How Do I Become a Project Manager?

A bachelor's degree in business or a specific field like construction management or information technology is usually required in order to become a project manager. Many colleges and universities offer degree programs in management and leadership that prepare students for careers as project managers. Schools offering Business Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Project managers acts as advisories and overseers, coordinating the necessary resources in order to complete a task. Described below are some specific details about the profession, including salary, education requirements, and the necessary skills to succeed at this position.

Important Facts About Project Managers

Median Salary (2019)* $73,275 (for all project managers)
Professional Certification Project Manager Professional (PMP) designation available through the Project Management Institute
Work Environment In-office with some work in the field
Similar Occupations Administrative coordinator; business managers; executive assistants; operations managers; office managers
Job Outlook (2016-2026)** 12% growth (for all computer & information systems managers)
11% (for all construction managers)
6% (for all architectural and engineering managers)

Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education

Different fields of business require different degrees. Generally, a bachelor's degree in management, leadership, or business administration can qualify individuals for project managing positions. A four-year degree in management or leadership teaches students to maintain successful business teams, organize projects, and meet business objectives. These business degree programs also teach students to communicate and collaborate with other business professionals.

For project managers in specific fields like telecommunications, construction management, or information technology, a specialized bachelor's degree can lead to entry-level project manager positions. For example, a project manager in construction might have a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management or Civil Engineering. A project manager in information technology might have a bachelor's degree in computer science, database administration, or computer networking. These degrees allow students to pursue project management positions in specific fields where specialized information is highly valued.

Experience

Many project manager positions require candidates to have several years of experience in a related field. Oftentimes, professionals seek entry-level, non-management positions before seeking project managing careers. This gives candidates solid business experience and the opportunity for eventual career advancement. By gaining non-management experience, professionals can become proficient in business communication, teamwork, and negotiation, which are all important skills for successful project managers.

Skills Required

Project managers must be able to create and maintain successful business teams, projects, and long-term business goals. By clearly communicating business policies and procedures, project managers can motivate employees to work toward a common goal. Project managers must be organized and able to make important business decisions that could affect many aspects of an organization. Critical-thinking and analysis skills are essential to project managing success.

In addition, project managers should have a firm understanding of financial and accounting principles because they are often responsible for meeting financial requirements and producing reports and budgets. Project managers who work with technology must be able to continuously update their knowledge by staying up-to-date with computer and technological trends.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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