees with operations expertise at a speed that is usually equal to or faster than the national average in job growth, regardless of the industry that someone decides to work in.

Best Most Affordable Operations Management College Rankings


As mentioned earlier, students should seriously consider program rankings when they are applying to operations management programs. Professional ranking services will weigh important considerations and provide a well-rounded opinion on an education program’s caliber and reputation in the field, which oftentimes attracts strong peer groups and provides students with not only a first-class education but also employment opportunities down the line.

Rankings, such as those we create at University Headquarters, consider many of the following critical pieces of information throughout the ranking process:

  • Graduation rate:
    Students who choose to attend postsecondary institutions will go in with the expectation that they will graduate with a degree. The graduation rate can divulge an institution’s ability to attract and retain students, as well as support them through their rigorous academic programs to come out on the other side as graduates.
  • Cost of Tuition:
    Every student must weigh the cost of attending a particular institution with their prospective long-term career prospects to determine if it would be worth it for them to go to that school. This metric helps students determine if the money they spend on their higher education is well worth it.
  • Graduating Salary:
    An important metric to consider is whether students can expect to attain a job and earn a living post-graduation, and we factor this aspect into our decisions when determining a school’s reputation in the field.
  • Number of Programs Offered:
    Students will often enter postsecondary education with an idea of what subjects they enjoy, but they will usually need time to explore their options. Schools that offer a large number of programs will allow students to have that flexibility.
1

California State University-Los Angeles

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $6,781
    • Out-of-state: $18,661
  • Net Price: $3,859
  • Retention Rate: 81%
  • Total Enrollment: 26,671
  • Undergrad Students: 22,797
  • Graduate Students: 3,874
  • Graduation Rate: 52%
  • Diplomas Awarded: NA
  • California State University-Los Angeles
2
  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,462
    • Out-of-state: $15,412
  • Net Price: $3,897
  • Retention Rate: 89%
  • Total Enrollment: 18,679
  • Undergrad Students: 15,482
  • Graduate Students: 3,197
  • Graduation Rate: 73%
  • Diplomas Awarded: NA
  • CUNY Bernard M Baruch College
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
3

Clover Park Technical College

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $5,740
    • Out-of-state: $5,740
  • Net Price: $7,046
  • Retention Rate: NA
  • Total Enrollment: 3,973
  • Undergrad Students: 3,973
  • Graduate Students: 0
  • Graduation Rate: 34%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 7
  • Clover Park Technical College
4

Franklin University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $9,577
    • Out-of-state: $9,577
  • Net Price: $7,658
  • Retention Rate: 47%
  • Total Enrollment: 6,031
  • Undergrad Students: 4,261
  • Graduate Students: 1,770
  • Graduation Rate: 42%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 70
  • Franklin University
5

The University of Texas at El Paso

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $9,450
    • Out-of-state: $24,516
  • Net Price: $8,758
  • Retention Rate: 75%
  • Total Enrollment: 25,177
  • Undergrad Students: 21,427
  • Graduate Students: 3,750
  • Graduation Rate: 44%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 29
  • The University of Texas at El Paso
6

Governors State University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $10,108
    • Out-of-state: $17,620
  • Net Price: $9,998
  • Retention Rate: 52%
  • Total Enrollment: 4,789
  • Undergrad Students: 3,206
  • Graduate Students: 1,583
  • Graduation Rate: 24%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 13
  • Governors State University
7
  • Tuition
    • In-State: $10,260
    • Out-of-state: $24,735
  • Net Price: $10,557
  • Retention Rate: 75%
  • Total Enrollment: 7,523
  • Undergrad Students: 6,432
  • Graduate Students: 1,091
  • Graduation Rate: 46%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 18
  • Rhode Island College
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
8
  • Tuition
    • In-State: $9,992
    • Out-of-state: $28,794
  • Net Price: $12,294
  • Retention Rate: 91%
  • Total Enrollment: 45,500
  • Undergrad Students: 34,596
  • Graduate Students: 10,904
  • Graduation Rate: 83%
  • Diplomas Awarded: NA
  • Purdue University-Main Campus
View All Their Popular Majors and Rankings
9

