How to Become a Project Manager
Project Manager Careers & Degrees

Project Managers use several of their skills in order to oversee the completion of a project from beginning to end.

These professionals are responsible for planning, executing and finishing projects following time guidelines and predetermined budgets.

Project Managers can work in a variety of fields and organizations.

Some Project Managers are established contractors and are self employed while others can work in a large corporation in the project management department.

Some typical industries a Project Manager can work in include construction, computer science or information technology.

Education Requirements to Become a Project Manager

Students who are interested in this career and want to make the steps to become a Project Manager should attend a university or college program.

In addition, students have the option to seek a project management certification in order to show potential clients and employers their ability and skills.

There isn’t a specific major a student needs to take in order to become a Project Manager.

Although there are several focuses a student can choose from in order to begin their career.

A candidate who wants to become a Project Manager can choose a major depending on the industry they wish to work in.

For example, a student who wants to go into the Engineering field can major in or take some courses in engineering.

In addition, some colleges offer courses in project management as well as training for certification.

Some universities and colleges offer a Master’s program in project management.

Project Manager Programs can offer a variety of courses in order to prepare students for this career.

Typical courses and subjects student will work on include classes in writing, planning, risk management and ethics.

Students should also have a strong understanding of mathematics, statistics and decision science.

There are two organizations, the Project Management Institute PMI and the American Society for the Advancement of Project Management ASAPM , that administer project management certification.

This is a great way for professionals to prove they have the necessary skills to complete projects.

Project Manager Job Description

A project’s goal and objectives will vary according to the industry the Project Manager is working in.

A Project Manager will determine a project’s goal, whether it be increasing revenue or implementing a new marketing plan.

Project Managers will need to meet and work with supervisors and senior management in order to determine the scope and goals of the project as well as determine a timeline for final delivery.

They will decide on the project’s goal by evaluating their client’s overall objectives and determining how the project will achieve it.

They may draft documentation stating the goals, objectives and timeline and present it to senior management for final approval.

They will then make a plan according to predetermined specifications and relay information and plans to team members.

They will oversee, lead and manage the project from beginning to its final delivery making sure the project’s goal is achieved.

They may serve as a motivational leader in case the project runs into any problems.

A Project Manager is not necessarily in charge of team members overall duties.

However, they make sure a team member’s responsibilities related to the project are completed on time.

Project Manager Salary and Career Path

The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t provide exact wages for Project Managers.

However, institutions such as the Project Management Institute (PMI) have gathered information regarding professionals in this field.

The PMI’s report indicated the median salary for Project Manger professionals was approximately $96,000 in 2006.

A Project Manager’s exact salary depends on several factors.

Location, years of experience and education all determine a Project Manager’s exact wages.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics groups project management as an aspect of administrative and secretarial duties.

Under this classification, this career is expected to grow at an average rate of 11% through the year 2018.

The PMI states that professionals seeking membership accounts from their organization has increased over the past decade.

This indicates that there has been a growth in this profession and includes Project Managers who work in this specialty part time.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

$80,220
$39K
$54K
$80K
$99K
$128K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$88,070
Alaska$82,950
Arizona$73,910
Arkansas$60,930
California$83,390
Colorado$87,360
Connecticut$85,110
Delaware$85,850
District of Columbia$102,720
Florida$68,970
Georgia$75,800
Hawaii$76,780
Idaho$71,440
Illinois$79,970
Indiana$67,470
Iowa$69,280
Kansas$75,630
Kentucky$69,010
Louisiana$62,060
Maine$70,200
Maryland$94,770
Massachusetts$91,730
Michigan$73,770
Minnesota$73,960
Mississippi$65,720
Missouri$77,420
Montana$61,180
Nebraska$74,680
Nevada$68,010
New Hampshire$75,990
New Jersey$83,250
New Mexico$89,090
New York$92,060
North Carolina$77,750
North Dakota$74,790
Ohio$75,420
Oklahoma$76,150
Oregon$73,350
Pennsylvania$84,180
Rhode Island$86,550
South Carolina$72,870
South Dakota$69,400
Tennessee$63,310
Texas$82,750
Utah$73,410
Vermont$70,140
Virginia$92,320
Washington$83,490
West Virginia$62,490
Wisconsin$63,710
Wyoming$77,060
Guam$65,380
Puerto Rico$43,550
Virgin Islands$59,110

The top earning state in the field is District of Columbia, where the average salary is $102,720.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

District of Columbia - $102,720
Maryland - $94,770
Virginia - $92,320
New York - $92,060
Massachusetts - $91,730
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Project Management Specialists and Business Operations Specialists, OCC Code 13-1198, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat does a project manager do?

Project managers essentially are leaders that are held accountable for the failure or the success of a certain project.

In most cases, a project manager has a whole team that helps him or her carry out the objectives of the project.

Every project should have a timeline and a budget that have to be met.

The typical responsibilities of a project manager include defining and planning the project (building a working plan, assigning different tasks to the team, finding if there might be any risks involved); executing and managing the project (managing and keeping the budget, coordinating the work, dealing with any change, motivating the team, etc.); delivering and closing the project (delivering expectations to stakeholders, resolving unexpected difficulties, making sure the project delivers all expected outcomes, and so on).

QuestionHow much do project managers make?

On average, a project manager can make a little less than $55.000 per year in the United States.

In case you decide to follow this career path, you can expect to earn anywhere between $45.000 and $90.000 annually.

The salary would certainly depend on a wide range of factors, starting from your experience and ending with the geographical location.

An entry-level project manager typically makes around $22 per hour; while a top-level professional with plenty of experience can earn $43 on an hourly basis.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become a project manager?

The truth is that practically every industry has a project that needs a manager; that’s why you can acquire a bachelor’s degree in practically any field (a degree is not a must, but can be extremely helpful).

A year at a university can cost you anywhere between $8.000 and $30.000 and more depending on a wide range of factors.

You might want to go for a certificate program in project management after you obtain your bachelor’s degree.

There are plenty of programs available both online and offline (and for any budget).

You can find a free course online or get a certificate from Berkley for $7.000, for example.

QuestionWhat is the demand for project managers?

By 2024, the project manager job market is expected to grow by 6% in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As we have already mentioned, every industry needs a manager that will be responsible for various projects.

There will be a growth in the field thanks to the fact that new businesses are emerging and the old ones are expanding.

QuestionHow long does it take to become a project manager?

In case you decide to go for a bachelor’s degree, it will take you 4 years to obtain one.

Some candidates choose to acquire a master’s degree in a field that they are most interested in; it will take you 1-2 years to obtain one.

There are different certificate programs in project management; some can be completed in a week, while others last for a few semesters.

To become a Project Management Professional, you would need to have at least 60 months of unique project management experience and 7.500 hours spent leading projects.

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