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A project manager plays a vital role in each project’s success. If you are seriously interested in a project management career, it is imperative that you find the answers to these important questions  –

  • Is a project management degree worth it?
  • Why get a project management degree?

The short answer to the question – Is a degree in project management worth it? – is yes.

A project manager’s professional responsibilities are required from the planning stages through the project’s completion. This is the fundamental reason why project managers’ skills are always in high demand, across industry sectors.

If you are seriously considering a project management career, check out the guide below that offers insights and advice regarding the country’s many educational offerings.

Accreditation for Project Management Programs

Accreditation in the United States happens at two basic levels – regional accreditation and specialized accreditation.

Regional accreditation happens at the school or institution level. Each institution of higher education is awarded regional accreditation when the school complies with educational standards as created by the federal government’s six regional agencies.

Specialized Accreditation

As you continue your research into the many available aspects of a project management career, it is important to understand that the top project management schools will also receive specialized accreditation. Specialized accreditation is managed by sanctioned agencies within each industry.

More specifically, specialized accreditation is a formalized quality control methodology that evaluates specific programs or departments within a university or college. However, specialized accreditation differs from regional accreditation because the process is voluntary. The best project management degree programs will likely be accredited by one of these accreditation agencies –

The Global Accreditation Center (GAC) for Project Management Education Programs

The GAC is an independent accreditation agency that sets forth the policies and procedures for academic degrees in project management at the baccalaureate, doctorate, and post-master’s levels. The GAC offers PMI accreditation as it seeks to advance project management education excellence across the globe.

The Project Management Institute (PMI)

The Project Management Institute offers PMI accreditation and certification options for project management professionals. The Project Management Institute celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019, honoring the institute’s work throughout the globe in almost every country.

Type of Project Management Degrees

Professional project managers help businesses complete complicated projects. Examples of these types of project managers projects include –

  • Launching a new product from development to market.
  • Implementing a new IT system to improve company performance, to name a few.

While there are different kinds of project management programs available that train students to become different kinds of project managers, most project management bachelor degree programs prepare students for project management specializations by offering core coursework in –

  • Planning.
  • Organizing.
  • Implementing and execution.
  • Monitoring, to name a few stages of project management.

A bachelor degree in project management will also prepare students to become strong leaders with strong and effective interpersonal and communication skills as they learn to lead teams and work with clients to ensure projects are finished in accordance with a business’ goals and within budget.

Earning a bachelor degree in project management online is a great path to help those interested in a career in project management to compete for the high-demand jobs available in the industry.

Students pursuing a bachelor’s in project management degree will find there are many project management bachelor degree online options from which to choose. Enrolling in a bachelor degree in project management online program is a great way to help working learners balance their professional and personal life commitments. In addition, students can earn a bachelor degree in project management online program from one of the top universities in the nation without the need to relocate!

Most project management bachelor degree programs require the completion of 120 semester credits, of which about 60 semester credits must be pulled from the specialization in project management curriculum.

Bachelor’s programs in project management build the knowledge and skills necessary for project management careers. Learners study foundational business and project management concepts. They also typically strengthen their training by completing an internship or a capstone project.

A bachelor’s in project management will prepare to help you develop the required management skills used by project managers, which also includes the use of industry software. Included in most bachelor degree in project management online programs are these classes, core curriculum for all types of project managers –

  • Leadership.
  • Risk Management.
  • Technical Communication.
  • Global Aspects of Project Management.

In addition, many project management bachelor degree online programs offer a variety of type of project management concentrations –

  • Healthcare.
  • Construction.
  • IT.
  • Risk Management.
  • Contracts/Procurements, among others.

