Project Management Careers

Read on to learn about typical courses, resources, and careers in this field.

Staff Writer

2022-09-0825 min read

Project managers oversee diverse teams from the start to the completion of projects. Professionals in this sector combine business and technical knowledge with industry-specific know-how to manage projects.

This guide details project management occupations, including degree requirements, professional development tools, salaries, and job prospects.

Why Choose Project Management?

Just about every company has projects. That means just about every company could use a project manager.

Whether you're interested in construction, architecture, computer science, robotics, or something else, chances are you'll be able to use project management skills in your career. And since it's such a versatile career, you can leverage these transferable skills to enhance your resume, no matter where your career takes you.

How to Start your Project Management Journey

A college degree is the best way to build essential skills and access professional development tools you'll need on your project management journey. There are several degree options available.

Education Requirements

Associate Degree

Although it's rare, some two-year universities offer associate's degrees in project and construction management. You can also enroll in a generic business administration/management program, which covers similar basics. In addition, an associate degree can qualify students for project coordinator entry-level jobs.

Bachelor's Degree

Most project managers get a bachelor's degree. Bachelor's degree holders can work as entry-level project managers in marketing, human resources, and training and development.

Master's Degree

Master's programs in project management teach industry-specific abilities, qualifying you for mid-level positions like senior project managers. Students learn to manage cost and value and control procurement while following commercial laws and regulations in the U.S. and internationally. In addition, many institutions offer degrees in engineering and healthcare, allowing you to steer product and service innovation.

Doctorate in Project Management

At the doctoral level, students can choose between two main types of degrees. Doctor of project management programs focuses on scholar-practitioner training that prepares you for C-level executive jobs in major businesses. You can also get a Ph.D. in business administration with a project management focus. A Ph.D. often leads to professions in college teaching and research.

Employment Prospects

Project management careers span construction, marketing, I.T., biotech, and green energy. Successful managers are skilled problem-solvers and communicators willing to take bold steps to accomplish projects on schedule and within budget. Project managers must have business and technical capabilities because they're involved in every phase.

Project Management Career Forecast

PMI reports that the average yearly project manager salary in the U.S. is $115,000. The highest-paying industries for project managers are consulting, resources, aircraft, pharmaceuticals, and food & beverage.

But according to the BLS, management professionals make $105,660 annually. However, your employer, educational background, and skill set all affect how much money you can make.

The BLS predicts that management roles will grow by 8% between 2021 and 2031, adding 883,900 jobs to the U.S. economy.

Lucrative Project Management Career Paths

Here are some lucrative career opportunities available to project management majors.

Project Management Specialists

Project management specialists oversee a project's budget, timeline, and other elements. In addition, they organize and direct the efforts of the technical team.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a project management specialist is $94,500. The salary ranges from $49,750 to $159,140.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Discuss project needs and goals with clients.

  • Include objectives, money, schedules, and staff in project plans.

  • Identify, review, and choose project vendors and consultants.

  • Assign roles to the project crew

  • Discuss difficulties with project staff

  • Budget project costs carefully.

  • Track milestones and deliverables

  • Modify project plans and get approval

  • Distribute project documentation

Industries Employing Project Management Specialists

The industries actively hiring project management specialists include:

  • Professional, scientific, and technical services

  • Construction of buildings

  • Manufacturing

  • Administrative and support services

  • Finance and insurance

Project Assistant

Project assistants are crucial in almost every business. They may work independently or under the direction of project managers. Project assistants undertake many roles to ensure projects run successfully.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a project assistant is $45,130. The salary ranges from $36,000 to $61,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Collaborating with project managers to make sure deadlines are met.

  • Monitor project expenses and request more money if needed.

  • Scheduling construction site inspections or building plan meetings with architects or engineers

  • Checking client bids and proposals for project compliance

  • Recruiting, screening, and shortlisting for available positions

  • Organizing project proposals, contracts, and reports

Industries Employing Project Assistants

The industries actively hiring project assistants include:

  • Construction and Engineering

  • Finance

  • Insurance Services.

  • Healthcare Administration

  • Information Services and Technology

  • Advertising.

Project Administrator

A Project Administrator oversees schedules, assigns tasks, makes action plans, assesses risks/opportunities, and gathers resources. The goal is to fulfill firm projects within schedule, quality, and budget constraints.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a project administrator is $131,373. The salary ranges from $30,342 to $205,253

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Record meeting minutes

  • Divide projects into tasks and set deadlines and goals.

  • Create and adjust workflows

  • Perform risk analysis

  • Order equipment, software

  • Track expenses and estimate future costs

Industries Employing Project Administrators

The industries actively hiring project administrators include:

  • Construction and Engineering

  • Finance

  • Insurance Services.

