What Is Production Management and Its Jobs

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Learn about how to get a production management job, associated salaries, necessary experience, and production management degrees.

[Featured image] Two product managers are wearing an orange vest, and gloves looking at warehouse products.

Production management oversees manufacturing and managing production inputs like raw materials, capital, and labor to produce expected outputs like products. Managing production within a manufacturing company is necessary, whether it’s a large or small business. This becomes important as a company grows and managing desired output becomes more complex. 

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), production management jobs are expected to grow by 5 percent between 2020 and 2030, which is slower than the national average [1]. Salary for production management roles in the US is much higher than average, with the median annual earnings at $103,150, rising to $170,470 for the top 10 percent [2]. 

What’s the purpose of production management?

Production management aims to monitor and improve the efficiency of activities, materials, staff resources, and budgets to produce goods. Production outcomes vary according to the industry. A production manager ensures that manufacturing stays on schedule, within budget, and achieves the desired output goals. 

Read more: Operations Management: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?

Job description for production management roles

Production management job descriptions vary by each industry and level of the role, but in general, someone working in production management may have the following responsibilities:

  • Managing manufacturing processes and looking at inputs to achieve outputs

  • Creating and maintaining work schedules and budgets

  • Monitoring production to find ways to improve efficiency and processes. operations

  • Communicating effectively with staff, stakeholders, suppliers, and customers

  • Manage safety and quality processes

  • Manage a production team 

  • Identify, evaluate, and resolve any problems with manufacturing or staffing. 

Skills needed to work in production management 

Working in production management involves a specific skill set encompassing technical and workplace skills.

Technical skills

  • Competency with technical equipment

  • Six Sigma

  • Business skills

  • Equipment maintenance 

  • Knowledge of industry regulations

Workplace skills

  • Teamwork

  • Problem-solving

  • Leadership and management

  • Highly organized

  • Ability to multitask

  • Attention to detail

  • Critical thinking

  • Decision-making

  • Strategic planning 

  • Logical approach

Industries that rely on production management 

Industries that manufacture products rely on production management.  Production management jobs can vary by industry, including: 

  • Automotive 

  • Chemical

  • Food

  • Machinery

  • Metal and fabricated products 

  • Computers and technology

According to BLS, the industry with the highest level of employment is fabricated metal product manufacturing, followed by transportation equipment, is the industry with the highest employment level. 

Common production management job titles and salaries 

 Production management jobs, titles, and salaries vary and have different responsibilities. Rather than searching for production manager roles, you might want to expand your search to incorporate similar jobs. 

Here are some product management jobs and  average salaries: 

*All salary data is sourced from Glassdoor as of August 2022

1. Production manager

Average salary (US): $57,256

A production manager manages the production process and ensures the company's manufacturing goals are met (outputs) by successfully overseeing inputs such as time, staffing, efficiency, materials, and costs. 

2. Manufacturing manager

Average salary (US): $82,221

A manufacturing manager looks after the day-to-day manufacturing operation. They organize schedules, manage staff, and set budgets. The role is very similar to a production manager, except the production manager is responsible for the entire production process, while a manufacturing manager looks after the equipment and those that use it. 

3. Assistant production manager

Average salary (US): $54,419

An assistant production manager supports the production manager with their duties. Their tasks are similar but at a level below. 

4. Industrial production manager

Average salary (US): $57,771 

An industrial production manager oversees production and manufacturing in an industrial plant. Their role includes scheduling production and managing budgets, staff, and processes. 

5. Plant manager 

Average salary (US): $86,823

A plant manager supervises operations and manufacturing and is responsible for making strategic decisions, managing staff, ensuring safety, and working to achieve production goals.

6. Operations manager

Average salary (US): $58,240

An operations manager is responsible for the production and daily operations, making business decisions, and working as a senior management team member. They look to improve production processes and may recruit and train staff. 

How to become a production manager 

To become a production manager, it’s a good idea to be qualified in all areas, including skills, education, training, experience, and certifications. 


A bachelor’s degree is typically the minimum educational requirement to become a production manager, with 62% of managers holding one and 18% holding an associate degree [3].  However, it’s possible to qualify for a position if you have a high school diploma and gained an impressive amount of experience. 

Useful bachelor’s degree subjects include business, engineering, industrial management, manufacturing, or similar. Depending on the company and level of responsibilities, some positions may require an MBA. Some schools offer options to complete a production management degree.


On-the-job training is offered, and a new employee will often spend the first months training to learn about the company and job responsibilities.

If you can complete an internship in manufacturing or production, that’ll be helpful to learn the processes and understand the industry. 


Experience is necessary in most cases to work in production management, in production and leadership roles. Some work in entry-level positions to gain experience or move across from other leadership positions. 


Given the competition for positions, having relevant certifications can boost your resume, and some employers will ask for certain relevant certifications. A range of certifications is available including:

  • Manufacturing Management Certification (CTME)

  • Incident Safety Officer - Fire Suppression Certification (ISO)

  • Certification in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM)

  • Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence Certification CMQ/OE

  • Six Sigma Green Belt

  • Master Project Manager (MPM)

Next steps 

If want to pursue a career in production management, a great place to start is by learning more about the manufacturing management process by taking the Advanced Manufacturing Enterprise course offered by The State University of New York on Coursera. You can also brush up on your leadership skills with the Leading People and Teams Specialization delivered by the University of Michigan. 

Related articles

Article sources

1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Industrial Production Managers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/industrial-production-managers.htm#tab-1.” Accessed July 12, 2022.

2. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Industrial Production Managers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/industrial-production-managers.htm#tab-5.” Accessed July 12, 2022.

3. Zippia. “Production Manager Education Requirements, .” Accessed August 8, 2022.

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This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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