Project Management Certifications

Students who have a serious interest in a professional career in project management should also recognize the value and benefits of the many certifications and credentials available to fine-tune one’s project management skills. It pays dividends to review the available project management programs as one researches the best project management programs online. As you consider the project management certifications that may be of interest – be certain to answer these questions –

  • What is a project manager certification, and how will it help one’s career move forward?
  • Why get a project management certification if I already have earned a degree from one of the best project management certifications online?
  • What is the best project management training program available?
  • What does the Project Management Professional – PMP certification cost, and is the PMP exam hard to pass?
  • What is the CAPM certification?
  • What is project manager certification for those working in health care?
  • Is the PMP exam hard, and is it harder than CAPM certification?
  • How long is the PMP exam, and how many PMP exam questions are on the test?

The Project Management Institute

Established in the late 1960s in Pennsylvania, the Project Management Institute offers a variety of project management credentials. These include –

  • The PMP – the Project Management Profession – is one of the most popular credentials in the realm of project management. There are 180 PMP exam questions on the latest version of the PMP exam, which is fewer PMP exam questions than the previous PMP test (which had 200 PMP exam questions). Students who wish to take this exam will find the PMP certification cost to be $405 (US) for PMI members and the PMP certification cost to be $555 (US) for nonmembers.
  • The CAPM Certification – the Certified Associate in Project Management – this CAPM certification from PMI is similar to the PMP credential but does not require professional experience.

In addition, the PMI offers these best project management training and credential options –

International Project Management Association

Established and headquartered in Switzerland, the International Project Management Association (IPMA) offers various project management credentials to professionals throughout the globe.  The IPMA offers certifications in project management at four levels –

  • The IPMA – A is the program manager certification that demonstrates the credentialled professional’s ability to manage multiple projects.
  • The IPMA – B – is an international credential that demonstrates a project manager’s senior level competencies, which requires the effective application of the principles of project management.
  • The IMPA – C – is designed for project managers who have shown competence in managing complex projects for at least three years.
  • The IMPA – D – is an associate credential that is similar to the Project Management Institute’s CAPM credential.

The Global Association for Quality Management

The Global Association for Quality Management offers a variety of credentials that include the APM – the Associate of Project Management, The PPM- the Professional in Project Management, and the CPD – the Certified Project Director.

Careers in Project Management

For those PM students who currently hold a baccalaureate degree in project management, it is important to research the many different jobs and responsibilities that are available to these professionals. To help, consider finding the answers to these or similar questions –

  • What does a project manager do if employed in the field of healthcare?
  • What jobs can you get with a project management certificate?
  • What is a project manager, and what is a project coordinator? How do they differ?
  • What does a project manager do if employed in the software or information technology field?
  • Where can you find a qualified project manager’s job description?
  • What jobs can I get with a project management certification?
  • What does a project manager do if employed in the pharmaceutical industry?

The job description for a project manager will request that job candidates possess these professional qualities-

  • Attention to detail.
  • Highly organized.
  • Professional follow-through.
  • Multi-tasking abilities.
  • Effective communication skills.
  • Leadership and team building.

Learning what is a project manager begins with understanding that there are many viable paths to a successful project management career across industries. Let’s review some of the industries and jobs for project management certification holders –

  • The job description for a project manager in the construction industry would include managing projects that improve an aging infrastructure or the building of a shopping mall.
  • A project manager’s job description in the field of energy would include working on improving or developing new energy systems.
  • The job description for a project manager in the engineering field would include designing new products or improving the current manufacturing processes of current products.
  • A project manager’s job description in the field of pharmaceuticals manager new ideas from inception through market/sale.

What can you do with a bachelor of science and work experience; problem-solving, time management and organizational skills; critical thinking, project planning and leadership skills? You can take on a project management role like an operations manager, human resources manager, IT project manager, or construction project manager.

Project management positions job titles, and career paths increase further with a master’s degree. The skill sets of effective project management mean career options galore.

What is a Project Manager vs Project Coordinator?

It is important to understand when comparing project coordinator vs project manager jobs that a projector coordinator operates as a supportive, associate role in project management. So, let’s review what is a project coordinator?

