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Business Operations Specialist Career

How to Become a Business Operations Specialist

Successful companies are like well-oiled machines with many moving parts. The people behind the scenes making them run smoothly are business operations specialists. With strategic thinking, problem-solving prowess, and operational expertise, these specialists play an invaluable role in optimizing processes, streamlining workflows, and fostering business growth. If you’re interested in exploring what it takes to become a business operations specialist, keep reading!  

What Is a Business Operations Specialist?

male DevOps engineer

A business operations specialist plays a critical part in optimizing the efficiency and effectiveness of a company's operations. They’re responsible for analyzing and improving various aspects of business processes, systems, and workflows to drive productivity, reduce costs, and enhance overall performance.

These business professionals collaborate with just about every team within an organization (particularly finance, human resources, accounts receivable, supply chain, and technology) to find areas of improvement and implement strategic initiatives. Business operations specialists use data analysis, project management methodologies, and industry best practices to eliminate bottlenecks and enhance overall efficiency.

Business operations specialists also contribute to strategic planning by analyzing market trends, identifying opportunities for growth, and recommending strategies to optimize business operations in alignment with organizational objectives.

Key Responsibilities of a Business Operations Specialist

Business operations specialists wear many hats in their pursuit to drive efficiency and optimize an organization’s operations. Some of their most common day-to-day tasks include:

  • Analyzing and improving organizational processes for maximum efficiency: This includes conducting in-depth analyses of existing processes, identifying bottlenecks, and implementing strategies for business development. 
  • Identifying and implementing cost-saving strategies: Business operations specialists closely examine financial aspects of operations, identifying opportunities for cost reduction and implementing strategies to maximize cost efficiency without compromising product or service quality.
  • Collaborating with various departments to streamline operations: It’s important for business operations specialists to work closely with different teams to ensure seamless coordination and alignment of operational goals. 
  • Developing and maintaining performance metrics and reports: Business operations specialists establish key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to evaluate different operational areas. 
  • Implementing and monitoring process improvement initiatives: This involves monitoring the effectiveness of enhancement initiatives, tracking progress, and making adjustments to drive consistent improvements.
  • Ensuring compliance with industry standards and regulations: These professionals are responsible for staying up to date with industry regulations and standards. An important part of the job is making sure operational processes align with legal and regulatory requirements.
  • Assisting with project management and resource allocation: Business operations specialists actively participate in project management activities, supporting the planning, execution, and monitoring of projects.

Education and Certification Requirements

There are typical educational and certification requirements that can enhance your qualifications and opportunities for career advancement as a business operations specialist. These requirements include:

  • Completing a bachelor's degree: A bachelor's degree in business, operations management, or a related field serves as a solid foundation for a career as a business operations specialist. This educational background provides you with a comprehensive understanding of business principles, operations management concepts, and strategic decision-making.
  • Pursue an advanced degree: While not always mandatory, earning a master's degree such as an MBA (Master of Business Administration) can greatly increase your prospects for advanced positions like those of a business operations manager. Advanced degrees offer specialized knowledge and equip you with deeper analytical and leadership skills.
  • Obtain professional certifications: Professional certifications are valuable credentials that demonstrate your expertise and commitment to excellence in the field. As a future job applicant, you can get a leg up on the competition in the job market thanks to certifications. Some widely recognized certifications for business operations specialists include:
  • Project Management Professional (PMP): This certification from Project Management Institute (PMI) validates your knowledge and experience in project management, a key aspect of business operations.
  • Lean Six Sigma: Lean Six Sigma certifications, such as Green Belt or Black Belt showcase your proficiency in process improvement methodologies and your ability to identify and eliminate inefficiencies within operations.
  • Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP): A CSCP certification, which is offered by the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM), demonstrates your expertise in supply chain management, an essential component of business operations.

Best Degrees for a Business Operations Specialist

Supply Chain and Operations Management – B.S.

This online supply chain and operations management program will...

This online supply chain and operations...

