By Gabrielle Kratsas
Published December 2014
Whether you’re looking for a career that offers more than that typical entry-level position, or you’re already in that position and are looking to score that next-level promotion, a bachelor’s degree in operations management is the right track for you. With the ability to personalize your college course list, a degree in operations management allows graduates to achieve higher-up, managerial career positions in a multitude of fields, such as IT, retail, the food service industry and more.
For those of you who are already working one or more jobs, or who have been working in–and not advancing in–your career field of choice for years, the following list of online colleges caters to you! Not only does online/distance learning enable students to learn whenever and wherever, but many of the schools on this list only take applicants who either have an associate’s degree or previous work experience in a related industry. For those of you who are looking to start from scratch, most of these schools will still take applicants with little-to-no work experience or credit hours; so, we all win.
The following list was developed using Wikipedia’s list of accredited online colleges, U.S. News & World Report, Best Value Schools, and research of each individual school’s online programs and offered degrees. These schools are ranked according to the average “net cost” of undergraduate tuition, as reported by College Navigator. The “Unique Courses” sections list a few examples of the many courses offered within each college’s program.
15. Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, N.H.
Operations & Project Management Online Degree
Net Price: $28,095
Overview: SNHU’s online operations management degree program combines core business training with more of a focus on areas like demand forecasting, production planning, inventory control, project management, logistics, supply chain management and quality control. This program is perfect for those students who are interested in the production of goods and services and the application of quantitative methods to find solutions to problems within business. Experienced faculty, who know how to apply theory to real-life situations, teach all of the courses in this program. The program also can prepare students who are interested in taking the Project Management Institute’s CAPM certification exam.
According to the program’s website, “Students in our online Project Management Degree programs gain a strong foundation in the approaches and methodologies used by successful organizations in applying the principles of supply chain management, statistical analyses, project management and Six Sigma.” According to a national survey in 2012, SNHU’s online bachelor’s degrees ranked in the top 20, nationwide.
Unique Courses: Management of Service Operations, Six Sigma Quality Management and Management Science Through Spreadsheets
Net Price: $20,266
Overview: Through the Forbes School of Business, students can earn their BA in operations management and analysis completely online. The program provides students with the analytical skills to make management decisions for operational success. On the program’s website, Dr. Alan Swank, and assistant professor within the Forbes School of Business, describes the program in a video. Dr. Swank is one of the many faculty who have had real-world experience in owning and operating their own firms for years. He explains that the program is perfect for “students interested in design and management of manufacturing processes. And it’s a program I’m proud to be a part of.”
Ashford University is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), and this specific program is accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE).
Unique Courses: Production Control, Impact of Globalization and Decision Modeling & Analysis
Unique Courses: Strategic Supply and Master Planning, Total Quality Management and Sustainability Management
12. Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa
Online Operations Management Degree
Net Price: $19,307
Overview: Briar Cliff’s online operations degree program will equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to become successful leaders in business operations—especially in the manufacturing and production industries. Students will study areas such as project management, material resource planning, quality control, inventory, logistics, purchasing and productions in the public and private sectors. This university partners with regional businesses and industries in order to specifically tailor students’ degrees to their present or perspective employers’ needs. Online, students will experience “compelling courses, innovative faculty and through-provoking forums for discussion,” according to the program’s website. Every session will teach students the practical and real-world skills they’ll immediately be able to put into practice.
Briar Cliff was ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Midwest Colleges” for 2015. The school is accredited as a degree-granting institution by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Unique Courses: Microcomputer Applications for Business, Organizational Communications and Methods of Improvement
11. Ohio University in Athens, Ohio
Technical Operations Management Online
Net Price: $17,846
Overview: OU’s technical operations management online program is the first of its kind in the state of Ohio. In this program, students will learn to design, control and manage technical processes while continuously improving an organization’s operations. This specific field covers a wide range of technical career options, including manufacturing and service-related business. Students will study topics such as project management, supervision and leadership, enterprise computer methods and quality assurance. Since they will be studying within the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, students have the option to cater to their interests by choosing courses within the range of engineering technology management (ETM) and business courses.
Students who have already earned a technical associates degree can earn their BS in just two years with this program. OU is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
Unique Courses: Project Management, Supervision and Leadership and Enterprise Computer Methods
Net Price: $17,193
Overview: Students with an associate’s degree or equivalent have the opportunity to learn about project management, project planning, purchasing, supply chain management and more through AIU Online’s operations management program. The program offers upper-level business courses that cover theories of management, as well as ethical and legal issues. According to their website, “AIU Online’s course delivery system provides students with feature-rich course content that utilizes Flash technology.” All professors within AIU are industry specialists, and students have 24/7 access and support with their programs.
AIU Online is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association.
Unique Courses: Managerial Accounting, Marketing Management and Advanced Entrepreneurship
9. Washington State University in Pullman, Wash.
Management and Operations Online
Net Price: $16,287
Overview: According to WSU’s online management and operations program website, the “degree teaches you how to motivate individuals, evaluate business trends, and understand the overall planning, structure and operation of organizations.” Graduates of this program can score a career as an account manager, human resource manager, insurance executive, tax analyst and international consultant. Along with traditional course requirements, this program requires students to take six credits of global learning to develop skills and knowledge to succeed in the global marketplace, including study abroad, international internships and other approved coursework.
WSU’s College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), which is the premier accrediting agency for degree programs in business administration, according to WSU’s site.
