Career Definition for a Program Manager
Program managers, often called project leaders, are responsible for establishing and implementing objectives for business or technical endeavors. They can be found in virtually any area or industry, including those associated with environmental science, engineering, the government or the private sector. Program managers ensure that all work is being completed correctly and in a timely manner. They also monitor how projects are progressing and report the details to upper management.
|Education||Bachelor's degree in business, however, some prospective employers may seek expertise in a specific subject area|
|Job Skills||Written and oral communication skills, leadership, ability to work in a team, attention to detail, organizational, multi-tasking, and working well under pressure|
|Median Salary (April 2019)*||$131,144|
|Job Growth (2017-2027)*||Increase of 22 million jobs|
Source: *Salary.com and the Project Management Institute
Educational requirements for aspiring project managers include a minimum of a bachelor's degree. While some companies may prefer candidates with a degree in business, others may be looking for applicants with expertise in a specific subject area. For example, a program management position in the environmental sector may require a bachelor's degree in biology or earth science, as well as experience in the field. Experienced program managers may be eligible to for a Project Management Professional (PMP) credential, and requirements include a high school diploma or bachelor's degree, 35 hours of coursework in project management and 3-5 years of experience (depending on educational background).
Program managers should have excellent written and oral communication skills and have the ability to both lead and function as a member of a team. Attention to detail and organizational skills, as well as the ability to multi-task and work well under pressure are also key for program managers.
Career and Salary Outlook
While salaries for program managers vary by educational background, experience and location, individuals employed in this position earned median salaries of $131,144 in April 2019, according to Salary.com. In April 2019, those working in the IT industry and nonprofit sectors earned median salaries of $111,309 and $50,056 respectively, as reported by PayScale.com. Around the globe, the Project Management Institute has projected an increase of 22 million new program management jobs from 2017 to 2027 (www.pmi.org).
Alternate Career Options
Human Resources Managers
Human resources managers act as the conduit between management and a company's employees, and their duties typically those associated with staffing and strategic planning. A 4-year degree in business or human resources is usually sufficient to obtain a position; more advanced opportunities may require a master's degree in a relevant field of study. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), human resources managers earned median annual wages of $113,300 in May 2018. Between 2016 and 2026, the BLS has projected a 9%, or as fast as the national average, increase in employment nationwide for human resources managers (www.bls.gov).
Training and Development Managers
Training and development managers organize and implement programs that provide employees with the information they need to keep their industry knowledge and expertise up to date. Professional requirements include a bachelor's or master's degree in business, human resources or related subject area and prior experience in the field. Training and development managers who were employed in May 2018 were paid median salaries of $111,340 a year. Nationwide, job opportunities for of training and development managers are expected to increase by a faster than average rate of 10% from 2016 to 2026 (www.bls.gov).