What is MCO?

In an age where a lot of what we do is controlled by the push of a button, the click of a mouse, or the swipe of a credit card, knowing and understanding what Mission Critical means is crucial to all of our well beings. The official definition we use for mission critical is as follows:

Any operation requiring round-the-clock supervision of systems and is aimed at combating the evolving threat of critical infrastructure operations failure.

A business that relies on continual operation is defined as mission critical. Mission critical operators are individuals whose job is to keep those facilities running and protected. The need for mission critical operators is on the rise.

MCO careers can be in data centers, power plants, transportation, 911 call centers, and many other industries. The skills needed to excel at a career in MCO vary according to the specialized field, but the focus on reliability and the need to keep the MCO organization running twenty-four hours a day – seven days a week stays the same. These skills include knowledge based in operations technology like automation, HVAC, power management and more and information technology like networking, database administration, and cybersecurity.

SME, the Society for Manufacturing Engineers, is currently in a campaign to boost workforce readiness and promote employee development. They say that, “despite high general unemployment, a critical shortage of skilled workers threatens the future of manufacturing in America and experts say that, if not addressed now, the crisis will dangerously accelerate in the next decade.”

The Automation Federation states that, “Our Companies cannot possibly succeed in the long term without attracting talent from future generations.” They also spell out the shortage of employees that is caused by a retiring baby boomer generation.”

Although industrial and Information Technology positions may top the list of those jobs that are available in the Mission Critical field, they are far from the only careers in the area that require knowledgeable employees.

Below is a sample of some of the career choices that you may not have considered while searching out and preparing for a Mission Critical Operations career.

  • Business
  • Business Intelligence
  • Business Intelligence Analyst
  • Construction
  • Electrical
  • Emergency Response Services
  • Energy
  • Facility Maintenance
  • Critical Facility Technician
  • HVAC
  • Information Technology
  • Computer Network Defense Auditor
  • Systems Administrator
  • Technicians
  • Security

Mission critical operations are vital to the continuation of very important services that people rely on everyday. That’s why we say that these skills are “the skills necessary to keep America running.” For further information about what MCO is, please read this article from NCMCO project manager Mitchell Sepaugh, that was published in the January/February 2014 edition of the International Society of Automation’s InTech Magazine: Developing a Career Pathway for a Mission-Critical Workforce


If you want to know more about the mco program, check out our Frequently Asked Questions or contact us via the Contact page.

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NCMCO on CourseSites


The NCMCO has online course content available via the CourseSites platform. These non-credit courses are designed for you to learn more about what mission critical is and to prepare for further, mission critical related, education. To take advantage of this content, visit the links below and follow the instructions on the page.

 Introduction to Mission Critical (Opens in a New Window)

Critical Infrastructure: An Overview (Opens in a New Window)

MCO Digital Study

Find additional resources for extra practice or to help study for tests.

MCO Digital Learn

Ask questions about mission critical related content and get answers from instructors and industry professionals.

For Job Seekers:

Jobs shown here are provided by indeed.com and are being displayed here as a service for potential job seekers. The NCMCO is not responsible for any material posted in this section. The information and opinions expressed in the job postings are not necessarily those of the NCMCO or its affiliated or related entities or content providers and the NCMCO makes no representations or warranties regarding that information or those opinions. Furthermore, neither the NCMCO nor its affiliated or related entities or its content providers are responsible or liable to any person or entity whatsoever (including, without limitation, persons who may use or rely on such data/materials or to whom such data/materials may be furnished) for any loss, damage (whether direct, incidental, indirect, consequential, punitive or otherwise), injury, claim, liability or other cause of any kind or character whatsoever arising out of or resulting from your access to, or use of, NCMCO ‘s Website.