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Security Project Manager: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a security project manager. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

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A security project manager directs security projects based on a company's specific goals and needs. In addition to developing project plans, they supervise the work of various team members, which can include electricians, engineers, system designers and computer programmers. The minimum education for this career is a bachelor's degree, although job candidates who have completed a relevant master's degree and hold professional certification are often preferred by many employers.

Essential Information

Security project managers work with a project team, overseeing the development of security systems for the protection of facilities, personnel, data and assets. Using a combination of management skills and specific security system knowledge, they coordinate the security project through its progressive stages, with the goal of project completion within specified time and budget constraints.

The necessary skills for this career are developed by obtaining a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as business management or computer science. Obtaining a master's degree in project management and acquiring certifications from professional organizations can improve a security project manager's marketability.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in project management or related field; master's degree preferred
Other Requirements Professional certification is preferred
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 4% for managers, all other*
Median Salary (2016) $63,080 for security managers**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale.com

Duties

Understanding the needs and goals of an organization and developing an appropriate project plan is the responsibility of a security project manager. Specific duties include keeping up with the progress of the project team, which can include computer programmers, electricians, system designers and engineers. Throughout the project, a security project manager must monitor costs and schedules while maintaining an appropriate level of quality in security system development and installation.

A security project manager is required to facilitate efficient communication across all levels of a project to ensure consistency in reaching the project's goal, and to help in the recognition of any potential opportunities, risks or complications. It's the responsibility of this project manager to stay current with any advances or changes in equipment, technology and methodology.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) places security project managers within the larger category of 'all other managers' when reporting job outlook statistics. Employment for that larger group is expected to increase at a rate of 4% from 2014 until 2024. Security managers earned $63,080 in median annual wages as of October 2016, according to PayScale.com.

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Requirements

Security project managers must possess certain traits, such as flexibility, assertiveness, approachability and foresight. Being able to handle stressful situations, to delegate tasks and to bring together the ideas of team members are also crucial. Skills required for this position include communication, leadership and organization. Math and computer skills are essential for many of the tasks required of a security project manager.

To develop these necessary skills, a security project manager should at least obtain a bachelor's degree in a related discipline, such as business management, computer technology, mathematics or engineering. Often, a security project manager benefits from additional courses in engineering or computer science.

Master's degree programs in project management can give additional understanding of the structure of projects to enhance the security manager's ability to coordinate the various facets of security project completion. These programs include courses in statistics, cost analysis, decision science, ethics, team building, system planning and risk management.

Professional organizations, such as the Security Industry Association (SIA), offer certifications that enhance skills and professional marketability. For instance, the SIA conducts a Certified Security Project Manager certification program (www.siaonline.org). This program consists of coursework in the fundamentals of project management, the essentials of Internet Protocol (IP) design and usage, the basics of closed-circuit television (CCTV) and access control systems and general financial concepts.

Certification is based on completion of an exercise in generating a detailed project estimate, passing a test over the coursework and verifying hours of actual work experience. Security project managers with bachelor's degrees must complete 2,500 hours of experience, while a manager without a degree is required to complete 4,000 hours.

The skills and knowledge that successful security project managers should possess include leadership, foresight, math, business and computer technology, some of which can be acquired through a postsecondary degree in a program such as business management or computer science. A related master's program further develops these skills and often involves topics in system planning, statistics and decision science. Obtaining professional certification through an organization like the Security Industry Association can validate a candidate's competence and value when searching for employment.

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