Operations Research Analysts: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Stan T.Career, Overview

Operations Research Analysts

Operations Research Analysts formulate and apply mathematical modeling and other optimizing methods to develop and interpret information that assists management with decisionmaking, policy formulation, or other managerial functions. May collect and analyze data and develop decision support software, services, or products. May develop and supply optimal time, cost, or logistics networks for program evaluation, review, or implementation.

Becoming One
Very Hard
Master's degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Interest Match

Job description

Operations Research Analysts formulate and apply mathematical modeling and other optimizing methods to develop and interpret information that assists management with decision making, policy formulation, or other managerial functions. May collect and analyze data and develop decision support software, service, or products. May develop and supply optimal time, cost, or logistics networks for program evaluation, review, or implementation.

  • Formulate mathematical or simulation models of problems, relating constants and variables, restrictions, alternatives, conflicting objectives, and their numerical parameters.
  • Perform validation and testing of models to ensure adequacy and reformulate models as necessary.
  • Collaborate with senior managers and decision makers to identify and solve a variety of problems and to clarify management objectives.
  • Present the results of mathematical modeling and data analysis to management or other end users.
Read more about what does an Operations Research Analyst really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.

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Average salary
$88350 per year

Average hourly wage
$42 per hour

Operations Research Analysts with little to no experience tend to make between $46810 and $61280 while the more experienced ones can earn over $109670 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
DC $53 $109,400
NJ $51 $106,820
VA $50 $104,980
NY $49 $102,560
HI $49 $102,270

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as an Operations Research Analyst is to move to a higher paying state like DC. Right now, the highest paying states for Operations Research Analysts are DC, NJ, VA, NY and HI.

However, a higher pay at DC doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at DC might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as an Operations Research Analyst is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
Master’s degree

We asked other Operations Research Analysts what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a Master’s Degree followed by a Bachelor’s Degree.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Operations Research
Management Science
Read more about how to become an Operations Research Analyst and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being an Operations Research Analyst.

Suitable for people who likes to solve problems mentally
Suitable for people who values achievements and are results-oriented
This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.
Very high salary (top 25% highest paid careers)
Not suitable for people who likes to help and teach others
It is very hard to get into this career. Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience is required for this career.
Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week)

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

67% of Operations Research Analysts said they were satisfied with their job and 36% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Joseph Bernick

My Typical Day

In this role, my key responsibilities include managing metrics and key performance indicator development for Elkay’s distribution centers, handling improvement projects, and providing support to teams working with new product development. I also respond to data needs and requests from our distribution centers daily and support the onsite distribution center staff when needed. This can look like developing a report to consolidate storage locations to allow for greater space utilization as well as creating only one pick location.

My typical day includes each of these responsibilities, but in various ways, so every day is different. For example, since I’m managing projects from design through implementation, every day includes focusing on a portion of my current project’s development. This can involve performing cost analysis to understand where we are regarding budget spend or analyzing metrics to see how we can best decide what to track in the future. I also conduct inventory monitoring for Elkay’s warehouses, which helps the business understand what our distribution centers have available and what they need, and how soon they need it to continue to do their jobs and produce high-quality products.


I feel that the best part of my job is being able to manage projects all the way through. Being able to follow a project through from idea and design to data analysis and then to implementation is very rewarding, not to mention insightful, given how much is learned along the way. I also enjoy that this part of the job can be challenging. With each project management experience I’ve had in this role, I’ve learned more about Elkay’s business and operations and improved my collaboration, analysis, and problem-solving skills. These learnings are incredibly valuable as I now use these skills every day! I also enjoy that my job allows me to work with people in a way that makes their lives easier and safer while on the job at our distribution centers. To know that my work can do this for others leaves me feeling fulfilled even on difficult days.


One challenge of being in this role is that there are always various projects competing for your attention and resources. To overcome this challenge, I have to prioritize early on and pivot quickly when projects needs or timelines change. While this can be difficult at times, these experiences have taught me invaluable project management skills and how to manage my time better overall. Another challenging aspect of my job is that it often requires futuristic thinking to anticipate future needs and what to design to ensure these needs are met. Ideating about future needs can take time as it involves research and exploration into current business practices to see what changes could be required down the line. However, through these experiences, I’ve trained myself always to be thinking from a future mindset and learned how to manage other people’s expectations about these coming changes.

Advice to students interested in this career path

My advice would be not to shy away from pursuing a degree in industrial engineering for students interested in this role. This degree provides you with many options when it comes time to begin your career, including this job! Whether you choose to focus on process design and improvement, data and analytics, or even consulting, these experiences will all help you build a robust problem-solving mindset that you can apply to countless real-life situations. I would also recommend that anyone interested in this career gain additional experience in computer science and coding. This will help you learn how to automate processes that will make life easier for you in the future.

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Thinkers and The Organizers

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally..

They also like following set procedures and routines. They like working with data and details more than with ideas.

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