How to Become a

Plant Manager

The complete career guide to be a Plant Manager: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $103,720
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • -3.7%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Don't Take Work Home
    Career Attribute
  • Flexible Hours
    Career Attribute

The plant manager manages and provides leadership to all employees at a manufacturing facility, to efficiently develop and maintain strategies that optimize production, packaging, inventory and distribution, at minimum cost, to meet customer requests and expectations.


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What is a Plant Manager?


The following duties are executed by the plant manager:

  • Supervise and work alongside the technical lead, who will assist with technical aspects of equipment between multiple work sites; direct and oversee the work quality of engineers, technicians, office staff and maintenance supervisors.
  • Encourage the completion of paperwork and recordkeeping documentation by customers for all internal and external auditors in a timely, effective manner.
  • Take the lead in hiring new recruits, coaching and developing their work ethic for good performance on a day to day basis, ensuring that the right products are distributed to clients as specified.
  • Organise and plan the manufacturing operations of the facility, keeping in mind company long-term goals to achieve key performance indicators (KPIs), while staying ahead of current trends.
  • Promote the use and implementation of new processes, establishing practices that are in accordance with the facility’s quality, and environmental health and safety guidelines.

Day In The Life

While the duties may vary, the plant manager is an integral part of coordinating and directing the daily functioning of a manufacturing facility. To do this well, the individual must be innovative and find solutions on the go to maximize customer satisfaction and overall effectiveness while reducing costs. One of the ways plant managers do this is by brainstorming and building strategies that makes certain production goals are met at the least possible manufacturing expenditure. Coordinating and collaborating with various department heads, you are instrumental in making purchasing, production and distribution operations run smoothly.

As a plant manager, you may look forward to overseeing one manufacturing plant or an entire section of operations in the area. Whether it is assigning workers to responsibilities that complement their strengths to collecting vital data that pinpoints spaces for improvement, you function as the line of defense for maintaining top notch quality operations year-round. Other regular duties would include instituting company guidelines and policies, training managers and administrators on foundational skills, tracking a production schedule and providing helpful feedback to staff.

Work Schedule

Plant managers typically join full-time positions and according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), working hours are between Monday to Friday, approximately 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., i.e. 40 hours per week. There can be occasional local travel during business hours but some overnight and out of the area travel is not uncommon.

The work environment can be challenging for individuals that have respiratory issues, as you may be frequently exposed to various fumes and airborne particles at the plant, along with vibrations or moving machinery. The noise level at such settings is loud in spite of the work environment being regularly monitored.

Growth Of The Job

Overseas competition continues to be a challenge to workers in this industry. While there may be fewer jobs than expected, job opportunities will continue to grow at 9% from 2010 to 2020. A major reason for higher job potential is due to a majority of older workers retiring from their existing positions.

Typical Employers

Plant managers work at a wide range of industrial manufacturing or production companies across the country.

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How To Become a Plant Manager

To become a successful plant manager, you do not need to fulfill any strict educational requirements, however, most positions require their employees to at least possess a four-year degree in relevant fields, such as business studies or industrial management. Your coursework should have concentrated on subject matter like cost accounting, finance, business strategy, supply chain management, or human resources. If you are looking to join work at a large international manufacturing plant, you will eventually have to complete a graduate program in business management. In case you find promising employment straight out of the program, some plants provide for extensive training to acquaint new hires with the facility’s production procedures.

To excel in this particular career path, it is best if you possess first-hand knowledge of industrial manufacturing or production, either through an apprenticeship or summer internship. Alternatively, you can choose to move up the career ladder by starting off as a production labour, then working up to a managerial position. In such a case, you must be successful in proving your ability to manage all staff, and expand your understanding of plant management strategies.

Plant Manager Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Plant Manager salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Plant Manager's can make an average annual salary of $103,720, or $50 per hour. On the lower end, they can make $72,210 or $35 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #58 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Average Salary Nationally

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Plant Manager. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Plant Managers

  • 1.3%   Doctorate
  • 12.2%   Masters
  • 31.8%   Bachelors
  • 9.2%   Associates
  • 23.5%   College
  • 18.7%   High School
  • 3.3%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Plant Manager job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of -6,400 jobs for a total of 167,000 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a -3.7% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Above Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #686 Nationally for All Careers

  • Above Avg. Growth Nationally

What Companies Employ The Most Plant Managers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Motor vehicle parts manufacturing 7,600 -200 0%
Management of companies and enterprises 7,300 300 0%
Plastics product manufacturing 7,300 -600 -1%

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