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Working as a Chief Operating Officer

When we look at big companies like Apple, we almost always wonder how is it possible that a chief executive officer (CEO) can manage so many decisions within a day? By using the concept of delegation, a chief executive officer (CEO) can prioritize and shift project responsibilities to different sub-leaders for efficient completion. The role of a chief operating officer (COO) is a sub-leader that is analogous to a queen in a chess game.

A chief operating officer is involved in managing day-to-day operations in line with the business strategies set by the chief executive officer. Their tasks, daily, entail managing vendor relationships, implementing business processes, developing internal financial controls, and facilitating market expansion.

The requirements of becoming a chief operating officer by an employer can be quite vague, given the high-level cross-functional skillsets involved. However, you can land this position if you can demonstrate a few years of experience in managing operations of a medium scale project successfully. To get this role, you can study for a business degree or even a science-related degree. They earn on average $86 per hour and usually work more than 40 hours per week.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a chief operating officer. For example, did you know that they make an average of $73.58 an hour? That's $153,056 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 6% and produce 150,600 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Chief Operating Officer Do

There are certain skills that many chief operating officers have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed analytical skills, detail oriented and math skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a chief operating officer, we found that a lot of resumes listed 12.6% of chief operating officers included procedures, while 8.0% of resumes included healthcare, and 6.8% of resumes included facility. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the chief operating officer job title. But what industry to start with? Most chief operating officers actually find jobs in the health care and technology industries.

How To Become a Chief Operating Officer

If you're interested in becoming a chief operating officer, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 43.5% of chief operating officers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 35.1% of chief operating officers have master's degrees. Even though most chief operating officers have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a chief operating officer. When we researched the most common majors for a chief operating officer, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on chief operating officer resumes include doctoral degree degrees or associate degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a chief operating officer. In fact, many chief operating officer jobs require experience in a role such as vice president. Meanwhile, many chief operating officers also have previous career experience in roles such as general manager or director.

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Average Salary$153,056
Job Growth Rate6%

Chief Operating Officer Career Paths

Top Careers Before Chief Operating Officer

Top Careers After Chief Operating Officer

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Average Salary for a Chief Operating Officer

Chief Operating Officers in America make an average salary of $153,056 per year or $74 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $264,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $88,000 per year.
Average Salary
$153,056

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
Lakewood, NJ
Salary Range128k - 283k$191k$190,963
Boston, MA
Salary Range125k - 289k$190k$190,448
New York, NY
Salary Range125k - 280k$187k$187,343
Philadelphia, PA
Salary Range125k - 275k$186k$186,067
Chicago, IL
Salary Range124k - 276k$186k$185,507
Austin, TX
Salary Range124k - 260k$180k$180,430
$68k
$289k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Chief Operating Officer, Off-Benefit Healthcare Services/Optumrx
Chief Operating Officer, Off-Benefit Healthcare Services/Optumrx
Unitedhealth Group Inc.
Unitedhealth Group Inc.
01/23/2021
01/23/2021
$169,50001/23/2021
$169,500
Deputy City Manager/Chief Operating Officer
Deputy City Manager/Chief Operating Officer
International City Management
International City Management
01/23/2021
01/23/2021
$151,10001/23/2021
$151,100
Chief Operations Officer-Water Utilities
Chief Operations Officer-Water Utilities
International City Management
International City Management
01/23/2021
01/23/2021
$148,79701/23/2021
$148,797
Chief Operating Officer, Off-Benefit Healthcare Services/Optumrx
Chief Operating Officer, Off-Benefit Healthcare Services/Optumrx
Unitedhealth Group
Unitedhealth Group
01/23/2021
01/23/2021
$169,50001/23/2021
$169,500
COO-Chief Operating Officer-Title Company Background
COO-Chief Operating Officer-Title Company Background
Robert Half
Robert Half
01/20/2021
01/20/2021
$80,00001/20/2021
$80,000
See More Recent Salaries

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Chief Operating Officer Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Chief Operating Officer. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Chief Operating Officer Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Chief Operating Officer resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

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Chief Operating Officer Demographics

Gender

male

72.8 %

female

23.2 %

unknown

4.1 %

Ethnicity

White

80.4 %

Hispanic or Latino

7.0 %

Asian

7.0 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

40.4 %

French

13.9 %

German

8.5 %
See More Demographics

Chief Operating Officer Education

Majors

Business
37.4 %
Finance
9.3 %

Degrees

Bachelors

43.5 %

Masters

35.1 %

Doctorate

6.1 %

Top Colleges for Chief Operating Officers

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

2. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

3. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

4. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Public

In-State Tuition
$10,610
Enrollment
40,329

5. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$9,808
Enrollment
13,990

6. Northeastern University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,522
Enrollment
13,760

7. Bentley University

Waltham, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$49,880
Enrollment
4,177

8. George Washington University, The

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,230
Enrollment
12,161

9. Lehigh University

Bethlehem, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$52,930
Enrollment
5,030

10. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Public

In-State Tuition
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108
See More Education Info
Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Chief Operating Officer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 12.6% of chief operating officers listed procedures on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and detail oriented are important as well.

Best States For a Chief Operating Officer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a chief operating officer. The best states for people in this position are Hawaii, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Kansas. Chief operating officers make the most in Hawaii with an average salary of $194,980. Whereas in Rhode Island and New Jersey, they would average $168,252 and $155,172, respectively. While chief operating officers would only make an average of $153,969 in Kansas, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Rhode Island

Total Chief Operating Officer Jobs:
136
Highest 10% Earn:
$264,000
Location Quotient:
1.14
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Hawaii

Total Chief Operating Officer Jobs:
85
Highest 10% Earn:
$269,000
Location Quotient:
0.94
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Kansas

Total Chief Operating Officer Jobs:
295
Highest 10% Earn:
$250,000
Location Quotient:
0.95
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Chief Operating Officer Employers

1. United States Army
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$123,992
Chief Operating Officers Hired: 
224+
2. United States Navy
3.8
Avg. Salary: 
$124,871
Chief Operating Officers Hired: 
36+
3. United States Marine
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$124,958
Chief Operating Officers Hired: 
34+
4. Deutsche Bank
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$140,738
Chief Operating Officers Hired: 
27+
5. Universal Health Services
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$131,464
Chief Operating Officers Hired: 
24+
6. Bank of America
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$131,689
Chief Operating Officers Hired: 
22+

Chief Operating Officer Videos

Updated October 2, 2020