Career Development

What Does a Department Head Do?

Find out what a department head does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a department head.

Department heads are the highest-ranking employees in their departments. They oversee all aspects of their department’s operations, including planning, organizing, staffing, and directing the work of other employees.

Department heads often have a great deal of autonomy when it comes to making decisions about how their departments operate. They may also be responsible for managing budgets and overseeing other administrative tasks.

Department Head Job Duties

Department heads typically have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Setting and enforcing ethical standards for employees and clients
  • Coordinating with other department heads to ensure that departments are working efficiently together to meet goals
  • Making hiring decisions, including interviewing candidates and making final offers based on qualifications and fit with company culture
  • Ensuring that all employees have adequate training to perform their jobs properly
  • Reviewing employee performance to ensure that they are meeting company standards
  • Setting department budgets and allocating funds to ensure that departmental needs are met
  • Managing the activities of all staff within their department, including hiring new employees when needed
  • Providing leadership and guidance to employees in their department on how best to accomplish their responsibilities in a safe and efficient manner
  • Overseeing all aspects of department operations to ensure they are functioning properly

Department Head Salary & Outlook

Department heads’ salaries vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses or commissions.

  • Median Annual Salary: $66,500 ($31.97/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $125,000 ($60.1/hour)

The employment of department heads is expected to decline over the next decade.

Employment of department heads is projected to decrease because fewer workers will be needed to supervise the same number of employees. As automation and other technological advances allow more tasks to be completed by machines, fewer workers will be needed to oversee the remaining tasks.

Department Head Job Requirements

A department head typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Most employers require department heads to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers prefer candidates who have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in business, marketing or a related field.

Training & Experience: Department heads typically have several years of experience in the industry they are leading. They may have worked as a manager or supervisor before being promoted to a department head. They may have worked in the industry they are leading for many years.

Department heads may also receive on-the-job training to learn about the specific products or services the company offers. They may also learn about the company’s policies and procedures.

Certifications & Licenses: Depends on the department in which you want to become a department head. Some departments may require a certification, a degree and experience all related to the department. Other departments may not have any required certifications, but you may choose to obtain one to increase your competitiveness for a department head position.

Department Head Skills

Department heads need the following skills in order to be successful:

Leadership: Department heads are responsible for leading their departments and the employees who work in them. This means you need to be able to provide direction, set goals and expectations and motivate your team to perform well. You can also use your leadership skills to help your team develop their own leadership skills.

Communication: Department heads often communicate with other department heads, supervisors and other administrators. They may also communicate with faculty and students. Effective communication is a necessary skill for department heads to have, as it allows them to relay information to their staff and students and vice versa. Department heads may also need to communicate with other departments and administrators to discuss budgets, student performance and other topics.

Decision-making: Department heads are responsible for making decisions about the department’s goals, objectives and strategies. They need to be able to make informed decisions that align with the organization’s goals and objectives. Department heads also need to be able to make decisions quickly, as they may be required to make decisions on the spot.

Problem-solving: Department heads often solve problems for their departments and their colleagues. They may need to find solutions to budget issues, personnel issues or other challenges that affect their departments. Department heads may also solve problems for their employees, such as when an employee needs to take time off for an emergency.

Teamwork: Department heads often work with other department heads to develop and implement company strategies. For example, a human resources department head might work with a marketing department head to develop a plan to attract new employees. Department heads also work with their teams to develop and implement departmental goals.

Department Head Work Environment

Department heads are responsible for the overall operation of their department, which may include budgeting, personnel, and planning. They typically work in an office setting, although they may spend time in other areas of the hospital, such as the operating room or patient care areas. They usually work full time, and their hours may vary depending on the needs of the department. Department heads may be on call 24 hours a day and may be required to work evenings and weekends. The job is often stressful, and department heads must be able to handle a variety of tasks simultaneously. They must also be able to make quick decisions and solve problems quickly.

Department Head Trends

Here are three trends influencing how department heads work. Department heads will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for a More Collaborative Work Environment

The trend of collaborative work environments is becoming increasingly popular as businesses realize the benefits of working together. This trend is having a major impact on the role of the department head, who is now expected to be more collaborative and team-oriented.

