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Area Manager vs. district manager: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

In the business world, there are many different types of management positions. Two common roles are that of an area manager and a district manager. Though both positions are in management, there are several key differences between them.

In this article, we discuss the differences between an area manager and a district manager, and we provide tips for those interested in pursuing a career in management.

What is an Area Manager?

An Area Manager is responsible for a specific geographical area within a company. They oversee the operations of all the company’s locations within that area. Area Managers develop strategies to improve efficiency and profitability. They also create plans to increase sales and market share. They monitor the performance of each location and provide feedback to managers. Area Managers also resolve conflicts between locations. They work closely with the district managers to ensure that all locations are meeting company standards.

What is a District Manager?

A district manager is a high-level manager who oversees a group of stores or locations within a larger company. The district manager is responsible for ensuring that the stores under their supervision are meeting sales goals and running smoothly. They develop strategies to increase sales and profitability, and they may also be responsible for training and coaching store managers and other employees. District managers typically work in the retail or hospitality industry, and they may be responsible for stores in a specific region or area.

Area Manager vs. District Manager

Here are the main differences between an area manager and a district manager.

Job Duties

A district manager oversees a specific geographic area for a company and manages the employees within that territory. They’re in charge of ensuring each location operates efficiently, meets goals and complies with company policies. District managers may hire new staff members, train existing employees, oversee budgets and manage scheduling. In contrast, area managers oversee multiple districts within an organization, but they don’t manage every aspect of those districts.

For example, suppose a clothing retailer has one district in a major city and another in a suburb. The district manager for the city location might be responsible for ordering inventory, maintaining equipment and hiring and training new staff members. The area manager for this region might monitor these activities, but their duties might focus more on evaluating the performance of this district and reporting to higher-level executives.

Job Requirements

Area managers and district managers typically need a bachelor’s degree in business administration, marketing or another related field. Some employers prefer candidates to have a master’s degree as well, but it is not required for entry-level positions. Additionally, many area managers and district managers pursue certifications through the National Association of Purchasing Management (NAPM) or the Institute of Supply Management (ISM). These organizations offer training programs that teach professionals how to use purchasing software and other tools they might need on the job.

Work Environment

District managers typically work in an office setting, but they may travel to visit their employees and customers. They also spend a lot of time on the phone with clients or vendors. Area managers usually work in an office environment as well, but they often travel to visit their district managers and teams. They may also travel to meet with clients or attend conferences.


There are several similarities in the skills used by area managers and district managers. Both roles require excellent communication skills, as they need to be able to interact with employees, customers and other stakeholders. They also both need to have strong organizational skills to manage their time and resources effectively.

However, there are some differences in the skills needed for these two positions. Area managers tend to focus on more operational tasks, such as overseeing store operations, analyzing sales data and developing strategies to improve performance. As a result, they benefit from having analytical skills and experience working with data. District managers, on the other hand, often focus on more strategic tasks, such as setting goals, developing budgets and evaluating long-term plans. This means that they need to be good at thinking creatively and making decisions.


The average salary for an area manager is $67,336 per year, while the average salary for a district manager is $67,954 per year. Both of these positions may see their salaries vary depending on the size of the company, the location of the job and the level of experience the employee has prior to pursuing either position.


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