Department lead, also known as a team leader is responsible for setting a nice and inspiring environment for the team. Setting clear-cut goals is also paramount and a Department Lead does that for an average of $17 an hour, which amounts to about $34,000 a year. A team leader oversees the general day-to-day operation and as such, solid communication and leadership skills are required.

A good Department Lead must always listen to the team members and provide results on the go. Personally, I would not want something who will not listen to what I want to say as my team leader and I am sure so many of us feel that way as well. Hence, they require good listening and organizational skills.

Unsurprisingly, Inventory Management is the major skill in the resume of most Department Leads and they major in Business as well, with the common degree being Bachelors Degrees and High School Diplomas.

What Does a Department Lead Do

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a department lead, we found that a lot of resumes listed 12.0% of department leads included cleanliness, while 11.3% of resumes included safety procedures, and 9.9% of resumes included customer service. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

Learn more about what a Department Lead does

How To Become a Department Lead

If you're interested in becoming a department lead, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 39.4% of department leads have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 5.6% of department leads have master's degrees. Even though some department leads have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become a Department Lead

Department Lead Career Paths

Average Salary for a Department Lead

Department Leads in America make an average salary of $42,113 per year or $20 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $79,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $22,000 per year.
Average Department Lead Salary
$42,113 Yearly
$20.25 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Department Lead

The role of a department lead includes a wide range of responsibilities. These responsibilities can vary based on an individual's specific job, company, or industry.Here are some general department lead responsibilities:

  • The odl will be responsible for leading a large start up organization. This is a unique role in which the candidate will be able to input to design, develop training
  • Provide direction and guidance to associates in the department regarding their workload to ensure its timely
  • Drive the receiving department effectively/consistently leading the team to meet

There are several types of department lead, including:

Shift Supervisor


Show me the money! As shift supervisor, it's your duty to count the money in the cash drawer (sometimes several times a day) to make sure your team is staying on track. But that's not all.

During your day, you get to be in charge of the team. You'll be in charge of telling employees where they'll be working and making sure that everyone shows up to their shift. In other words, you are the team leader. If you jump off a bridge, so does everyone else.

Before you jump off the bridge, you should know that you'll probably only be working 30-40 hours a week. Which isn't that bad. Sure, it's not retirement, but you got to have something to pay the bills. And this sure will get the job done.

  • Average Salary: $34,141
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Department Manager


A department manager is someone who has certain responsibilities over a certain area in a store or within an organization. Take a department store in the mall for example. Each store has several departments which are split up so the store runs efficiently on all ends.

Maybe you'll be the department manager for the kids section in a store at the mall or the electronics section at a Target or Walmart. Wherever you end up, your responsibilities are very similar. You'll be in charge of the area that you're assigned. Which means you're in charge of the team who works within that area.

As department manager, you get to hire and fire individuals, as well as set goals for the team to hit. You'll even be in charge of the department's budget, although a source higher up in the company will need to approve it. And, as long as your team is meeting goals and creating success, then your role as a department manager will be simple.

  • Average Salary: $67,160
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Sales Leader


A lot of sales leaders get caught up with meeting a certain quota. And sometimes that makes them forget all of their roles. You see, a sales leader isn't just someone who sells a product a lot of times. No, they're much more than that.

Sales leaders also have the responsibility of managing a team of team members, as well as ensuring the entire department is meeting or even exceeding their goals. That's almost as, if not more, important than meeting a quota. If the entire team is doing well, then the company is doing well.

To be the best sales leader you can be, you'll need to be target and deadline driven. That means you probably shouldn't procrastinate until the deadline. So long are the days of staying up late to get something done. As a sales leader, you're organized and able to hit the target long before the deadline.

  • Average Salary: $68,699
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

States With The Most Department Lead Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active department lead jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where department leads earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Department Lead Jobs By State

RankStateNumber of JobsAverage Salary
5New York3,108$74,648
7North Carolina2,804$49,265
13New Jersey1,899$78,228
19South Carolina1,440$49,975
36New Mexico650$38,488
39New Hampshire401$68,453
41West Virginia350$53,164
42South Dakota297$40,920
43North Dakota295$41,612
48Rhode Island198$87,173

Department Lead Education

Department Lead Majors

27.8 %

Department Lead Degrees


39.4 %

High School Diploma

24.0 %


21.8 %

Top Colleges for Department Leads

1. SUNY College of Technology at Delhi

Delhi, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




2. SUNY Farmingdale

Farmingdale, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




3. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition




4. University of Georgia

Athens, GA • Private

In-State Tuition




5. Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN • Private

In-State Tuition




6. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




7. Baylor University

Waco, TX • Private

In-State Tuition




8. SUNY College of Technology at Alfred

Alfred, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




9. Syracuse University

Syracuse, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




10. Ball State University

Muncie, IN • Private

In-State Tuition




Top Skills For a Department Lead

  • Cleanliness, 12.0%
  • Safety Procedures, 11.3%
  • Customer Service, 9.9%
  • Store Management, 7.8%
  • Inventory Management, 6.9%
  • Other Skills, 52.1%

Choose From 10+ Customizable Department Lead Resume templates

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

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Department Lead diversity

Department Lead Gender Distribution


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

  • Among department leads, 45.3% of them are women, while 54.7% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among department leads is White, which makes up 61.5% of all department leads.

  • The most common foreign language among department leads is Spanish at 57.8%.

Online Courses For Department Lead That You May Like

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3. Complete Inventory Management in Microsoft Excel & TALLY ERP9


Inventory, StockControl, Inventory Control, Microsoft Excel inventory, Stock Calculation, Inventory Valuation, LIFO, FIFO, WACC...

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Best States For a Department Lead

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a department lead. The best states for people in this position are Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York. Department leads make the most in Rhode Island with an average salary of $87,173. Whereas in Connecticut and New Jersey, they would average $80,785 and $78,228, respectively. While department leads would only make an average of $74,648 in New York, 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. Michigan

Total Department Lead Jobs: 3,264
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. New Jersey

Total Department Lead Jobs: 1,899
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. New York

Total Department Lead Jobs: 3,108
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Department Leads

How Do Department Leads Rate Their Jobs?

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Top Department Lead Employers

Most Common Employers For Department Lead

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
6Sears Holdings$33,034$15.88169
8Shoe Carnival$32,779$15.76209
9Goodies Etc.$32,732$15.7457
10The Home Depot$32,470$15.6179

Department Lead Videos