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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
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $150,000

    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 Career Paths

Chief Operating Officer
President & Chief Operating Officer
13 Yearsyrs
President & Chief Operating Officer
Managing Director
11 Yearsyrs
Chief Executive Officer And Operator
9 Yearsyrs
Owner And Chief Executive Officer
7 Yearsyrs
Board Of Directors Member
Chairperson, Board Of Directors
6 Yearsyrs
Chief Of Staff
7 Yearsyrs
Executive Vice President Of Sales
Executive Vice President
11 Yearsyrs
Executive Vice President Of Sales
13 Yearsyrs
Director Of Clinical Operations
Operations Vice President
11 Yearsyrs
Founder And Chief Executive Officer
President & Chief Technology Officer
13 Yearsyrs
Creative Director
Marketing Vice President
10 Yearsyrs
Chief Executive Officer
Business Director
10 Yearsyrs
Executive Assistant To Chief Executive Officer
Administrative Director
8 Yearsyrs
Planning Committee Member
Commissioner
5 Yearsyrs
Medical Director
Chief Nursing Officer
13 Yearsyrs
President/Chief Executive Officer
Director Of Strategy
11 Yearsyrs
Director Of Property Management
Director Of Facilities
11 Yearsyrs
Director Of Property Management
6 Yearsyrs
Corporate Development Director
Vice President, Corporate Development
12 Yearsyrs
Chief Development Officer
12 Yearsyrs
Chief Of Staff
Regional Director
9 Yearsyrs
Founder, Co-Owner
5 Yearsyrs
Recruitment Director
Director Of Talent Acquisition
11 Yearsyrs
Owner And Chief Executive Officer
Service Director
9 Yearsyrs
Founder And Director
Center Director
7 Yearsyrs
Vice President Of Marketing & Communications
Senior Vice President Of Marketing
13 Yearsyrs
Chief Development Officer
Deputy Director
9 Yearsyrs
Chief Executive Officer And Operator
Regional Vice President
11 Yearsyrs
Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer
Sales Vice President
12 Yearsyrs
Partner-Director
Development Vice President
10 Yearsyrs
Director Of Operations And Development
Executive Director Of Operations
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Chief Operating Officer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Managing Director 4.6 years
Top Careers Before Chief Operating Officer
Director 6.4%
President 6.3%
Consultant 4.5%
Manager 4.5%
Internship 2.6%
Top Careers After Chief Operating Officer
President 8.6%
Consultant 7.4%
Owner 4.4%
Principal 3.9%
Director 3.7%

Do you work as a Chief Operating Officer?

Chief Operating Officer Demographics

Gender

Male

69.2%

Female

22.1%

Unknown

8.7%
Ethnicity

White

62.1%

Hispanic or Latino

14.4%

Black or African American

11.7%

Asian

7.9%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

40.4%

French

13.9%

German

8.5%

Chinese

5.2%

Mandarin

4.9%

Italian

4.0%

Japanese

4.0%

Russian

3.7%

Portuguese

3.4%

Arabic

2.3%

Korean

2.1%

Cantonese

1.1%

Hindi

1.1%

Hebrew

1.1%

Dutch

0.9%

Carrier

0.9%

Greek

0.8%

Persian

0.7%

Czech

0.6%

Vietnamese

0.5%
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Chief Operating Officer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

