Alternative Careers for Project Managers

Jan 16, 2020

There are many jobs that could benefit from having a project manager who knows how to organize and accomplish tasks efficiently. Explore some of the possible alternatives careers for project managers, as well as their education requirements.

Alternative Career Options for Project Managers

Project managers are adept at coordinating, overseeing staff members and completing a wide variety of tasks while working towards a common goal. These managers see their projects through to completion, and their skills are easily transferable to other advanced and managerial positions in different fields. Here we discuss a handful of the potential alternative careers for a project manager.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Construction Managers $93,370 10%
Human Resources Managers $113,300 7%
Natural Sciences Managers $123,860 6%
Top Executives $104,980 6%
Database Administrators $90,070 9%
Postsecondary Education Administrators $94,340 7%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Alternative Careers for Project Managers

Construction Managers

Construction managers oversee all of the different aspects of a particular construction project from start to finish. Like project managers, they must be organized and make sure that all the pieces of the puzzle fall together from managing the budget and estimating costs to coordinating the work of the various construction workers. These managers also ensure that the project is up to safety standards and other regulations, and they will handle any work delay or problem that arises. Depending on their employer, construction managers may have a high school diploma and extensive work experience or a bachelor's degree in construction or a related field.

Human Resources Managers

Project managers may also enjoy a career as a human resources manager to coordinate a variety of administrative tasks for a particular organization. These managers are involved in many projects, including recruiting and hiring employees, developing benefits programs and consulting on human resources issues. Human resources managers may also be asked to resolve workplace conflicts and serve as the communication between upper management and employees. They need a bachelor's or master's degree, as well as years of experience in the field.

Natural Sciences Managers

Project managers with a background or interest in science may pursue a career as a natural sciences manager, whose primary responsibility is to manage the work of teams of scientists. Natural sciences managers may oversee biologists, chemists and other scientists working to research, develop and/or test new products, as well as ensure that the laboratory and safety procedures are followed. They must keep the project on budget and on time and update clients with findings and any issues that arise. These managers may have a bachelor's, master's or Ph.D. in science or engineering, and usually work their way up from positions as scientists.

Top Executives

Top executives oversee many parts of an organization to make sure that everything and everyone is working together toward a common goal, similar to a project manager. These executives may create policies and strategies to reach these goals, hire managers to implement various parts of the plan and manage activities involved in the process. Top executives also review financial records to monitor an organization's performance, negotiate contracts and collaborate with other executives or board members. These professionals need at least a bachelor's degree and work experience.

Database Administrators

Project managers interested in computers and information technology may enjoy working on various projects as a database administrator. These administrators organize and secure an organization's data and information through software and databases. They back up this information to prevent any loss of information and may update permissions and other security measures to ensure that no data is lost or stolen. Database administrators usually have work experience and a bachelor's degree in computer- or information-related subjects.

Postsecondary Education Administrators

Although their duties vary greatly depending on their job title, postsecondary education administrators are typically responsible for overseeing a wide variety of projects. Project managers may enjoy a career in this field overseeing an area such as admissions, student affairs or the office of the registrar. Projects are area specific, but may include preparing material for new students, analyzing data, planning graduation, scheduling classes, communicating with parents, organizing events and activities and more. These administrators typically need a master's degree or higher and experience in the field, but some positions may be able to work with a bachelor's degree.

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