A project coordinator is considered more of an entry-level position than that of a project manager. When defining the roles of a project manager vs project coordinator, it is critical to understand that project coordinators assist project managers and, in doing so, gain hands-on, real world project management experience. However, choosing to start a project management career may be beneficial to those professionals who apply for senior roles later in their careers.

Once you have earned a baccalaureate degree in project management, many project managerial professionals choose to further their education and professional skills by completing one of the many online or on-campus project management certification or certificate programs. Project managers often choose to specialize in one of the project management fields like – New Product Development, Construction, Information Technology, and Environmental Research, among others.

Available Jobs with Project Management Certification

According to a PMI recent survey (2/2020), here are the top Available Jobs with Project Management Certification –

  • Engineering Project Management Certification Jobs – professional engineering project managers that work in the engineering field are tasked with the responsibility of completing a project from inception to close, within a specified budget and defined timeline.
  • Aerospace Project Management Certificate Jobs – aerospace project managers are responsible for managing risk and quality while ensuring an aircraft is finished on time and within budget. Aerospace project managers work with the most sophisticated technology across the globe.
  • Pharmaceutical Certificate in Project Management Jobs – pharmaceutical project managers work alongside researchers, doctors, and professional engineers to make certain that a pharmaceutical companies research & development projects remain within budget and on time.
  • Consulting Project Management Jobs – those who work as consulting project managers work on a case-by-case basis across industries with an object to provide expertise and knowledge to increase the success of projects managed by various clients.

Team Roles in Project Management

Each work team will define the roles of the team members at the start of each project. As such, teach roles may vary based on the exact project and scope of the occupation. The following is an abridged list of a few of the potential roles project management professionals may play within a project team –

  • Technical Project Managers.
  • Business Analyst.
  • Associate Project Managers.
  • Team Leads.
  • Project Executives.
  • Software Developers, to name a few.

Each of the above-defined team project roles will contribute to the success of the project, but each position may require specific skills.

Project Management Salary

If you, as a potential project manager, have come this far in your research regarding project management programs, it is also important to understand –

  • How much does a project coordinator make when compared to a project specialist?
  • What will be a project manager starting salary?
  • How much does a project coordinator make per year?
  • How does a senior project manager salary differ from that of a project manager starting salary?
  • How does the average starting salary project manager compare to a project coordinator?

According to the professional statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the project management salary for 2019 for project management specialists was $73,570, which translates to $35.37 per hour.  In fact, in May 2019, there were more than 1.2 million professionals working as project management or business operations specialists.

When analyzing the income trends and aspects of project management, it is important to review the relevant percentile data regarding the average starting salary project manager and specialists –

Salary Percentile Data – Project Managers

Salary for Training and Development Specialist

Senior Project Manager -Hourly

10%$   32,680 per year$ 15.71 per hour
25%$   44,680 per year$ 45.65 per hour
50% (Median)$  61,210 per year$ 29.43 per hour
75%$  81,290 per year$ 39.08 per hour
90%$ 104,000 per year$ 50.10 per hour

The top-paying states for project management professionals are as follows –

The top Paying States for Project Management

Number of Jobs

Senior Project Manager Salary

District of Columbia36,840$102,720 per year 
Maryland29,930$ 94,770 per year 
Virginia36,920$ 92,320 per year 
New York49,010$ 92,060 per year 
Massachusetts22,420$ 91,730 per year 

The states with the highest employment for project management professionals are as follows –

States With Highest Employment for

Project Managers

Number of Jobs

Senior Project Manager Salary

California209,160$ 83,390 per year 
Texas117,990$ 82,750 per year 
Florida86,800$ 68,970 per year 
Illinois52,030$ 79,970 per year 
Colorado50,930$ 87,360 per year 

The top-paying metropolitan areas for project management professionals are as follows –

