Is a Master's Degree in Project Management Worth It?

Jan 28, 2021

A master's in project management opens the door for students to select an area of focus that is most in line with their career choice. Below you will find information about the various degree types and their costs along with job possibilities and salaries for those who do earn a master's degree.

Degree Costs and Requirements

The total cost for a degree in project management depends largely on the college you select as well as your area of focus, but you could pay close to as little as $9,000 or as much as $40,000, at some of the best universities. Typically students are required to take between 30 to 45 credit hours in one of these programs, and those students attending full time can complete their graduate programs in as little as one to two years. Students can also look to mitigate cost by attending online programs and applying for financial aid.

Most colleges that offer a master's in project management require that applicants have a bachelor's in administration, management or technical management. There are programs that allow students to pursue a master's without such degrees, but then students are required to take prerequisite courses.

Master's in Project Management Careers/Earnings Potential

A master's degree in project management can show employers you have the training and skills to lead the division. Often those with master's degrees are rewarded with higher compensation as well. The table below highlights some of the potential career paths for those with a master's degree in project management as well as salary figures. In addition to the median salary, there is also a column which contains data related to the top ten percent of earners within that given job field. It is important to note that the potential earnings can also vary by state.

Job Title Salary for Top 10% of Employees (2019)* Median Salary (2019)* Job Growth (2019-2029)* Entry-level Education Requirements
Computer and Information Systems Managers $208,000+ $146,360 10% Master's Preferred
Construction Manager $164,790+ $95,260 8% Bachelor's
Senior Portfolio Manager $191,000+** $124,962** 15% (for all financial managers) Master's
Administrative Services Manager $166,330+ $96,940 6% Bachelor's
Medical and Health Services Managers $189,000+ $100,980 32% Master's Preferred

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ** (2021)

Computer and Information Systems Managers

Computer and information systems managers have to understand each element of the business and of their team in order to be successful. Having experience in decision-making techniques and knowledge of supply-chain implementation from a master's degree program will help those in this position excel. In addition, individuals within this job must have a deep understanding of technology and how to ensure that all lines of production within the company run smoothly.

Construction Manager

Construction managers are often selected from those with experience and a bachelor's degree, but those with a master's in project management are given preferential treatment when it comes to gaining the position. Those within this position typically create timetables and budgets for projects they are assigned to and also assist all teams within a given project in overcoming obstacles and problems that may arise. In addition to this, construction managers will work with all employees and contractors on a given job to ensure that all proper laws and safety measures are followed. Lastly, they must keep up to date on project development to ensure that everything related to the project is completed on time.

Senior Portfolio Manager

Senior portfolio managers typically have a master's in business administration or a related field and it may even be necessary for them to obtain further licensing. Their typical workday consists of meeting with clients to discuss financial goals and to see how various investment opportunities can help clients meet their goals. Individuals who hold this position need to have good leadership and communication skills, both of which are covered extensively on the way to a degree in project management.

Administrative Services Manager

Administrative services managers don't typically need a master's, but those with an advanced degree in project management will be putting themselves on the fast track to securing such a position. Like many other management positions, administrative services managers set the objectives for their particular department and actively monitor the budget. They make sure that supplies are readily available and that time is being spent wisely during a given project. Furthermore, they make decisions about acquiring new spaces when necessary.

Medical and Health Services Managers

For most individuals seeking such a position, a master's in something like project management is a must as most employers are seeking individuals with such degrees. These medical and health services managers create work schedules and manage employees as well as create and oversee the completion of all department goals.

The cost for such a degree can vary greatly depending upon the university program selected and the area of focus, but having a master's in project management gives individuals the chance to propel themselves to higher salary figures as well as the forefront of any discussion as it relates to management. They learn about each element of the production and development process and as such, are better equipped for the challenges that a management position brings.

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