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What is 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 $84.36 an hour? That's $175,471 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.

Learn more about what a Chief Operating Officer does

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 65.4% of Chief Operating Officers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 20.9% 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 Associate Degree degrees or Doctoral 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 Chief Finance Officer.

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And if you’re looking for a job, here are the five top employers hiring now:

  1. Morgan Stanley Jobs (18)
  2. Citigroup Jobs (12)
  3. Aetna Jobs (16)
  4. HCA Healthcare Jobs (20)
  5. Tenet Healthcare Jobs (16)
Average Salary
$175,471
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
6%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
150,963
Job Openings
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Chief Operating Officer Career Paths

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Average Salary for a Chief Operating Officer

Chief Operating Officers in America make an average salary of $175,471 per year or $84 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $293,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $104,000 per year.
Average Salary
$175,471
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12 Chief Operating Officer Resume Examples

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 to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Chief Operating Officer Resume Examples And Templates

And if you’re looking for a job, here are the five top employers hiring now:

  1. Morgan Stanley Jobs (18)
  2. Citigroup Jobs (12)
  3. Aetna Jobs (16)
  4. HCA Healthcare Jobs (20)
  5. Tenet Healthcare Jobs (16)

Choose From 10+ Customizable Chief Operating Officer Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Chief Operating Officer templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Chief Operating Officer resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Chief Operating Officer Demographics

Chief Operating Officer Gender Distribution

Male
Male
77%
Female
Female
23%

After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among Chief Operating Officers, 23.4% of them are women, while 76.6% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among Chief Operating Officers is White, which makes up 81.9% of all Chief Operating Officers.

  • The most common foreign language among Chief Operating Officers is Spanish at 40.4%.

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Chief Operating Officer Education

Chief Operating Officer Majors

34.1 %
7.9 %

Chief Operating Officer Degrees

Bachelors

65.4 %

Masters

20.9 %

Associate

7.1 %

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 • Private

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

5. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Private

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 • Private

In-State Tuition
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108
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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 New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Chief Operating Officers make the most in New Jersey with an average salary of $199,708. Whereas in Rhode Island and Connecticut, they would average $197,888 and $195,015, respectively. While Chief Operating Officers would only make an average of $192,744 in Massachusetts, 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. New Jersey

Total Chief Operating Officer Jobs:
1,973
Highest 10% Earn:
$277,000
Location Quotient:
1.39
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. Rhode Island

Total Chief Operating Officer Jobs:
255
Highest 10% Earn:
$275,000
Location Quotient:
1.18
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. Massachusetts

Total Chief Operating Officer Jobs:
2,338
Highest 10% Earn:
$271,000
Location Quotient:
1.43
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
Full List Of Best States For Chief Operating Officers

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Top Chief Operating Officer Employers

Most Common Employers For Chief Operating Officer

RankCompanyZippia ScoreAverage Chief Operating Officer SalaryAverage Salary
1$219,014
2$216,079
3$203,403
4$192,112
5$189,878
6
6.Health Management Associates
$179,757

Chief Operating Officer Videos

Becoming a Chief Operating Officer FAQs

How long does it take to become a Chief Operating Officer?

It takes 11 years of professional experience to become a chief operating officer. That is the time it takes to learn specific chief operating officer skills, but does not account for time spent in formal education. If you include the normal education requirements to complete a college degree, then it takes 14 to 16 years years to become a chief operating officer.

How many years does it take to become a chief operating officer?

It takes 10 to 15 years to be a chief operating officer. That is 10 to 15 years of experience working in a specific industry. In addition, they will need to have at least a four-year degree. That's a total of 14 to 19 of education and work experience needed to become a chief operating officer (COO).

How much do COOs get paid?

COOs get paid around $177,066 a year. The range in what a COO can make starts from $44,000 a year to as high as $320,000 a year. Factors such as location and company can impact how much a COO earns.

Is a COO higher than a CFO?

Yes, a COO is higher than a CFO. Both the chief operating officer (COO) and the chief financial officer (CFO) report directly to the chief executive officer (CEO). However, COO is usually considered the second-highest C-suite executive rank after the CEO (i.e., CEO < COO < CFO)

What education does a COO need?

The education needed for a COO is at minimum a bachelor's degree in business administration or a related field. Landing a COO position can be difficult. Many candidates seek out additional credentials such as MBAs and certifications.

What is the difference between a CEO and a COO?

The difference between a CEO and a COO is that CEO is the highest-level C-suite role in a company, followed by the COO. The chief executive officer (CEO) bears responsibility for the success or failure of their companies.

What skills should a COO have?

The skills that a COO should have are a combination of business acumen, leadership skills, and dedication to your industry.

Networking -- Your ability to rise to the C-level broadly hinges on who you know. That's especially true with positions like the COO, where you'll be chosen based on how well your personality and specific skills complement the CEO.

Who works under a chief operating officer?

Those who work under a chief operating officer include everyone at the company except the CEO and board of directors. A chief operating officer (COO) is considered the second-highest C-suite executive rank after the CEO. As such, everyone other than the CEO reports to the COO eventually, as ideas and plans move up the ladder.

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