Managing projects and ensuring they make it to completion is a key aspect of running a modern company. Many businesses struggle to take a long-term approach to projects, and this leaves them focusing on the immediate need instead of planning for success over time. This can prevent them from achieving the best possible outcome.
Project management teaches business professionals how to focus on working through projects to get the best possible results. Project managers with the right training are in high demand in today’s business world, and they are needed across other industries as well. For example, the finance industry needs project managers to oversee the setup of new investment strategies. Construction crews need project managers to head major projects and manage the budget, logistics, and permits. Even supply chain professionals need to find ways to move products down the line more effectively and efficiently.
Each industry needs project managers to assist with large projects. With a master of science degree in project management, you have a greater number of career options as well as a higher income potential. It also makes a job applicant for positions in project management more appealing to potential employers. This guide will explore project management careers that can lead to a job that is both emotionally and financially rewarding.
Download your guide to learn everything you need to know about earning a Master’s in Project Management Degree online.
What Does a Project Manager Do?
Before looking more deeply at project management careers, we should first define what a project manager does. Project managers plan and execute projects on behalf of a business. This may include scheduling, budgeting, enlisting the help of vendors, and evaluating the progress of a project. The project manager is also the first point of contact if problems pop up during the execution of a project.
Project Management Career Outlook 2020
In 2017, the Project Management Institute published the Project Management Job Growth and Talent Gap 2017-2027. This report indicates that by 2027, employers would need close to 88 million people who are qualified to pursue project management jobs. That is a growth of 33 percent. The PMI report also found a huge gap in the number of potential contributors to this project management demand.
The economy has certainly changed since the publication of the report in 2017, but many of the findings still remain valid. In early 2020, PMI released a jobs report that found a high demand remaining for project professionals, with many of the upcoming projects that demand these skills will fall in the technology sector as companies start embracing artificial intelligence and similar tech in their operations.
PMI has not yet released a new project management job growth report, and this is not a career tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). According to the 2017 projections, there will be a shortage in project managers by 2027, and there will be 22 million new roles opened in the industry. While the global economic challenges of 2020 potentially changed some of that, it remains a career field that will have strong job potential. Those who attain a master’s in project management will have the training and resources to be well prepared for these project management careers.
Top Project Management Careers
So, what roles can someone with a master’s in project management fill? What can you do with a project management degree? Here are five project management careers that expected to be among those in high demand in the next five to 10 years.
A general project manager is in charge of projects for a company. The project manager will plan and develop a strategy to meet a goal. This will include planning the budget, scheduling the work on the project, and creating a timeline for completion.
Once the plan is underway, the project manager serves as the supervisor. They will make sure all necessary documents and support people are in place. They will give team members the tasks they need to move the project toward completion. They will constantly evaluate resources, budgets, and timelines to ensure the tasks are on track.
When problems develop, it’s the project manager that handles them. The project manager will also report progress on a project to the CEO or other stakeholders in the company.
The career of a project manager is not tracked by the BLS, but Payscale estimates the average salary to be $74,365 a year. Though a bachelor’s degree is the base degree for this career path, a master’s degree helps create higher income earning potential.
Senior Project Manager
A senior project manager fulfills many of the same roles as a general project manager, but they rank higher in the organization. The title of senior project manager comes with higher pay, but it also requires more advanced training and certification in project management. Most senior project managers are members of PMI and have project management professional certification (PMP certification). This requires 35 hours of education in project management and successful completion of the PMP certification exam.
Senior project managers with certification and experience have potential to earn a much higher average wage. Salary.com estimates the average is $120,673 a year for professionals in this field.
Sometimes a business does not need a full-time project manager on staff. Some project management careers are independent in nature with the project manager serving as a consultant to a business. This career path requires strong qualifications because this is what will determine if a company hires you or a different consultant. A graduate degree is helpful.
The role of a project management consultant provides a lot of job flexibility. The project manager can work for more than one company, focusing on using strengths to help various clients succeed. Consultants are able to choose between different industries as well, allowing them to either focus on one primary area of interest or expand their work to reach many different industries. This gives the freedom to build a custom career path based on the individual’s interests and skills.
Project management consultants have a large salary range. Those in the lowest 10% earn about $54,000 a year, while those in the top 10% earn over $135,000 per year. The average according to Payscale.com is $84,424 a year, with bonus and profit-sharing options available for many positions.
Project coordinator is another role that can be filled by someone who holds project management training. This career has a lower base salary of $45,932 a year. However, those who hold master’s level training or who hold PMP certification can earn significantly more. Indeed.com indicates PMP certification boosts salaries by over 25%.
A project coordinator often works under a project manager. These individuals will help with organizing the sources and information needed to make the project a success. They help the project stay on schedule and on budget, and they develop strategies for successfully meeting the project. Some project coordinators will specialize in a particular area of training, such as human resources or IT, to better aid the project management leader.
Finally, project management training can open the door to the career of project scheduler. These professionals focus on the scheduling aspect of managing a project. In the construction and engineering fields, this is a vital task, because many different parties must work on the same schedule for a project to come to completion successfully. According to Indeed the average starting salary for project schedulers is $84,599 a year.
Project schedulers can pursue master’s level training in project management, then focus on certification as a scheduling professional through PMI. When on the job, they will monitor deadlines and timelines, create schedules, and edit schedules based on the way the project is working. These professionals will also manage scheduling software and maintain records that relate to a project’s deadline.
Position Yourself for Success with a Master’s in Project Management
The role of project manager is one with strong earning potential and many different career paths to pursue. With an expected shortage in the next seven years, this is also a field that will be in high demand. Earning a master’s in project management will position you to fill that gap and take advantage of the high potential income.
Post University offers a two-year, 30-credit master’s in Project Management program that you can complete fully online. This program uses project-based learning to give graduates the skills they need to successfully lead teams and guide projects to completion. Post Project management program is also a PMI Registered Education Provider (ERP), and all courses follow the PMBOK standard. Reach out to Post University today to learn more about launching your project management career through our online Master’s in Project Management.
Please note jobs, career outcomes, and/or salaries highlighted in this blog do not reflect jobs, career outcomes, and/or salaries expected from any Post University program. To learn more about Post University’s program and their outcomes, please fill out a form to speak with an admissions representative.