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Become A Chief Operating Officer

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Working As A Chief Operating Officer

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • Make Decisions

  • Stressful

  • $173,857

    Average Salary

What Does A Chief Operating Officer Do

Top executives devise strategies and policies to ensure that an organization meets its goals. They plan, direct, and coordinate operational activities of companies and organizations.

Duties

Top executives typically do the following:

  • Establish and carry out departmental or organizational goals, policies, and procedures
  • Direct and oversee an organization’s financial and budgetary activities
  • Manage general activities related to making products and providing services
  • Consult with other executives, staff, and board members about general operations
  • Negotiate or approve contracts and agreements
  • Appoint department heads and managers
  • Analyze financial statements, sales reports, and other performance indicators
  • Identify places to cut costs and to improve performance, policies, and programs

The responsibilities of top executives largely depend on an organization’s size. For example, an owner or manager of a small organization, such as an independent retail store, often is responsible for purchasing, hiring, training, quality control, and day-to-day supervisory duties. In large organizations, however, top executives typically focus more on formulating policies and strategic planning, while general and operations managers direct day-to-day operations.

The following are examples of types of top executives working in the private sector:

Chief executive officers (CEOs), who are also known by titles such as executive director, managing director, or president, provide overall direction for companies and organizations. CEOs manage company operations, formulate and implement policies, and ensure goals are met. They collaborate with and direct the work of other top executives and typically report to a board of directors.

Chief operating officers (COOs) oversee other executives who direct the activities of various departments, such as human resources and sales. They also carry out the organization’s guidelines on a day-to-day basis.

General and operations managers oversee operations that are too diverse and general to be classified into one area of management or administration. Responsibilities may include formulating policies, managing daily operations, and planning the use of materials and human resources. They make staff schedules, assign work, and ensure that projects are completed. In some organizations, the tasks of chief executive officers may overlap with those of general and operations managers.

The following are examples of types of top executives working in the public sector:

Mayors, along with governors, city managers, and county administrators, are chief executive officers of governments. They typically oversee budgets, programs, and the use of resources. Mayors and governors must be elected to office, whereas managers and administrators are typically appointed. 

Most educational systems, regardless of whether they are public or private school systems, also employ executive officers. The following are examples of top executives working in the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary educational school systems:

School superintendents and college or university presidents are chief executive officers of school districts and postsecondary schools. They manage issues such as student achievement, budgets and resources, general operations, and relations with government agencies and other stakeholders.

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How To Become A Chief Operating Officer

Although education and training requirements vary widely by position and industry, many top executives have at least a bachelor’s degree and a considerable amount of work experience. 

Education

Many top executives have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration or in an area related to their field of work. Top executives in the public sector often have a degree in business administration, public administration, law, or the liberal arts. Top executives of large corporations often have a master’s degree in business administration (MBA).

College presidents and school superintendents are typically required to have a master’s degree, although a doctorate is often preferred.

Although many mayors, governors, or other public sector executives have at least a bachelor’s degree, these positions typically do not have any specific education requirements.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Many top executives advance within their own firm, moving up from lower level managerial or supervisory positions. However, other companies may prefer to hire qualified candidates from outside their organization. Top executives who are promoted from lower level positions may be able to substitute experience for education to move up in the company. For example, in industries such as retail trade or transportation, workers without a college degree may work their way up to higher levels within the company to become executives or general managers.

Chief executives typically need extensive managerial experience. Executives are also expected to have experience in the organization’s area of specialty. Most general and operations managers hired from outside an organization need lower level supervisory or management experience in a related field.

Some general managers advance to higher level managerial or executive positions. Company training programs, executive development programs, and certification can often benefit managers or executives hoping to advance.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Top executives must be able to communicate clearly and persuasively. They must effectively discuss issues and negotiate with others, direct subordinates, and explain their policies and decisions to those within and outside the organization.

Decisionmaking skills. Top executives need decisionmaking skills when setting policies and managing an organization. They must assess different options and choose the best course of action, often daily.

