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The Top Careers for Master’s in Project Management

Two project managers at their job.

Those who enjoy organizing and overseeing projects should consider the field of project management. Project managers ensure that a project comes in on time, within budget, and according to specifications. Different project manager jobs are available, ranging from small businesses to large corporations. Nearly every industry hires project managers. But what are the best jobs for someone with a master’s degree in project management? This guide explores the best options, including their average salary and career outlook.

This occupation can expect 5% to 10% growth from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for most occupations. There couldn’t be a better time to pursue a project management role.

What is Project Management?

Project management is the process of planning, executing, and monitoring projects. It includes identifying and managing risks, setting deadlines, and allocating resources. A project manager ensures that a project is completed on time and within budget. Therefore, a project manager must have strong organizational and communication skills. That’s not all. There are also education and experience requirements for this job. Either way, if you have a master’s degree in project management, you will be well-prepared for this career.

Project Management Career Overview

A career in project management can offer a variety of challenges and opportunities. Project managers coordinate and oversee projects from start to finish. They work with teams of people to ensure that projects are completed on time, within budget, and to the required standard.

Most project managers have a background in business or engineering, and many have experience working in a project management role before taking on a managerial position. Some project managers also have certification from a professional body such as the Project Management Institute (PMI).

The demand for qualified project managers is growing, especially in construction, IT, and healthcare. With the right skills and experience, you can expect to earn a good salary and enjoy job security in this exciting and fast-paced field. If you’re organized, efficient, and good at leading people, a career in project management could be the perfect fit for you. Read on to learn more about what project managers do, the skills needed to succeed, and the different job opportunities available.

5 Essential Skills for Project Managers

As a project manager, you will oversee the development and execution of projects. To be successful in this role, you need to have strong problem-solving skills and effectively communicate with team members and stakeholders. Additionally, you must be able to adapt to changing circumstances and remain calm under pressure. Project management is a complex and challenging field. Still, it can be an enriching experience if you have the necessary skills.

If you are looking to start a career in project management or want to move up in this field, here are some essential skills you will need to succeed:

1. Problem-solving skills

As a project manager, you will face various challenges. To overcome these challenges, you will need to be able to identify problems and quickly develop creative solutions.

2. Communication Skills

Effective communication is essential for any project manager. You will need to communicate clearly and concisely with team members, stakeholders, and clients.

3. Organization Skills

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4. Adaptability

The ability to adapt to change is essential for any project manager. Projects often encounter unexpected obstacles, so it is imperative to adjust your plans accordingly.

5. Stress Management Skills

Managing a project can be stressful. This makes it crucial to manage your stress levels. It will help you stay focused and maintain a positive attitude, even during difficult times.

Developing these skills takes time and practice. Still, you must acquire them to become a successful project manager. With the proper skill set, you can achieve great things and make a lasting impact on your projects.

Ideal Candidates for Project Management Careers

The ideal candidate for project management jobs is organized, detail-oriented, and has strong communication and interpersonal skills. They should also be able to work well under pressure and handle stressful situations.

In addition to these personal qualities, the ideal candidate should also have:

Earning Your Masters in Project Management Online

Online education is at the forefront of project management training, with many universities and colleges now offering accredited programs. Online learning is a flexible way to earn your degree, and you can tailor it to fit your busy lifestyle.

When choosing an online program, it is crucial to ensure that the school holds accreditation from the Project Management Institute (PMI). Accreditation by PMI is the gold standard in project management education. It means that the program meets the high standards set by the Institute. It is also essential to choose a program that offers a mix of theoretical and practical learning. The best online programs allow you to learn from experienced practitioners and give you the chance to put your new skills into practice.

There are many benefits to earning your master’s in project management online. With the right program, you can gain the skills and knowledge to succeed in this exciting field.

Why Choose an Online Program?

There are many reasons why you might choose to earn your degree online. Here are some of the most popular reasons:

  • Flexibility: Online programs offer a flexible way to learn, and you can tailor them to fit your busy lifestyle.
  • Convenience: You can study from anywhere in the world, at any time of day or night.
  • Affordability: Online programs are often more affordable than traditional classroom-based programs.
  • Accreditation: Many online programs hold certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI), so you can be sure that you are getting a high-quality education.