  • Healthcare Administration

  • Information Services and Technology

  • Advertising.

Marketing Coordinators

A Marketing Coordinator oversees events, campaigns, and research. In addition, they support a department's efforts and often handle logistics and strategic partnerships.

Average Salary

The average salary of a marketing coordinator is $46,355. The salary ranges from $36,000 to $61,000

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Analyze customer behavior (e.g., purchasing habits, trends, and preferences)

  • Create effective marketing campaigns

  • Track online marketing efforts

  • Monitor results with marketing managers or specialists.

  • Analyze competitors

  • Analyze sales data to prepare reports.

Industries Employing Marketing Coordinators

The industries actively hiring marketing coordinators include:

  • Media and film production

  • Retail

  • Hospitality

Project Coordinators

Project coordinators help coordinate resources, equipment, meetings, and information. In addition, they plan projects to finish on time and under budget.

Average Salary

The average salary of a project coordinator is $64,431. The salary ranges from $30,000 to $127,500.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Coordinate project management resources, equipment, and information

  • Break projects into actions and deadlines.

  • Work with clients to define requirements, scope, and objectives

  • Assign internal assignments and manage schedules

  • Make sure clients' demands are addressed as projects evolve

  • aid in creating budgets

  • Assess risk and opportunity

  • Manage project progress and challenges

Industries Employing Project Coordinators

The industries actively hiring project coordinators include:

  • Healthcare Administration

  • Construction and Engineering

  • Information Services and Technology

  • Finance

  • Insurance Services.

  • Advertising.

Resource Manager

Resource managers help project managers plan and allocate workers. They analyze a company's employment capacity, assign people to projects, and hire new workers.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a resource manager is $63,656. The salary ranges from $57,701 to $71,936.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Assigning workers based on talents and expertise.

  • Hiring according to project budgets.

  • Managing resources and supporting project managers.

  • Monitoring employee workload, overtime, and utilization.

  • Redistributing resources, modifying goals, or adding employees can reduce resource concerns.

  • Assisting with H.R. functions like payroll, compensation, and training.

Industries Employing Resource Managers

The industries actively employing resource managers include:

  • Construction

  • Engineering

  • Software development

  • Information technology

  • Healthcare

  • Pharmaceutical.

  • Marketing

Scrum Master

A Scrum master ensures the team follows the agreed-upon processes.

The Scrum master removes hurdles and distractions from the team's path. The scrum master is the point of contact with individuals or teams outside the Scrum team.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a certified scrum master is $95,431. The salary ranges from $65,000 to $127,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Getting rid of obstacles

  • Creating a team-friendly atmosphere

  • Taking care of team dynamics

  • Maintaining good interactions between the team, product owner, and others

  • Keeping the group secure from outside intrusion.

Industries Employing Scrum Masters

The industries actively hiring scrum masters include:

  • Financial services

  • Product development

  • Construction

  • Advertising and marketing.

  • Consulting firms.

  • Government offices.

  • Disrupters (Airbnb, Uber)

Account Manager

Account managers advocate for clients and work with internal departments to meet their demands. They may help with sales, complaints, data collection and analysis, and customer service.

Average Salary

The average salary of an account manager is $57,555. The salary ranges from $40,000 to $86,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Understanding and explaining product value to clients.

  • Building trusting and respectful relationships with clients.

  • Collaborating with internal divisions to meet client needs.

  • Gathering and analyzing customer data.

  • Inventory and account note accuracy.

  • Updating product and service knowledge.

  • Improving mechanisms to resolve complaints and prevent new problems.

Industries Employing Account Managers

The industries actively hiring account managers include:

  • Marketing and advertising

  • Public relations and communications industries

  • Information technology and services.

  • Financial services and broadcast media

Office Manager

An Office Manager supervises staff, administers policies, manages administrative systems, and engages with H.R. and legal counsel.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of an office manager is $50,219. The salary ranges from $35,000 to $71,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Set up appointments and meetings.

  • Order stationery and office supplies

  • Update office policies with H.R.

  • Plan office operations and processes

  • Ensure all invoices are paid on time

  • Manage office vendor, service provider, and leasing contract discussions.

Industries Employing Office Managers

The industries actively hiring office managers include:

  • Manufacturing

  • Healthcare and hospitals

  • Education

  • Finance,

  • Government authorities and nonprofits.

