Project management is the application of skills, specific knowledge, and techniques to accomplish project objectives, and overall, business goals. It’s a highly relevant field where interpersonal skills, lifelong learning, and career opportunities thrive. Project management is a lucrative career and the best major for project management careers depends on your career goals.
If you want to pursue a career in the field of project management and are unsure about what degree for project management to consider, this article will provide information on how to choose a major for project management, the best majors for project management, and effective tips for choosing the right degree in the field.
Why Choose a Career in Project Management
You should choose a career in project management as it offers career paths that cut across many industries as teams take on projects to meet business goals. For instance, a marketing manager plans a marketing campaign, onboards professionals for it, schedules and assigns tasks, and monitors the progress towards marketing goals.
The demand for project managers is high due to their versatility, coordination, leadership, and time management skills. Project management professionals are lifelong learners who understand the fundamentals of industry operations and methods for carrying out industry-specific projects.
The field offers competitive salaries, as entry-level project managers earn an annual salary of $54,830 per annum. Relevant project management skills you should have if you are interested in this field include effective communication skills, strategic thinking skills, critical thinking skills, effective leadership skills, organizational skills, team-building skills, and conflict resolution skills.
Project Management Job Outlook
Job seekers interested in project management may wonder if the field has a positive job outlook. The growing demand for project management professionals highlights promising job opportunities for people trained in this field.
A report by the Project Management Institute shows the project management field will grow by 33 percent from 2017 to 2027, adding approximately 22 million jobs to project-oriented industries. Also, the salary typically increases to six figures when project managers progress to senior-level roles, according to ZipRecruiter.
Project Management Job Satisfaction
Project managers typically enjoy job satisfaction in their work as the salaries are high and the demand for these professionals means job security and opportunities for professional advancement. For instance, earning project management certifications from authorized bodies like the Project Management Institute (PMI) can qualify you for promotions or salary raise.
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Project Management Salary Potential
|Career||Minimum Level of Education||Average Salary|
|Strategic project manager||Bachelor’s degree||$118,596|
|Project quality manager||Bachelor’s degree||$114,600|
|Portfolio project manager||Bachelor’s degree||$112,242|
|Project management consultant||Bachelor’s degree||$110,702|
|Project management analyst||Bachelor’s degree||$78,277|
How to Choose a Major for Project Management: Tips for Selecting the Right Project Management Degree
If you seek a career in project management, it’s possible to feel overwhelmed thinking about the right career path in such a broad field. Here are five effective tips for selecting the right project management program.
Tip 1: Identify your interest, passion, and value
Understanding your core abilities, passion, and interest can steer you towards a fitting project management major. If you lack foundational knowledge of project management, you should do some research to understand how your passion, interest, and skills align with a specific project management field.
Tip 2: Consider the career prospect
As disruptive tech innovations erode traditional jobs, it’s critical to consider whether project management jobs will be available and competitive in the future. Compare project management job outcomes such as salary, employability, and career advancement prospects. Consider whether your project management specialization would inspire you 10 years from now.
Tip 3: Research the prerequisite and job outlook
Some project management majors are highly specialized, leading to a narrow job outlook. A major that prepares you to work in a variety of industries will provide you with in-demand skills. Therefore, find out if your desired project management path is relevant to businesses as this affects job availability.
Tip 4: Seek advice from professionals
Before choosing your career path, seek advice from professionals who already work in this field or have experience in project management so they can give you information on whether or not this is the right choice for you and if there are any pitfalls along the way.
Tip 5: Seek help
Academic advisors are powerful sources of help. They can break down the learning requirements for a specific major and provide its benefits and drawbacks. Also, they can review academic performance to determine your core strength and suggest a major that aligns with it. Ask questions and schedule future meetings if necessary.
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What Degree for Project Management: Best Majors for a Project Management Career
Project Management Consultancy
Project management consultants utilize specialized knowledge to manage deliverables and resources for starting and executing business projects. They have exceptional leadership, analytical, creative thinking, and collaborative skills. They deploy skills for managing costs, presenting project progress to stakeholders, keeping the entire team on track, and meeting project goals.