Best Jobs with a Master in Project Management

As outlined earlier, a master’s degree in project management can open up job opportunities. Here, we look at the best jobs for someone with this degree:

Project Manager

Average Annual Salary: $74,365 per year
Growth Rate: 11%

First on our list is the project manager. These professionals work within different industries to ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget. Nearly every industry needs project managers. These managers typically have a team of people working under them to complete the project.

Their key responsibilities involve:

  • Drafting project plans and budget
  • Identifying risks and potential problems
  • Tracking progress and milestones
  • Reporting to upper management
  • Ensuring quality control

Education Requirements: A bachelor’s degree is typically required, although a master’s degree may be preferred.

Certification: While not required, project managers can earn voluntary certification through the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Skills Needed: Excellent problem-solving skills, communication skills, and organizational skills.

Career Path: There are many different career paths for project managers. Some move up to upper management positions, while others become consultants or start businesses.

Senior Project Manager

Average Annual Salary: $120,673 a year
Growth Rate: 5% – 10%

Senior project managers lead and coordinate projects from conception to completion. They work with clients and team members to ensure the satisfaction of all project objectives within the specified time frame and budget. Senior project managers also develop risk management plans and mitigation strategies.

Education Requirements: To become a senior project manager, you typically need at least five years of experience in project management. Many employers require a bachelor’s degree, although a master’s degree is often preferred.

Certification: While certification is not always required, it can prove beneficial. The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. To earn this credential, you must have four years of project management experience and pass an exam.

Skills: Senior project managers must have excellent communication and problem-solving skills. They must also be able to manage teams and meet deadlines effectively.

Career Path: To become a senior project manager, you typically need several years of project management experience. You can also advance your career by obtaining certification from the PMI.

Assistant Project Manager

Average Annual Salary: $63,000 per year
Growth Rate: 5% – 10%

As the name suggests, an assistant project manager supports the project manager. Their duties include creating schedules, tracking progress, maintaining budget records, and communicating updates to stakeholders. They may also be responsible for:

  • Coordinating with team members
  • Updating project plans
  • Tracking milestones
  • Reporting progress to the project manager

Education Requirements: Most employers require an assistant project manager to have a bachelor’s degree. However, some companies may prefer candidates with a master’s degree in project management.

Certification: Some employers may require a certificate in project management from a professional body such as the Project Management Institute.

Skills Needed: Excellent communication and organizational skills are essential for this position. Assistant project managers must also work well under pressure and meet deadlines effectively.

Career Path: Assistant project managers typically start their careers in entry-level positions and advance to project manager roles. With experience, some move into upper management positions or become consultants.

Project Scheduler

Average Annual Salary: $88,454 per year
Growth Rate: 5% – 10%

A project scheduler is responsible for developing, maintaining, and communicating project schedules to project teams. A typical day in the life of a project scheduler might involve:

  • Evaluating project proposals to determine time frame, funding limitations, and procedures for accomplishing projects
  • Working with managers to develop project plans and timelines
  • Coordinating resources and equipment needed for projects
  • Monitoring project progress and handle any issues that arise

Education: A bachelor’s degree in business administration or a related field such as project management is typically required. Some employers may prefer candidates with a master’s degree.

Certification: While not required, certification through the Project Management Institute (PMI) can help you land a job and advance your career.

Skills: In addition to strong communication and organizational skills, a successful project scheduler should have:

  • The ability to work well under pressure
  • Strong problem-solving skills
  • Excellent time management skills
  • The ability to multitask

Career Path: A project scheduler can advance to a project manager or senior project manager role. With experience, they may also move into a program management role.

Consultant

Average Annual Salary: $84,424 a year
Growth Rate: 5% – 10%

While project managers need to be physically present on-site to oversee their team’s work, consultants can often perform their work remotely. In some cases, consultants may even be brought in from other parts of the country or world to provide their expert opinion on a particular project. This makes consulting an attractive career choice for those who don’t want to be tied down to one location or want the freedom to travel.

As a consultant, you will be responsible for:

  • Meeting with clients to discuss their needs and objectives
  • Conducting research and analyzing data
  • Developing strategies and plans
  • Presenting recommendations to clients
  • Implementing plans
  • Evaluating results and making changes as needed

Education: Most consultants have a bachelor’s degree, although some jobs may require a master’s degree.

Skills: In addition to strong analytical and research skills, consultants must also be excellent at communicating. They must present complex information clearly and concisely. They must also be able to work independently and be comfortable taking on a great deal of responsibility.

Certification: While certification is not required, becoming a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) provides an edge in the job market. It demonstrates your commitment to your career.

