How to Become a General Manager?

Are you thinking of becoming a General Manager or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a General Manager, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new General Manager job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

Steps to Become a General Manager

If you enjoy leading others, consider a career as a general manager. General managers can work in many different industries. They can choose a company that serves individuals or one that helps businesses. To become a general manager, take these steps:

Earn your high school diploma, an AA, or a bachelor's degree.

Most general managers have at least a high school diploma, and many have an associate's or bachelor's degree. Popular majors for general managers include accounting, logistics, and business administration. Getting a master's degree or MBA can help put you ahead of the competition as well. Many general managers also study subjects relevant to their industry. For example, the general manager of a hotel could major in hospitality or psychology. The general manager of a retail store could major in merchandising or marketing.

What type of degree should you pursue to become a General Manager?

51% of people working as a General Manager earned a Associate's Degree

What skills do you need to be a General Manager?

  • Microsoft Office Suite
  • MS Office
  • Outlook
  • POS Systems
  • Operational Excellence
  • Leadership
  • Adherence
  • Bilingual
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as a General Manager in the United States.

Gain some experience in the industry you want to work in.

Before you can become a general manager, you'll need experience in the industry as well as leadership experience. Many general managers start as regular workers or shift managers. After demonstrating your ability to lead others and work as a team, you can apply for a position as an assistant manager. After you acquire more experience, you can look for positions as a general manager. To get the attention of hiring managers, look for entry-level positions in your industry. That way, you can learn more about the field while you build your leadership skills.

For example, if you want to be a warehouse general manager, you should get your start in receiving, as an assistant inventory manager or assistant stock manager. Many businesses offer shift management and team lead positions that are ideal for people who need more management experience.

Start by working for smaller businesses, and then steadily increase the sizes of the locations and teams you work with. That way, you can show employers that you can handle complex operations. This lets you get a higher-paying position with better benefits. General manager jobs in factories, hotels or resorts management, tech companies, and gourmet restaurants are among the most lucrative.


Get certification from the American Management Association.

In the United States, 12 certifications from the American Management Association or AMA are available. Topics include diversity and inclusion, leadership, business communication, employee training, sales management, and conducting virtual training or presentations. The Women's Leadership Certificate program teaches ways to stand out as a strong leader while effectively resisting gender discrimination, and the Instructional Design Certificate program can show you how to design training curriculums for other managers to use while training workers. This certification is particularly valuable if you want to rise to higher levels of management in the future.

With the Coaching Certificate program, you can learn how to build inspiration and trust among employees and managers. The Business Essentials Certificate program focuses on refining customer service and business development strategies. While you're gaining experience, get as many of these certifications as you can to showcase your skills and increase your appeal to potential employers.

General Manager Career Path

General Manager

2 - 4Years of Experience
$74K - $133K /yrMost Likely Range
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7% advanced to

Senior General Manager

2 - 4Years of Experience
$119K - $205K /yrMost Likely Range
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General Manager IV

5 - 7Years of Experience
$144K - $243K /yrMost Likely Range
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Total Pay Trajectory

General Manager Career Path

General Manager I
General Manager
Senior General Manager
General Manager IV
Assistant Head General Manager
General Manager V
Vice President and General Manager
Executive General Manager
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Related Careers in the Business Industry

Interested in other Business careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with General Manager skills. Discover some of the most common General Manager career transitions, along with skills overlap.

25% skills overlap
16% transitioned to Manager