A bachelor's degree program in project management teaches students project control, cost estimation, quality assurance strategies, management and leadership concepts. Project managers can work in information technology, construction, manufacturing, engineering or business. While general project management experience may apply to more than one industry, some employers prefer to hire managers with specific experience in information technology project management, construction management or engineering.
Because project managers must be capable of leading teams and meeting important business objectives, most employers require project managers to have at least 3-10 years of relevant job experience and a bachelor's degree. Most project managers gain experience through lower-level positions that have fewer responsibilities. Some project managers obtain their positions through promotions with a single company.
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Project Management Certification and Training
The curriculum of a project management certificate program teaches students to evaluate project objectives, lead teams and complete projects on a structured schedule. Most programs provide coursework on entrepreneurship, accounting and business administration. Other courses may include:
- Project management fundamentals
- Enterprise leadership
- Project cost estimation and budgeting
- Human resources management
- Project communications and assessment
- Quality assurance
Employment Outlook & Salary Info
Project managers work on restricted schedules, so they should be able to delegate, oversee financial project estimation and maintain the success of a project or program from implementation to final project evaluation. They should have good communication and negotiation skills. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that project management professionals working as computer and information system managers earned a median annual salary of $131,600 in May 2015. The BLS also reported that with its current faster-than-average growth rate, computer and information system managers could expect to see a 15% increase in employment opportunities during 2014-2024.
Continuing Education Info
Project managers are not required to be licensed. Voluntary certification is available from several project management professional organizations, allowing project managers to demonstrate proficiency to potential employers. Some employers may require or prefer managers to have certification. Certification available for project managers are available from many organizations including the Project Management Institute (PMI) and the American Academy of Project Managers (AAPM).
The Project Management Institute grants Project Management Professional (PMP) credentials to eligible project managers. To obtain certification, managers must have 3-5 years of experience, must complete 35 hours of training and pass a comprehensive project management exam. The training and exam discuss all aspects of project management, including project organizing, planning, initiating, operations implementation, project control and project evaluation. The Project Management Institute also offers certification for risk management and scheduling professionals.
The AAPM awards the Master Project Manager (MPM), Certified International Project Managers (CIPM) and Project Manager E-business (PME) certifications. These are board certifications, based on educational achievements and work experience rather than on tested industry knowledge. Certification exams are not required for applicants who have three years of experience in project management or a master's degree in project management. Project managers with less experience can take an exam to receive certification. Certification renewal requires continuing professional education yearly.
Project managers can attend conferences and training seminars offered by PMI, the American Management Association and local project management organizations. Regional events allow project managers to share information, learn new or adapted project management strategies and recognize leaders in the industry. Conferences, or global congresses, are held several times a year in domestic and international locations.
Smaller, 1-3 day training seminars are held more frequently in venues spread across the country, and some seminars and workshops are offered online in a webinar or webcast format. Seminars discuss topics in project management and provide guest speakers and recognized project managers. Many seminars and workshops provide professional development units to fulfill the continuing education requirements for certifications.
Project management professional development resources are available in print and online through professional organizations. PMI prints PMI Today, PM Network and Project Management Journal project managers and program directors. Publications offer a variety of industry news, information and training resources for project managers of all experience levels.
In addition, several online newsletters and professional websites provide information on project management careers and continuing education opportunities. Virtual libraries from PMI and the American Management Association offer access to project management books, research papers and journal articles, as well as audio and video presentations on project management issues.
Project managers who wish to earn their certification should gain as much experience as possible. With practice, key traits will develop--including leadership, organization, efficiency and cooperation--and make certification that much easier to reach.