This online supply chain and operations management program will prepare you for real-world experiences in business.

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish similar programs within 42 months.
  • Tuition: $3,575 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 41 courses in this program.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Operations Manager
  • Facilities Manager
  • Industrial Production Manager
  • Distribution Manager 
  • Buyer/Purchasing Agent
  • Project Management Specialist

With incredible growth opportunities in supply chain and operations management, this program helps prepare student to meet industry needs and become credentialed experts.

Business Management – B.S. Business Administration

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:...

Hone your business acumen and garner added...

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:

  • Time: 68% of graduates finish within 36 months.
  • Tuition: $3,755 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Account executive
  • Business analyst
  • Program manager
  • Director or senior director
  • Vice president

This online degree program is an excellent choice for kick-starting your organizational management career.

Finance – B.S.

This online finance program is career-focused so you will gain...

This online finance program is career-focused so...

This online finance program is career-focused so you will gain relevant industry skills.

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish similar programs within 42 months.
  • Tuition: $3,575 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 41 courses in this program.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Financial analyst
  • Finance director 
  • Investment banker
  • Insurance agent
  • Accountant

The competency-based model at WGU allows you to move as quickly as you can master the material, and do your coursework on your schedule. Flexibility is key with the B.S. in finance at WGU.

Master of Business Administration

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business...

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on...

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business management, strategy, and leading teams:

  • Time: Graduates can finish in 12 months.
  • Tuition: $4,755 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • President and CEO
  • Vice president
  • Executive director
  • Chief strategic officer

Our competency-based model gives you an innovative learning experience you won't find anywhere else—and our MBA grads tell us they loved accelerating their program to see a faster ROI.

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Essential Skills for a Business Operations Specialist

female business professional standing while she leads the meeting

To excel as a business operations specialist, there are a few necessary skills that you should focus on building. These skills will help you drive efficiency and contribute to the overall success of the organization. Here are some of the key skills required for this profession.:

  • Strong analytical and problem-solving abilities: As a business operations specialist, you need to possess keen analytical and problem-solving skills to identify operational inefficiencies, analyze data, and develop effective solutions. 
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills: Effective communication is important in collaborating with other departments, stakeholders, and senior management. 
  • Ability to manage multiple projects and prioritize tasks: Business operations specialists often handle multiple projects simultaneously. Being able to effectively manage your time, prioritize tasks, and meet deadlines is crucial to successful project outcomes.
  • Proficiency in data analysis and reporting tools: Proficiency in data analysis tools, such as Excel or statistical software, allows you to analyze large datasets, identify patterns, and extract insights. 
  • Familiarity with process improvement methodologies, such as Lean Six Sigma: Knowledge of process improvement methodologies equips you with the tools and strategic approach to identify and eliminate waste, improve efficiency, and streamline operations. 
  • Understanding of financial management and budgeting: Business operations specialists should have a solid understanding of financial management principles and budgeting. This knowledge helps you make informed decisions concerning resource allocation.

How Much Does a Business Operations Specialist Make?


The salary prospects for business operations specialists are promising. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for business operations specialists and related jobs such as operations analyst or operations associate is approximately $75,990. (Note that this figure represents the median, with 50% of professionals earning below this amount and 50% earning above it.)

For those starting out in the field or in entry-level positions, the lowest 10% of business operations specialists make less than $40,310 annually. On the other hand, for experienced professionals and those in senior roles, the highest 10% can earn more than $131,260 per year.

What Is the Projected Job Growth?


The job outlook for business operations specialists is highly favorable, with strong projected growth and demand in the coming years. According to the projected data, employment of these professionals is expected to grow by 7% from 2021 to 2031.

Where Does a Business Operations Specialist Work?


A business operations specialist can find employment in various work settings, offering a diverse range of opportunities. Some of the potential work environments include manufacturing and product companies, technology and software firms, financial institutions, government agencies, healthcare organizations, and consulting firms.  

Interested in Becoming a Business Operations Specialist?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this lucrative career.

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