Department heads need to be able to work well with others in order to be successful in this new environment. They also need to be able to manage teams effectively and be able to communicate clearly and effectively.

More Focus on Data Analytics

As data analytics becomes more important, departments will need to focus on hiring professionals who can analyze data and make sense of it. This requires a deep understanding of statistics and how to use data to make informed decisions.

Department heads can utilize this trend by hiring professionals who are skilled in data analytics and giving them the resources they need to be successful. In addition, department heads should be familiar with the latest trends in data analytics so that they can stay ahead of the competition.

A Greater Emphasis on Employee Engagement

Employee engagement has become an increasingly important topic in recent years, as employers have realized the value of keeping their employees happy and productive. Department heads are in a unique position to influence employee engagement within their departments, as they are often the first point of contact for employees looking for help or feedback.

By developing strong relationships with their employees, department heads can create a positive workplace culture that encourages engagement and productivity. In addition, they can provide support and guidance to employees who are looking to move up in their careers.

How to Become a Department Head

A department head career can be a great way to advance your professional life. As a department head, you’ll have the opportunity to lead and manage a team of professionals in their respective fields. You’ll also be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the department, which includes managing budgets, planning projects, and ensuring that all employees are performing at their best.

To become a successful department head, it’s important to have strong leadership skills, as well as an understanding of the industry in which your department operates. It’s also important to have a good working relationship with upper management, so that they can trust you to lead your team effectively.

Related: How to Write a Department Head Resume

Advancement Prospects

Department heads are responsible for the daily operations of their department and report to the CEO or president of the company. They typically have a staff of managers and supervisors who report to them. As a department head, you may be responsible for the budget of your department and ensuring that all projects are completed on time and within budget. You will also be responsible for developing and implementing departmental policies and procedures. In larger organizations, department heads may also be responsible for human resources functions such as hiring, training, and employee development.

Department Head Job Description Example

The Department Head is responsible for the daily operations of the department and the supervision of department staff. He or she plans, organizes, and coordinates the work of the department to ensure that goals and objectives are met. The Department Head also develops and implements policies and procedures, and monitors departmental performance. He or she represents the department to other departments and to external agencies. The Department Head reports to the Vice President.

The ideal candidate will have a minimum of five years of management experience, as well as experience in the specific department he or she will be heading. He or she will have excellent communication, interpersonal, and organizational skills. The Department Head must be able to work independently and be able to take initiative. He or she must also be able to work well under pressure and meet deadlines.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Understand and articulate the vision, mission, values, and strategy of the organization
  • Develop long-term goals and objectives for the department that are aligned with the organizational strategy
  • Create an environment that supports and encourages employee engagement, creativity, innovation, and excellence
  • Manage the budget for the department, ensuring efficient and effective use of resources
  • Plan, direct, and coordinate the work of employees in the department, setting priorities and assigning tasks
  • Monitor departmental performance against established goals and objectives, taking corrective action as necessary
  • Evaluate employee performance and provide feedback, coaching, and mentoring to promote professional development
  • Handle employee relations issues in a fair and consistent manner, in accordance with company policy and applicable laws
  • Serve as a liaison between the department and other departments within the organization
  • Represent the department at meetings and events, both internally and externally
  • Stay up-to-date on industry trends and developments, and ensure that the department is using best practices
  • Perform other duties as assigned

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, management, or related field
  • 10+ years experience in leadership role with progressive responsibility
  • Proven ability to develop and implement strategic plans
  • Demonstrated success in building and leading effective teams
  • Excellent communication, interpersonal, and presentation skills
  • Outstanding organizational and time-management skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in business, management, or related field
  • 15+ years experience in leadership role with progressive responsibility
  • Experience in the same or similar industry
  • Familiarity with relevant software and technology
  • Aptitude for data analysis and decision-making

Similar Jobs


What Does a Body Technician Do?

Back to Career Development

What Does a Meat Manager Do?