Unique Courses: Law and the Legal Environment of Business, Small Business policy and Leadership Skills for Managers
8. University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in Minneapolis, Minn.
Bachelor of Applied Science in Manufacturing Operations Management (Hybrid) Online
Net Price: $15,531
Overview: The online manufacturing operations management program at U of M “provides in-depth understanding of the technologies, processes, financial factors, and key strategies that sustain productivity and competitiveness, as well as the systems and critical thinking skills needed to immediately apply this knowledge,” according to U of M’s website. Not only does to program provide students with the business capabilities needed to respond to real-world organizational objectives, but it also teaches the technical and theoretical competencies required to analyze manufacturing systems. This program enables graduates to move into careers such as a production supervisor, materials manager, manufacturing manager, production planner, project leader, lead technician, order process analyst and business analyst.
The U of M is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Unique Courses: Manufacturing in a Global Economy, Communicating for Results and Innovation for Leaders and Organizations
7. University of Phoenix in Phoenix, Ariz.
Bachelor of Science in Business with Operations Management Certificate Online
Net Price: $14,252
Overview: The University of Phoenix’s business degree with an operations management certificate provides students with a strategic approach to improving business planning, global sourcing and procurement, production and more. Because of the certificate option in this program, students can move core courses to the front of their degree program so that they may achieve their career goals sooner. The certificate can help those already in the career field achieve a new position or a promotion. Students will study areas of accounting, critical thinking and decision-making, economics, finance, business law and ethics, management, marketing, organizational behavior, business statistical techniques and information systems.
University of Phoenix is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a member of the North Central Association.
Unique Courses: Statistics for Decision Making, Organizational Behavior for Managers and Lean Enterprise
6. Granite State College in Concord, N.H.
Operations Management Online
Net Price: $14,025
Overview: With Granite’s online operations management program, students will gain knowledge of operations, productions, quality, project management and technology. The business program puts an emphasis on project management, supply chain management, quantitative methods and quality control. The program also prepares students for the GSC’s Master of Science in Project Management for those who aim to continue their education. After graduation, students will be qualified for careers such as a business systems analyst, director of operations, manager of customer care and more.
All of Granite’s online degree programs are accredited by the New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC). This year, Granite was ranked the No. 1 least expensive college in New England by the U.S. Department of Education. U.S. News & World Report also rated both Granite’s online bachelor’s programs and online graduate business degree programs among their top lists in 2014. Best Value Schools gave Granite the No. 3 spot in their “Top 10 Cheap Online Supply Chain and Operations Management Degree Programs (Bachelor’s)” list.
Unique Courses: Financial Modeling and Decision-Making, Project Management Strategies and Organizational Behavior or Leadership
5. Minnesota State University in Moorhead, Minn.
B.S. in Operations Management Online
Net Price: $13,267
Overview: MSUM offers an online operations management degree that students may take completely online or as a hybrid—online combined with in-person night classes. According to the school’s website, combining a two-year technical degree with the leadership training that comes with a four-year B.S. degree enables graduates of this program to be more likely to gain promotions and hold senior management and leadership positions. The website says, “Obtaining a four-year B.S. degree will help you increase your earning potential, expand your career options, and allow you to utilize your technical background while becoming a leader in your chosen field.”
This specific program is accredited by The Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE).
Unique Courses: Computer Applications for Technologists, Cost Analysis and Methods Improvement
4. Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls, Ore.
Online Operations Management
Net Price: $13,000
Overview: Oregon Tech’s online operations management degree program prepares students for careers in fields like production planning, inventory control, industrial engineering, production supervision and quality control. Although students can start the program regardless of how many credits they come in with, those with an associate’s degree can work with an advisor to create a personalized degree completion plan built upon the credits they already have. Because of the significant number of elective credits within the operations management program, students can design programs that meet their personal and professional goals.
Oregon Tech’s business programs received specialized accreditation through the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE).
Unique Courses: Spreadsheet Software Lab, Decision Support Systems and Cases in Strategy and Policy
3. Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz.
Operations Management Technology Online
Net Price: $12,380
Overview: With a concentration in operations management technology from ASU’s Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering, students will gain the knowledge and skills for success as a manager, including organization, motivation and hiring skills, as well as resource development. The online program at ASU is a flexible 60-credit-hour degree; however, it is specifically designed for those students who have already earned an associate’s degree from another accredited university.
ASU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges. U.S. News & World Report ranked ASU No. 9 on their list of “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.”
Unique Courses: Occupational Safety and Ergonomics, Ethical Issues in Technology and Industrial Human Resources Management
2. California State University – East Bay in Hayward, Calif.
Business Administration with the Operations and Enterprise Resource Management Option Online
Net Price: $11,230
Overview: CSU East Bay’s various online business administration programs prepare students for success in their professional careers in the changing global business environment. The program is designed around a set of core courses to help students develop general business perspective and skills. The area of specialization that students choose, which, in this case, is the operations and enterprise resource management option, is flexible and customizable because of numerous available business elective courses. According to the program’s website, “The program is designed to encourage students to actively participate in shaping their program to fit their individual needs.”
The College of Business and Economics is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). East Bay was also rated No. 10 on Best Value School’s “Top 10 Cheap Online Supply Chain and Operations Management Degree Programs (Bachelor’s)” list.
Unique Courses: Theories of Management, Supply Chain Management & E-procurement and Enterprise Resources Management
1. University of North Carolina – Pembroke in Pembroke, N.C.
Applied Information Technology (Operations Management) Online
Net Price: $9,632
Overview: UNC’s online operations management degree program is a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) program, which is exclusively designed for students who already have at least two years of transferable credit from other accredited institutions. This program is for students looking for a broad and more flexible degree program for advancing or becoming more established in their careers. Specifically, the applied information technology (operations management) program builds computer programming skills in the core requirements and enhances the students’ knowledge of management of information technology and communication through courses in decision sciences. Graduates of this program will be qualified for a wide variety of practical careers dealing with computers and computing/statistical skills and managerial decision making.
UNC Pembroke is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Unique Courses: Success in Organizations, Organizational Crisis Management and Operations Management