Relevant certifications for project management consultants include Professional Project Management (PMP) and Certified ScrumMaster (CSM). The University of Pennsylvania and the University of Southern California are top institutions offering project management consultancy degree programs.
- Associated Career Paths: Program manager, information technology project manager
- Levels of Education: Associate degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree
Project Management Analysis
Project management analysts are skilled project managers with in-depth business knowledge and financial analysis skills. They often collaborate with a company’s management team to help reduce cost and increase profit.
Furthermore, project management analysts have robust data skills and utilize them for complex projects. Necessary project management certifications that project management analysts should have are Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) and Professional Project Management (PMP). The University of Phoenix and New York University (NYU) offer project management analysis degree programs.
- Associated Career Paths: Project coordinator
- Levels of Education: Associate degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree,
Portfolio managers analyze the cost and potential returns of embarking on a project. They review the project scope, collect relevant project data, and incorporate business analysis to determine if a project benefits companies and stakeholders willing to invest.
Also, it is crucial for portfolio managers to be well-grounded in portfolio management and risk analysis as they engage in forecasting smart business decisions. Certified Property Manager (CPM) and Professional Project Management are essential certifications for portfolio managers. The University of Phoenix and New York University have portfolio management degree programs.
- Associated Career Paths: Portfolio and risk manager, investment and portfolio manager
- Levels of Education: Bachelor’s degree, master’s degree
Strategic Project Management
Strategic project managers are experts that focus on meeting business targets with effective project management methods. They clearly define the project objectives and work on them to achieve business results.
Some strategic project manager roles include improving customer satisfaction and implementing principles of management to reduce operational costs. Professional Project Management and Six Sigma Green Belt are relevant certifications you should have as a strategic project manager. Harvard University and Northwestern University are top colleges offering this course.
- Associated Career Paths: Program manager
- Levels of Education: Associate degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, doctorate degree
Project Quality Management
Project quality managers are professionals that instill and manage quality throughout the entire phase of a project. They have in-depth knowledge of product quality, quality control, quality project planning, and quality assurance.
Project quality managers utilize their abilities to gauge the quality of project activities and, when necessary, implement corrective actions to bring it up to standard. They help improve product quality, and customer satisfaction, and increase productivity. Professional Project Management and Six Sigma Green Belt are important certifications in this field. The University of Houston offers this course.
- Associated Career Paths: Operations manager, production planner, supply chain manager
- Levels of Education: Associate degree, bachelor’s degree, master’s degree
Other Projects Management Related Majors
Below are other project management-related majors. These fields have a vast amount of opportunities for employment with careers in the industry.
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- Sales management
- Advertising manager
- Medical and health services manager
- Construction manager
- Warehouse director
- Computer and information systems manager
- Business analyst
- Human resource specialist
- Call center manager
Is a Career in Project Management Right for Me?
Yes, a career in project management is right for you because it is an in-demand and unique field that’s functional across several industries, requiring both technical and soft skills. It’s an interesting career path to consider if you’re inclined toward resource management, organization, planning, budgeting, and leadership.
You can apply for project management roles and become a successful project manager if you specialize in project management and acquire the core skills necessary to succeed in this field. A project management degree can help you learn about different levels of project management, as well as a range of project management aspects, project management components, project management tools, and project management software.
Best Major for Project Management FAQ
Many project managers hold an undergraduate management degree and some secure a master’s degree. Internships, apprenticeships, online degrees, and on-the-job training also provide relevant experience in project management.
A project management degree opens doors to work in construction, sales, marketing, blockchain, finance and insurance, and other essential industries.
While there are many ways to obtain a project management degree, the most popular and traditional route is through an associate or bachelor’s degree program. You can also consider taking online courses or attending a project management bootcamp.
You need to major in project management or related fields to become a project manager. A project management major will provide you with the skills, education, and knowledge to manage multiple projects.
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