Marketing Manager

A Marketing Manager plans and tracks the budget for their department, segment, or marketing campaign.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a marketing manager is $68,507. The salary ranges from $46,000 to $102,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Developing ideas and procedures to increase the company's reputation and drive traffic

  • Partner with major industry players, agencies, and vendors.

  • Prepare and manage the marketing budget quarterly and annually.

  • Approve marketing materials, including website banners, pamphlets, and case studies.

  • Measure marketing campaign performance, acquire insight and compare goals.

  • Analyze consumer behavior and adapt marketing campaigns accordingly.

Industries Employing Marketing Managers

The industries actively hiring marketing managers include

  • Marketing and advertising

  • Information technology and services

  • Hospital & Healthcare

  • Financial Services.

Operations Manager

An operations manager manages high-level H.R. activities like talent attraction, training requirements, and recruiting procedures. They improve quality, productivity, and efficiency by analyzing and improving organizational processes.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of an operations manager is $68,439. The salary ranges from $45,000 to $107,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Give the organization inspiring leadership.

  • Make crucial policy, planning, and strategy decisions.

  • Implement and review operational processes.

  • Assist H.R. in hiring.

  • Promote a high-performance, high-morale organizational culture.

  • Control the planning, reporting, auditing, and budgeting processes.

  • File legal and regulatory paperwork and monitor compliance.

Industries Employing Operations Managers

The industries actively hiring operations managers include:

  • Retail

  • Construction

  • Transportation

  • Hospitality industry

  • Healthcare organizations.

Project Management Consultant

Project consultants provide operational, strategic, or technical advice. They work with clients to set project parameters, design plans, and assign tasks and resources. They monitor each stage of the project and intervene as needed.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a project management consultant is $86,276. The salary ranges from $57,000 to $139,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Determining project scope through consultation and research.

  • Analyzing existing project plans' strengths, shortcomings, and hazards and offering improvements.

  • Specifying project parameters.

  • Calculate costs and coordinate budgets with finance.

  • Allocating staff to project tasks.

  • Setting realistic project goals and timelines across departments.

  • Providing direction and monitoring project progress.

Industries Employing Project Management Consultants

The industries actively hiring project management consultants include:

  • Healthcare Administration

  • Construction and Engineering

  • Information Services and Technology

  • Finance

  • Insurance Services.

  • Advertising.

Sales Manager

Sales managers head a sales group or team. They direct and create goals, train and encourage sales team members, handle customer complaints, evaluate sales data and records, and build a client or customer base.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a sales manager is $127,490. The salary ranges from $61,090 to $208,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Solve sales and service complaints

  • Approve budgets and spending

  • Monitor client preferences to target sales efforts

  • Review sales data

  • Sales projections and product/service profitability

  • Determine any discounts or unique pricing arrangements.

  • Develop plans to attract new customers through direct sales, cold calling, and B2B marketing visits.

  • Assign sales territory and set sales quotas

  • Coordinate sales training

Industries Employing Sales Managers

The industries actively hiring sales managers include:

  • Retail

  • Manufacturing

  • Automotive

  • construction

Project Cost Estimators

Cost estimators collect and analyze data to estimate the time, money, materials, and labor needed to make a product, develop a building, or deliver a service.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a project cost estimator is $65,170. The salary ranges from $38,880 to $115,690.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Identify factors impacting costs

  • Create accurate project estimates by reviewing designs and technical papers.

  • Work together with clients, contractors, engineers, and architects.

  • Recommend strategies to save costs

  • Help sales teams prepare client estimates and bids

Industries Employing Project Cost Estimators

The industries actively hiring project cost estimators include:

  • Manufacturing

  • Construction

Product Development Manager

Project development managers oversee new product and service developments. They often work alongside designers, engineers, and other experts to complete projects. Project development managers often handle budgeting too. They track prices to avoid needless spending.

Average Salary

The average annual salary of a product development manager is $93,819. The salary ranges from $41,000 to $165,000.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Hiring, terminating, and motivating project team members

  • Creating a timetable and budget based on client needs

  • Coordinate with other departments to execute the project on schedule and within budget.

  • Project monitoring, problem identification, and changes

  • Developing project schedules, budgets, and action plans

  • Estimating project time, cost, hazards, and problems

  • Planning, creating, implementing, and evaluating a project

  • Implementing client-specified initiatives

Industries Employing Product Development Managers

The industries actively hiring project development managers include:

  • Healthcare Administration

  • Construction and Engineering

  • Information Services and Technology

  • Finance

  • Insurance Services.

  • Advertising.

How to Boost your Project Management Career

The simplest way to boost your project management career is to upskill yourself. You can do this by getting an advanced degree or through certifications. Certification demonstrates core knowledge and builds specific abilities.