Leadership skills. Top executives must be able to lead an organization successfully by coordinating policies, people, and resources.

Management skills. Top executives must shape and direct the operations of an organization. For example, they must manage business plans, employees, and budgets.

Problem-solving skills. Top executives need to identify and resolve issues within an organization. They must be able to recognize shortcomings and effectively carry out solutions.

Time-management skills. Top executives do many tasks at the same time, typically under their own direction, to ensure that their work gets done and that they meet their goals.

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Chief Operating Officer jobs

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Average Length of Employment
President/Owner 7.8 years
Managing Partner 5.0 years
Director/Manager 4.8 years
Operating Partner 4.6 years
Principal 4.5 years
Executive Director 4.4 years
Managing Director 4.4 years
Division Manager 4.3 years
Vice President 4.3 years
Operations Manager 4.1 years
Corporate Director 4.0 years
President 3.9 years
Director 3.7 years
Area Director 3.7 years
Associate Director 3.5 years
Planning Director 3.5 years
Head Operator 3.5 years
Division Director 3.5 years
Regional Director 3.5 years
National Director 3.5 years
Top Employers Before
Director 5.7%
President 5.5%
Consultant 4.2%
Manager 4.2%
Top Employers After
President 7.1%
Consultant 6.6%
Principal 3.8%
Owner 3.6%
Director 3.3%

Chief Operating Officer Demographics

Gender

Male

69.6%

Female

27.9%

Unknown

2.5%
Ethnicity

White

81.0%

Hispanic or Latino

8.5%

Asian

7.9%

Unknown

1.9%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

39.5%

French

15.5%

German

7.5%

Mandarin

5.1%

Chinese

4.9%

Italian

4.4%

Portuguese

3.9%

Japanese

3.7%

Russian

3.1%

Arabic

2.5%

Korean

1.5%

Cantonese

1.5%

Carrier

1.2%

Hebrew

1.2%

Hindi

1.1%

Persian

0.9%

Greek

0.8%

Vietnamese

0.7%

Czech

0.7%

Dutch

0.5%
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Chief Operating Officer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

