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- 1 What is Project Management?
- 2 What Do Project Managers Do?
- 3 Top Project Management Degrees
- 4 Employment Information for Project Managers
- 5 Project Management Careers
- 6 Project Manager Salary & Job Growth
- 7 Resources for Project Managers
What is Project Management?
Project Management is a multidisciplinary field of study emphasizing the organization of work and resources to achieve specific business goals. More specifically, project management is the end-to-end planning of an event, project, or activity. Project Management culls resources to initiate, plan, organize, track, communicate, control, and bring a project from inception through completion. A project manager may work alone, with a small group of cross-functional team members, or as part of a larger corporate project.
The curricular design behind Project Management help to prepare students to design, organize, and complete projects of all sizes. This is accomplished by exposing students to a variety of classes and problem solving skills. Required business skills of a project manager include academic programs like: communications, customer service, logistics, finance, accounting, marketing, law, information technology, forecasting, human resources, time management, sales, and leadership.
What Do Project Managers Do?
Project managers across various industries are charged with understanding required activities, coordinating resources, progress tracking, communicating, collaborating, and completing tasks of all sizes within a small or large organization.
Project managers must have a wide range of core skills to accomplish required activities that may include: strategic analysis, leadership, team development, motivating others, scheduling, budgeting, quality control, project cost management, materials management, strategic planning, time management, and organizational skills.
Students will need to be flexible, goal oriented, and task focused. Upon completion of a degree program, students should be able to perform the following priority tasks:
- Analyze project through ethical lens to accomplish goals in an equitable, fair manner
- Lead project team development and effectively communicate upper management business strategies
- Utilize PM best practices to design, plan, coordinate, execute, manage, and close a well-documented business project
- Coalesce organizational strategies with project management activities to help company attain short-term and long-term goals
- Leverage business data by utilizing technology solutions to enhance efficiencies and reduce costs
- Understand and apply project management principles to applicable business problems
- Understand project risks, communicate pitfalls and mitigate problems
Top Project Management Degrees
Degrees in Project Management (PM) can be earned at a number of levels from a variety of accredited universities and colleges around the country. Undergraduate and graduate degree programs can be earned in a traditional classroom setting, online, or via a hybrid learning model.
Online degrees in project management allow students flexibility and independence to earn a number of different types of degrees. In fact, as the fastest growing segment of higher education learning modalities, distance learning is expected to continue growing for the foreseeable future.
To help you determine best PM college program for you, we have created a summary of the most popular programs below.
Project Management Associate Degrees
Associate degrees in PM are designed by colleges to be completed in 2-years based on full-time study. An associate degree can be conferred as either an Associate of Arts (AA) or an Associate of Science (AS) depending on the emphasis of the program.
Students should expect to take a combination of business-based classes along with general education courses. Liberal arts and general education classes are designed to help students think differently about the world around them and build a holistic set of thinking skills. General education classes may include English composition, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and creative writing.
Core classes in an AA or AS program will vary from school to school. However, students can expect a similar set of coursework towards degree completion. Examples of core classes at this level include:
- Project Planning
- Introduction to PM
- Project Execution and Control
- Introduction to Microsoft Project
- Project Procurement
- Project Risk
- Cost Management
- Project Quality Management & Procedures
- Advanced PM
- Project Scheduling
- Project HR Management
- Communications for PM’s
- Project Contracts & Legal Implications
Project Management Bachelor Degrees
Online bachelor degrees in project management are plentiful from colleges across the country. Bachelor degrees can be conferred as a Bachelor of Science (BS) or Bachelor of Arts (BA). How a school confers a degree is dependent upon the curricular design of the program and its core components.
Much like an associate’s degree, a bachelor degree blends liberal arts coursework with core business classes. However, students can expect a bachelor degree to take around four-years to complete based on full-time enrollment. Part-time students should expect the degree program to take longer to complete as a function of pace and the school’s requirements.
Upper-level courses you may find in a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree program include:
- Professional Communications
- Organizational Behavior
- Project Initiation and Scope
- Cost Management & Project Scheduling
- Change Management
- Quantitative Analysis
- Stakeholder Management
- Risk Control & Mitigation
- Procurement Management
- Agile Management
- Organizational Leadership
Project Management Master Degrees
Graduate degrees in project management can be conferred as a Master of Science (MS) or Master of Business Administration (MBA). Students should expect a master’s degree to take 1-2 years to complete depending on the program. Most MBA programs allow students to select a series of PM electives to create a customized graduate degree program while other schools have a predetermined set of courses as part of the degree path.
Upper level courses will vary by school but may include an emphasis on case studies in PM, project planning, financial management, project optimization, project integration, manufacturing projects, and technology projects. Online MBA programs can come in a variety of variations that allow for working professionals to upskill while working by taking classes at night and/or weekends.
Employment Information for Project Managers
Project managers are individuals well-versed in business and technical facets. Their objectives are to keenly understand the scope of a project, assemble resources, manage tasks, communicate, and complete activities to meet business objectives. The end-to-end solutions required of a project manager make them highly flexible resources for large and small corporations. Students graduating with a degree in project management can enter the workforce as a PM or toggle to similar vocations. Examples may include: business management, leadership, public speaking, marketing, public relations, advertising, human resources, recruiting, finance, and sales management.
Project Management Careers
Careers in project management can span virtually any industry across all sectors of the economy. Employers can include professional management companies, scientific organizations, technical services, multinational organizations, financial institutions, retailers, manufacturing companies, and government agencies. To help you understand a range of career that exist for graduates, we have assembled a list of titles from current PMs across the country. The most common titles for graduate and undergraduate students include:
- Business Analyst
- Computer and Information Systems Manager
- Human Resources Director
- Senior Lead Project Manager
- Sales Director
- Marketing Manager
- Program Manager
- CEO, COO, CMO
- Business Consultant
- Information Technology Project Manager
- Technical Services Manager
Project Manager Salary & Job Growth
Project management is clustered together by the BLS in the business management occupation sector. Management jobs in the U.S. are among the highest paid and most in-demand jobs in the country. Approximately 807,000 new jobs in management will be created in the coming and compensated accordingly.
Average salary for business managers is currently $102,590 and one of the best paying occupations. Growth rates for project managers will vary by sector and industry. Project managers specializing in market research will see a 19% increase in jobs while human resource managers expect a 9% bump in jobs during this timeframe.
Resources for Project Managers
Students and working professionals looking for additional information outside academia can connect with a number of high quality organizations and associations. Top ranked PM associations include the following entities that provide tools, resources, and career opportunities within the industry.