If you like being the boss, a career in project management may be perfect for you. Project managers are responsible for directing business initiatives, ensuring each project follows the scheduled timeline and budget, and solving any problems that arise. Project managers are dependable, organized, have excellent communication skills, and can be counted on to meet deadlines. They work with a diverse group of employees--including engineers, designers, and salespeople--to ensure that projects are completed efficiently and effectively.
To be a project manager, you should also demonstrate flexibility and openness to changing circumstances. With any project, things do not always go as planned. But businesses and other organizations need their project managers to remain calm and focused, to set the tone for others working on the assignment and ensure the project's successful completion, regardless of obstacles.
As a project manager, you might work in a variety of environments, including corporations, information technology offices, and engineering firms. You can specialize in one field, such as information technology, engineering, business, or human resources. Project managers oversee incredibly diverse initiatives, ranging from launching a new telescope into space to launching a new product onto store shelves.
Project Management Career Training
Students interested in earning higher degrees in project management often have undergraduate degree programs in business or a related field. For instance, a project manager in information technology may have an undergraduate degree in information technology and a graduate degree in project management. You could also earn your bachelor's degree in project management and follow up with a master's in the same field, or in another business-related area.
Degree programs in project management should focus directly on topics related to the potential workplace. Whether at the undergraduate or graduate level, expect your degree program to involve training in teamwork, team dynamics, organization, and communication skills. More specifically, courses might include those in project management, planning and scheduling, management, finance, and risk management.
Your degree in project management can be earned online, both at the undergraduate and graduate level. If studying through an online degree program, make sure it is from an accredited institution.
Project Management Career and Salary Prospects
While the jobs of project managers involve managing specific projects, their job titles are often more generally "managers." Because they work within so many industries--including business, construction, and information technology-- project managers face an excellent array of career choices.
According to the Project Management Institute, as cited by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual earnings of project managers (including salary and bonus) were $96,000 in 2006. As with most industries, those with higher levels of training and education, as well as those working in urban areas, experienced higher pay and greater job choice.