18.1%

New York University

7.0%

University of Southern California

6.1%

Harvard University

5.9%

Michigan State University

5.4%

Cornell University

4.8%

University of Pennsylvania

4.5%

George Washington University

4.3%

Arizona State University

4.1%

University of Texas at Austin

4.0%

Webster University

4.0%

Northwestern University

3.8%

Northeastern University

3.7%

Syracuse University

3.6%

Columbia University

3.6%

Boston University

3.6%

University of Florida

3.4%

Brigham Young University

3.4%

Georgia State University

3.3%

Capella University

3.2%
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Majors

Business

39.1%

Finance

8.6%

Management

7.4%

Accounting

5.7%

Marketing

4.6%

Law

3.9%

Health Care Administration

3.1%

Psychology

3.0%

Communication

3.0%

Political Science

2.9%

Economics

2.5%

Education

2.5%

Computer Science

2.4%

Electrical Engineering

1.9%

Nursing

1.8%

Computer Information Systems

1.6%

Human Resources Management

1.6%

Public Administration

1.6%

Criminal Justice

1.5%

Project Management

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

35.9%

Masters

34.9%

Other

16.4%

Doctorate

5.2%

Associate

3.9%

Certificate

3.1%

Diploma

0.4%

License

0.2%
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Real Chief Operating Officer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Chief Operating Officer Alevo, Inc. Concord, NC Sep 16, 2016 $518,000
Chief Operating Officer Trunk Holdings LLC New York, NY Jul 02, 2015 $500,000
Chief Operating Officer Avgol America, Inc. Mocksville, NC Sep 16, 2016 $400,000
Chief Operating Officer Outrigger Hotels Hawaii Urban Honolulu, HI Jan 06, 2016 $400,000
Chief Operating Officer Outrigger Hotels Hawaii Urban Honolulu, HI Mar 25, 2016 $400,000
Chief Operating Officer EMAS-AMC, Inc. Houston, TX Jul 08, 2015 $381,000 -
$450,000
Chief Operating Officer Charter Communications, Inc. New York, NY Sep 15, 2015 $350,000 -
$750,000
Chief Operating Officer Everest Capital LLC Miami, FL Dec 22, 2015 $350,000
Chief Operating Officer Tourneau LLC New York, NY Mar 17, 2016 $350,000 -
$450,000
Chief Operating Officer Eargo, Inc. Mountain View, CA Oct 09, 2016 $350,000
Chief Operations Officer Odessa Technologies, Inc. Philadelphia, PA Jan 12, 2015 $342,000
Chief Operating Officer Over The Top Networks International, Inc. Austin, TX Sep 24, 2015 $330,000
Chief Operating Officer Goodman Networks, Inc. Plano, TX Jan 20, 2016 $325,000 -
$650,000
Chief Operating Officer Citizens of Humanity, LLC Huntington Park, CA Jul 24, 2015 $300,000
Chief Operating Officer Mas Energy, LLC FL Sep 06, 2016 $202,738
Chief Operating Officer Pellucid Analytics Inc. Boulder, CO Sep 23, 2015 $202,000
Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer CTX USA LLC New York, NY Jul 28, 2016 $202,000 -
$300,000
Chief Operating Officer Xtime Inc. Redwood City, CA May 18, 2015 $200,000
Chief Operating Officer and Engineering Manager Ecosave Inc. Philadelphia, PA Jul 22, 2016 $200,000 -
$250,000
Chief Operating Officer Greenlam America, Inc. Doral, FL Aug 07, 2016 $200,000
Chief Operating Officer Artex, Inc. Landover, MD Sep 09, 2016 $200,000
Chief Operating Officer Texas LNG Brownsville LLC Houston, TX Aug 01, 2015 $200,000
Chief Operations Officer Dynamic Pharma Group Inc. Orlando, FL Nov 21, 2016 $143,000
Chief Operating Officer The Andrew Lauren Company, Inc. San Diego, CA Sep 10, 2015 $141,877 -
$175,000
Chief Operating Officer Numalliance North America, Inc. Elk Grove Village, IL Jul 10, 2015 $141,835
Chief Operations Officer Kanopy LLC San Francisco, CA Jun 01, 2015 $140,920
Chief Operations Officer Back On My Feet Philadelphia, PA Apr 13, 2015 $140,000 -
$160,000
Chief Operating Officer (COO) Promik Management Corporation Houston, TX Sep 01, 2015 $140,000
Chief Operating Officer Quickfee, Inc. Santa Monica, CA Mar 14, 2016 $140,000
Chief Operating Officer Paradice Investment Management LLC Denver, CO Jan 08, 2016 $140,000 -
$165,000

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Top Skills for A Chief Operating Officer

FinancialManagementRevenueGrowthProceduresRegulatoryComplianceBusinessStrategiesBusinessDevelopmentOversightFacilityCustomerServicePSafetyPayrollBusinessPlanHumanResourcesDailyOperationsLogisticsProjectManagementWebAdditionalHealthcare

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Top Chief Operating Officer Skills

  1. Financial Management
  2. Revenue Growth
  3. Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided strategic guidance on new product development, capital expenditures, and financial management decisions.
  • Chartered development of referral network to achieve 100% revenue growth in competitive environment.
  • Developed standardized procedures for the centralized call center.
  • Reorganized the nursing and clinical operations divisions to focus on regulatory compliance, Joint Commission readiness and implementation of operational improvements.
  • Demonstrate successful execution of business strategies for company products and services.

Top Chief Operating Officer Employers

Chief Operating Officer Videos

Career Advice on becoming a Chief Operating Officer by Steve K (Highlights)

Career Advice on becoming a Chief Operating Officer by Rob S (Highlights)

Edward L. Monser, President and Chief Operating Officer of Emerson

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