Visit the Project Management Institute to see which certification interests you. If you prefer an advanced degree, look for universities offering master's in project management or related fields.

Pros and Cons of Project Management Careers

Project management has its benefits and drawbacks. Here are a few.


  • Project management is diverse since each project is unique.

  • Project management professionals make good money.

  • Some consider project management CEO training.


  • Project management isn't for risk-averse people. You rarely know how a project will go.

  • Not everything works out. Some projects may fail or not deliver as expected.

  • Managing a project can be very stressful. You're responsible for your team's performance and the success or failure of a project.

Skills You'll Develop While Studying Project Management

Here are some essential skills you'll need in project management

Communication Skills

As a project manager, you'll work with different people, such as team members, other department heads, clients, etc. Plus most projects have an extensive list of stakeholders you must align, update, and keep satisfied. Therefore, communication is crucial when managing a large team.

Organization Skills

The organization is a broad phrase that spans many subskills, from large-picture items like project planning to everyday activities like personal time management.

As a project manager, you're responsible for managing your work and keeping others organized. So organizational abilities are a key project manager strength.

Adaptability Skills

The finest project managers are adaptive and don't fear going off-track. It's one of the most crucial projects management abilities, allowing them to adjust to change without abandoning the entire project plan and starting again.

Leadership Skills

Great leadership is subjective. What makes a good leader varies by industry, team, and individual.   Good leaders need several of the project management skills mentioned above. You need to convey the project aim effectively, relate to your team with empathy, and steer the project through tough patches, but you also need that extra je ne sais quoi that can inspire the team.

Leadership is a fundamental project management ability. It grows with project management experience.

How to Prepare for a Project Management Career

1. Get the Right Education

First, get the necessary education. You don't need a degree to be a good project manager, but some educational training helps. If you get a certification in your field, you'll have a leg up on the competition. In addition, it increases your chances of securing top project management jobs.

2. Assess your project management skills.

If you've planned, managed, budgeted, scheduled, or tracked a project, you've done some project management. Past events may have given you project management talents you didn't realize you needed.

If you have a lot of experience, you might apply for project management jobs or contact your manager. For example, it you have three years of project management experience, you can take the PMP exam and use the certificate to look for high-paying project management jobs.

3. Build project management experience.

Project managers often start in non-management roles on a team. For example, I.T. project managers may have worked as I.T. associates or business analysts for several years. Their roles may expand as they gain industry experience, supervisory responsibilities, organizational skills, and teamwork.

Look for project management changes in your current job. Whether you work in an I.T. firm, a hospital, a retail store, or a restaurant, there are likely things that need planning, implementing, or improving.

4. Enhance your project manager resume

It's important to update your resume as your knowledge and experience in the industry grow. Review entry-level to senior project management job listings to see what employers want.

Your CV should prominently display your job-related qualifications. Use action verbs to explain past roles and highlight quantitative outcomes.

Project Management Resources to Help Your Career

The following resources can help you gain entry or advance your project management career.

Professional organizations which offer educational and networking opportunities. They are a great place to start as a young project management professional. Some professional organizations include:

How to Switch to a Project Management Career

First, pick an industry you'd like to work in. For example, this industry could be in the Software development, media, finance, or other spaces. Next, get information on the average salary of the project manager in that industry.

Find a job working with a good project manager. See what you can accomplish now, however simple, in the industry you choose, and offer to help the project manager. You'll gain knowledge and encourage the project manager to mentor you. Keep doing this until you have enough experience as a project coordinator or assistant.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Project Management?

Project management uses tools, information, processes, and competencies to ensure project success. Project management is unique because it's time-bound. Project management is only done during a project's duration.

What certification do I need for a Project Management career?

Here are some project management certifications you'll find useful in your career. You can get most of these certifications from the Project Management Institute.

  • The Project Management Professional Certification

  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

  • Disciplined Agile Scrum Master (DASM) Certification

  • The PRINCE2 Certification

Can I get a Project Management degree online?

Yes, you can. You can get a bachelor's and a master's degree in project management online. Arizona State University, Northeastern University, and Bellevue University are notable universities offering online degrees in project management.

What fields can Project Management professionals work in?

A project manager's career options range from the construction industry to healthcare administration to the business world.

Is there a high demand for Project Management majors?

Yes, there is. By 2027, the Project Management Institute estimates there will be 22 million unfilled positions in project management.

Final Thoughts

Project management can lead to many distinct career pathways. For example, the beauty of project management is that it can help you improve in your profession. If you're an engineer or an I.T. specialist, project management can make you a better engineer/I.T. specialist.

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