Career Path: Many consultants start their careers working in a particular industry before transitioning into consulting. Others may begin their careers as management trainees or in entry-level positions in management consulting firms. With experience, you can move into a more senior role, such as project manager or principal consultant.

Project Coordinator

Average Annual Salary: $51,329 per year
Growth Rate: 5% – 10%

In this job, you will be responsible for coordinating all aspects of a project, from start to finish. This includes working with clients to ensure their satisfaction and coordinating with team members to ensure that the project is on track.

Some of the essential duties of a project coordinator are:

  • Communicating with clients to ensure satisfaction
  • Coordinating with other team members to make sure that the project is on track
  • Keeping track of deadlines and budget
  • Ensuring that all stakeholders are up to date on the project’s progress
  • Preparing reports on the project’s status

Education: A bachelor’s degree in project management, business administration, or a related field is preferred. Certification in project management (such as PMP) is also beneficial. A master’s degree in project management can give candidates an advantage in a competitive job field.

Skills:

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Strong organizational and time management skills
  • Ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Using project management software (such as Microsoft Project) is also beneficial.

Certification: While certification is not always required at this level, it can prove beneficial. The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. To earn this credential, you must have four years of project management experience and pass an exam.

Career Path: With experience, you could move into a senior project management role. You could also specialize in a particular area of project management, such as construction project management or IT project management.

Project Team Lead

Average Annual Salary: $81,756 per year
Growth Rate: 5% – 10%

The project team lead career isn’t that different from a project manager’s. The person in this role works under a project manager, typically on large projects. The lead is responsible for ensuring that the team completes the project on time and within budget while meeting quality standards. They also work with other leaders to ensure that all the teams are coordinated and have open communication lines. Leads may also be responsible for hiring and firing team members and conducting performance reviews.

In addition, these professionals also work to ensure:

  • Team members have the resources and support they need to complete their tasks
  • Team morale is high
  • The project is on schedule

Education: To become a project team lead, most employers require a bachelor’s degree in project management, business administration, or a related field. Some employers may also require experience leading teams and working on projects. However, a master’s degree in project management can give job applicants a competitive edge.

Certification: Although not required, some project team lead professionals may choose to pursue certification through the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Skills: To be successful as a project team lead, you need excellent communication, leadership, and organizational skills. You must also work well under pressure and handle multiple tasks simultaneously.

Career Path: Most project team lead professionals start as project coordinators or assistant project managers. With experience, they can move up to become project managers. Some may also choose to pursue a master’s degree in business administration or project management to further their career.

Program Manager

Average Annual Salary: $139,951 per year
Growth Rate: 5% – 10%

With a master’s in project management, it’s also possible to pursue a career as a program manager. A program manager is responsible for creating, maintaining, and executing large-scale projects. They work with teams of engineers, analysts, and other professionals to do the following:

  • Supervise project managers
  • Coordinate cross-functional teams
  • Manage risks
  • Define project scope
  • Create project schedules
  • Monitor project progress
  • Ensure quality control
  • Report to upper management

Education: A bachelor’s degree is typically required for this role, though a master’s degree in project management can mean higher pay and a better working environment.

Certification: Although not required, accreditation from the Project Management Institute (PMI) can help land a job as a program manager.

Skills: The skills here are primarily the same as those for project managers, focusing on more technical aspects such as engineering.

Career Path: A career as a program manager typically starts with several years of experience working as a project manager. One can then move into upper-level management positions such as director of program management or vice president of program management.

Business Analyst

Average Annual Salary: $63,040 per year
Growth Rate: 5% – 10%

Another in-demand job is a business analyst. Business analysts are responsible for studying current organizational business methods and suggesting solutions to improve their efficiency. Many businesses are always looking for ways to optimize their financial performance, so the demand for business analysts will likely grow in the coming years.

As a business analyst, your core duties will include:

  • Conducting business analysis
  • Creating reports and presentations
  • Identifying trends and suggesting solutions
  • Liaising with stakeholders
  • Managing projects

Education: With a master’s degree in project management, you can have a career as a business analyst.

Certification: These professionals often pursue the Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP).

Skills: Business analysts need to read complex data sets and understand what they mean for the company. They should also be able to present their findings clearly and concisely through excellent communication skills.

Career Path: Many business analysts advance to management positions. With experience, you could also become an analyst.