18.3%

New York University

8.4%

University of Southern California

5.3%

Harvard University

5.2%

Webster University

4.6%

University of Texas at Austin

4.6%

George Washington University

4.3%

Michigan State University

4.3%

Columbia University

4.3%

University of Pennsylvania

4.3%

University of Florida

4.2%

Arizona State University

4.2%

Pennsylvania State University

3.7%

Northwestern University

3.7%

Cornell University

3.6%

Brigham Young University

3.6%

Ohio State University

3.5%

University of Washington

3.4%

Boston University

3.4%

University of California - Los Angeles

3.0%
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Majors

Business

39.2%

Finance

9.0%

Management

7.2%

Accounting

6.2%

Marketing

4.7%

Law

4.2%

Psychology

3.1%

Health Care Administration

2.9%

Political Science

2.9%

Economics

2.7%

Communication

2.4%

Computer Science

2.3%

Education

2.3%

Nursing

2.0%

Electrical Engineering

1.7%

Criminal Justice

1.6%

Human Resources Management

1.5%

Public Administration

1.5%

Computer Information Systems

1.4%

Mechanical Engineering

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

37.3%

Masters

35.1%

Other

15.1%

Doctorate

5.4%

Associate

3.8%

Certificate

2.6%

Diploma

0.5%

License

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$150,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$88,000
Min 10%
$150,000
Median 50%
$150,000
Median 50%
$150,000
Median 50%
$150,000
Median 50%
$150,000
Median 50%
$150,000
Median 50%
$150,000
Median 50%
$256,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Diversified.
Highest Paying City
Palo Alto, CA
Highest Paying State
South Dakota
Avg Experience Level
4.0 years
How much does a Chief Operating Officer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Chief Operating Officer in the United States is $150,695 per year or $72 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $88,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $256,000.

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 Outrigger Hotels Hawaii Urban Honolulu, HI Mar 25, 2016 $400,000
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 EMAS-AMC, Inc. Houston, TX Jul 08, 2015 $381,000 -
$450,000
Chief Operating Officer Tourneau LLC New York, NY Mar 17, 2016 $350,000 -
$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 Eargo, Inc. Mountain View, CA Oct 09, 2016 $350,000
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 Yale University New Haven, CT Jun 27, 2016 $300,000
COO-Underwater Integrity Solutions Ocean Installer Texas Inc. Houston, TX Jan 01, 2015 $300,000
Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer CTX USA LLC New York, NY Jul 28, 2016 $202,000 -
$300,000
Chief Operating Officer Pellucid Analytics Inc. Boulder, CO Sep 23, 2015 $202,000
Chief Operating Officer Testamerica Laboratories, Inc. Orlando, FL Oct 01, 2015 $200,000
Chief Operating Officer Greenlam America, Inc. Doral, FL Aug 07, 2016 $200,000
Chief Operating Officer Greenlam America, Inc. Doral, FL Jan 26, 2016 $200,000
Chief Operating Officer Everest Capital Asset Management, LLC Miami, FL May 12, 2015 $200,000 -
$400,000
Chief Operating Officer Everest Capital Asset Management, LLC Miami, FL May 26, 2015 $200,000 -
$400,000
Chief Operating Officer Gameday Entertainment LLC Littleton, CO Sep 15, 2015 $200,000
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 Operating Officer (COO) Promik Management Corporation Houston, TX Sep 01, 2015 $140,000
Chief Operating Officer Paradice Investment Management LLC Denver, CO Jan 08, 2016 $140,000 -
$165,000
Chief Operating Officer Paradice Investment Management LLC Denver, CO Jul 31, 2016 $140,000 -
$165,000
Chief Operating Officer Quickfee, Inc. Santa Monica, CA Mar 14, 2016 $140,000
Chief Operations Officer Back On My Feet Philadelphia, PA Apr 13, 2015 $140,000 -
$160,000

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Top Skills for A Chief Operating Officer

  1. Financial Management
  2. Revenue Growth
  3. Business Development
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Established a governance process for operations and financial management check points in meeting and exceeding customer satisfaction and business performance.
  • Replaced technology infrastructure and provided operational transparency, improving customer service and supporting revenue growth.
  • Spearheaded business development activities to target government and private-sector customers in correctional facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and International Markets.
  • Streamlined operations from 733 associates to 535 with standard operating procedures, process, continuous improvements and accountability.
  • Analyzed and modified compensation and benefits policies to establish competitive programs and ensure compliance with legal requirements.

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Top 10 Best States for Chief Operating Officers

  1. Illinois
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Rhode Island
  4. District of Columbia
  5. New Jersey
  6. Texas
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. South Dakota
  9. New York
  10. Maryland
  • (1,996 jobs)
  • (1,887 jobs)
  • (136 jobs)
  • (542 jobs)
  • (1,340 jobs)
  • (2,458 jobs)
  • (1,339 jobs)
  • (60 jobs)
  • (2,988 jobs)
  • (774 jobs)

Top Chief Operating Officer Employers

Jobs From 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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