Oakland City University

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $24,990
    • Out-of-state: $24,990
  • Net Price: $12,481
  • Retention Rate: 67%
  • Total Enrollment: 1,435
  • Undergrad Students: 1,265
  • Graduate Students: 170
  • Graduation Rate: 57%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 7
  • Oakland City University
10

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

  • Tuition
    • In-State: $7,735
    • Out-of-state: $16,607
  • Net Price: $12,522
  • Retention Rate: 80%
  • Total Enrollment: 12,452
  • Undergrad Students: 11,024
  • Graduate Students: 1,428
  • Graduation Rate: 62%
  • Diplomas Awarded: 49
  • University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
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What Can You Do with a Degree in Operations Management?


Skills that students learn through their operations management degree are highly adaptable to a variety of different job opportunities. For instance, students can choose to build careers as production supervisors or production managers for a firm focused on delivering goods to end consumers. This job is extremely important, as production managers are in charge of coordinating all the inputs of production, negotiating costs, and setting budgets. Without these individuals, many businesses that produce physical goods would grind to a halt, leading to many delays, inconveniences, and losses in revenue for businesses.

A related, but distinct, career in the field of operations management is logistics and supply chain management, which is primarily focused on the act of transferring already-produced goods to distributors, who can then sell the product to the end consumer. Employees in this type of role will usually have job titles like logistics manager, warehousing manager, and supply chain manager. Another important industry that has a large need for operations management expertise is construction, where employees are tasked with coordinating raw materials and ensuring that work plans are carried out effectively by construction crews. Typical job titles in this industry include maintenance supervisor, construction manager, production planner, transportation manager, and purchasing manager. Each of these individuals will be responsible for important inputs into the production and construction process, ensuring that everyone is carrying out their responsibilities in an efficient manner.

Of course, many industries will simply hire employees into operations manager positions, where their responsibilities will broadly entail budgeting and managing teams to keep business operations running smoothly.

Operations Management Graduates Earn More After College


Operations management can translate into careers that are both rewarding and lucrative. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean hourly wage for general and operations managers is $60.45, which translates into an annual salary of around $125,700. Depending on one’s experience and industry of employment, those with operations management degrees can expect some fluctuation in their actual salaries. The BLS states that the bottom 25% of hires in the operations management field earn an hourly wage of $32.43 or $67,450 per year and the top 75% of earners have a wage of $77.49 per hour or $161,200 per year.

According to Payscale, a student who graduates with a bachelor’s degree in operations management can expect to earn $76,655 per year on average. Students who choose to specifically focus their bachelor’s education on logistics and supply chain management can expect to earn an average of $65,600 per year. As with most industries, earning a master’s degree can bump up one’s earning potential, and students with a master of science in operations management can expect to earn $82,900 per year.

Additionally, given the business underpinnings of operations management, many MBA programs also offer focused courses in the area. According to Payscale, those with an MBA degree focused on operations management can expect to earn an average of $107,000 per year. In terms of job title-specific earnings, logistics managers can expect to earn a salary of $67,000 per year, and construction managers will earn an average of $78,300. In comparison, according to ZipRecruiter, the average bachelor’s degree holder earns $51,200 a year, much lower than students who have a degree in operations management.

FAQs


  • What is the future outlook after an affordable operations management degree program?
    Operations management is a fast-growing field with a variety of applications across industries. Students who attend an affordable operations management degree program have strong career prospects.
  • What is the difference between supply chain management logistics and operations management?
    Operations management can include anything from budgeting for operations to facilities management, while supply chain management and logistics focuses primarily on managing the flow of goods between locations. Supply chain management is typically seen as a subset of operations management.
  • Should you get an MBA in operations management?
    While operations management students can expect to build lucrative careers even directly after college, getting an MBA can dramatically increase one’s earnings potential and also fast-track an employee into a management position.
  • How do you choose the right online program for you?
    Students should weigh the cost of attendance, the program’s prestige, and the time it takes to complete the degree when considering the right online program for them.