Director of Program Management

Average Annual Salary: $143,959
Growth Rate: 5% – 10%

The director of program management handles the overall coordination, implementation, execution, control, and completion of specific projects. They ensure consistency with company strategy, commitments, and goals. They work with upper management to ensure that each project is completed on time and within budget. The director of program management also works with other departments within the company to ensure the efficient and effective use of project resources. This position requires excellent interpersonal and communication skills and a solid ability to motivate and lead teams. Directors of program management must also be able to handle multiple projects simultaneously and adjust to changes in schedules or priorities.

Education and Certification: Most employers require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a field such as business administration or management. Some employers prefer a master’s degree or certification in project management.

Skills: To be successful in this role, you will need to:

  • Have excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Lead and motivate teams
  • Handle multiple projects simultaneously
  • Adjust to changes in schedules or priorities
  • Strong organizational skills

Career Path: With experience, a director of program management can move into a senior project manager or program manager role. They can also become project directors or executive directors with additional expertise. Some directors of program management may also choose to start their consulting firms.

Scrum Master

Average Annual Salary: $94,000 per year
Growth Rate: 5% – 10%

This might not be a familiar job title to you, but the role of a scrum master is becoming increasingly more common within the business world. A scrum master leads and manages a scrum team. A Scrum team follows the Scrum framework of flexibility, continuous improvement, and respectful teamwork in their IT projects. The scrum master role is perfect for those with excellent leadership and problem-solving skills. If you’re looking for a challenge and want to help others improve their productivity, this could be your role.

Education: Like most jobs on this list, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree to become a scrum master. However, many employers prefer those with a master’s degree or higher.

Certification: As for certification, there are a few different options available. The most popular is the Certified Scrum Master (CSM) certification offered by the Scrum Alliance.

Skills: Important skills for scrum masters to have include:

  • Leadership
  • Problem-solving
  • Excellent communication
  • Project management experience

Career Path: The scrum master role is a great starting point for those looking to move into a management position. With the right experience, you could eventually become a director of project management or even a C-suite executive.

Computer and Information Systems Managers

Average Annual Salary: $151,150 per year
Growth Rate: 11% (Faster than average)

Computer and information systems managers are on a higher ladder in the IT field. They develop and implement computer-related plans within an organization. This may involve training staff, setting up hardware and software, and integrating systems. They also liaise with other departments to ensure that all parties integrate their work successfully. Because they hold such a crucial role in maintaining the efficiency of an organization, these managers receive high salaries.

Education Requirements: A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for this position. However, many employers prefer candidates with a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) or project management.

Certifications Needed: Although not required, certification in project management (such as PMP certification) may give candidates an edge over the competition.

Skills Required: Besides excellent technical skills, computer and information systems managers must also be good at problem-solving, project management, and people management.

Career Path: Most computer and information systems managers start as lower-level IT professionals before being promoted into management. Some may also move into this role from a related field such as business administration or project management.

Construction Managers

Average Annual Salary: $97,180 per year
Growth Rate: 11% (Faster than average)

Last on the list of the top jobs for someone with a master’s in project management is a career as a construction manager. Construction managers oversee and coordinate all aspects of a construction project, from start to finish.

Their key roles involve:

  • Reviewing the project plans and blueprints
  • Hiring contractors and other workers
  • Making sure that the construction work wraps up on time, within budget, and to the required standards
  • Communicating with the client or owner of the construction project to keep them updated on the progress

Education Requirements: With a master’s in project management, you will have the necessary skills and knowledge to become a construction manager. In some cases, employers may also require a degree in engineering or architecture.

Certification: The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification for construction managers.

Skills: To be a successful construction manager, you need excellent communication, organizational, and problem-solving skills. You will also need to work well under pressure and handle stressful situations.

Career Path: Construction managers start their careers as project engineers or assistant project managers. With experience, they can move into positions such as construction executive or construction director.

These are the top jobs for someone with a master’s in project management. With the right skills and experience, you can find a job that matches your interests and reap the benefits of a healthy salary.

We gathered all the stats and average annual salaries from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Salary.com, and O*NET to ensure that we give you the most accurate information. We also used data from Payscale.com to get the median salaries for each position.

Take the Next Step

If you are looking for a challenging and rewarding career, project management could be the perfect fit. With the right qualifications and experience, you can find a job that matches your interests and pays well.

Earning your master’s in project management online is a great way to gain the skills and knowledge you need to succeed in this exciting field.

So what are you waiting for? Start your search for the perfect online program today.

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