Project managers are employed throughout many industries and professions. Although their exact job duties vary, their function is the same: to oversee the completion of the stated mission objectives for the project. Tom DiVincenzo, analyst for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), states that project managers’ key responsibilities include creating attainable objectives and project requirements and operating within the restraints of the project management triangle.
The project management triangle is a term that includes three key aspects of the project: cost, time and quality. Project managers typically need to have an academic degree from a business school or university. Some employers will even accept a project management certification; however, according to the BLS, most project management positions require an advanced degree.
What Is a Project Management Degree?
A project management degree is available in four levels: associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral. Master’s degrees are typically required for high-level positions, as they impart actionable information that will prepare the student for his or her future role. Many MBA programs focus on project management and provide similar information; however, a focused degree omits many aspects of an MBA program that do not apply to project management. These programs are available from traditional universities, business schools and online colleges. Obtaining an online project management degree will allow professionals to expand their job prospects while maintaining their current job responsibilities.
The Many Benefits of a Project Management Degree
Considering pursuing a degree in project management? The following benefits will help you make an informed decision:
- Earn a High Salary. In 2006, the Project Management Institute commissioned a survey to establish the average earnings of project managers across all industries. The results indicated that the average full-time project manager in the United States earned an average annual salary of $96,000. This survey also found that earnings varied by level of education, location, work experience and industry.
- Enjoy Multifaceted Management Responsibilities.The specific responsibilities will change depending on the industry; however, according to Michele Berrie, author of “The Project Manager Responsibilities,” there are some responsibilities that are common to all project managers. Unlike most managers, you will not only be responsible for one area, such as training or coaching. Instead, you will be responsible for managing the project’s team, risks, schedule, conflicts and budget. You will act as the face of the project to upper management and will be the direct supervisor of those working on the project.
- Experience a Constantly Changing Workday.The aforementioned job responsibilities alone will create a consistently unique workday. Each day, you will need to address a different area of the project, experience unique challenges and solve varied problems. Additionally, each project that you manage will provide its own distinct workflow, issues and responsibilities.
- Create a Flexible Career.Project management degrees are available at many different levels. This allows you to craft unique qualifications that will prepare you for your target career. For example, imagine you are interested in becoming a human resources manager. You can pursue a bachelor’s in project management and then earn a masters in human resources. You will then be well-prepared for a role as a human resources manager. Additionally, you will be able to seek employment across a variety of industries — a rare benefit.
- Work in an In-Demand Field. According to Businessweek reporter Karen Schweitzer, project managers are increasingly in demand. Schweitzer states that almost every industry has a need for a project manager and that these positions are most likely to go to candidates with the right education credentials. This means finding employment will be much easier than many other professions, and you will be able to switch organizations if you are unsatisfied with your current employer.
A project management degree can open the door to new career opportunities. You will be able to pursue high-salary jobs, varied workdays and numerous responsibilities. This rewarding and exciting career may not be for everyone; however, if the above five benefits are appealing, check out a program today.
About the Author: Carl Bawdry is a contributing writer and project manager. He struggled to decide on a degree, but once he discovered a project management program, he was immediately intrigued and has enjoyed a fruitful career.