The top Paying Metropolitan Areas for Project Management

Number of Jobs

Project Management Salary

Calif.  – Lex Park,1,510$ 116,590 per year 
Wash, Arlington, DC, VA, MD, WV70,810$ 101,470 per year 
San Jose, Santa Clara, CA16,370$ 100,430 per year 
Huntsville, AL2,870$ 100,200 per year 
Florence, Muscle Shoals, ALN/A$ 99,160 per year 
Boulder, CO4,990$ 94,370 per year 
Bridgeport, Norwalk, Stamford, CT2,120$ 94,270 per year 
Boston, Cambridge, MA, NH20,270$  93,020 per year 
San Fran, Hayward, Oakland, CA39,570$ 93,010 per year 
Columbus, IN240$ 92,600 per year 

The Metropolitan areas that have the highest employment level for project management professionals are as follows –

The Top Paying Metropolitan Areas for Project Management

Number of Jobs

Project Management Salary

Los Angeles/Long Beach – CA75,750$ 81,650 per year 
NY, Newark, NJ, PA71,210$ 91,390 per year 
DC, VA, MD, WV70,810$101,470 per year 
Dallas, Ft. Worth, Arlington TX41,490$ 84,420 per year 
San Fran, Oakland, Hayward CA39,570$ 93,010 per year 
Chicago, IL, IN, WI39,190$ 80,900 per year 
Atlanta, Roswell, and Sandy Springs GA33,930$ 78,520 per year 
Denver, Aurora, Lakewood CO33,730$ 89,560 per year 

The top-paying industries for project management professionals are as follows –

The top Paying Industries for Project Management

Number of Jobs

Project Manager Salary

Independent Artists & Writers1,340$ 113,730 per year 
Software Publishers12,730$ 107,140 per year 
Electronic Comp. Manuf.3,230$ 105,630 per year 
Monetary Authorities960$ 104,540 per year 
Computer/Peripheral Manuf.n/a$ 101,120 per year 

The top-paying non-metro areas for project management professionals is as follows –

The top Paying Non-Metro Areas for Project Management

Number of Jobs

Project Manager Salary

Northern VA – non-metro420$ 97,910 per year 
Western Wyoming480$ 89,530 per year 
Upper Savannah, SC50$ 89,280 per year 
Southwest New York600$ 87,770 per year 
West North Dakota540$ 85,920 per year 

The industries that have the highest level of employment for project management professionals is as follows –

Industries with Highest Level of Employment

Number of Jobs

Project Manager Salary

Federal Exec. Branch173,850$ 87,550 per year 
Company Management77,330$ 84,250 per year 
Colleges/Universities/Prof. Schools60,290$ 67,720 per year 
Mgt., Scientific/Tech Consulting59,740$ 83,610 per year 
Computer System Design55,690$ 97,340 per year 

Professional Organizations

Every industry sets forth oversight organizations that help to support the professionals working in that industry and the industry as a whole.

Professional organizations act as industry advocators, vying to better the industry by offering a variety of helpful benefits that include –

  • Education for licensing and continuing education.
  • Ongoing Mentorships for new members and recent graduates of project management programs.
  • Domestic & International events and networking opportunities.
  • Job boards, among other benefits.

In the realm of project management, there are three organizations that help to define the role of project managers as professionals –

The Project Management Institute

Founded in 1968, The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers the project management Industry complete services that help develop the education, research, and standards for the industry. With more than 550,000 members, PMI offers a number of credentials and is considered the de facto criteria for certification.

The International Project Management Association

Established in Switzerland in the early 1970s, the IPMA sets the worldwide standards for project management organizations globally.  Each member country has an IPMA member organization that offers training and certification opportunities to its members.

The Association for Project Management

The Association for Project Management (APM) is a professional organization tasked with promoting the profession of project management. Founded in 1972 in the United Kingdom, APM was royally chartered in 2017. The APM boasts a membership of more than 21,000 professionals and more than 500 corporate memberships.

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