In today’s volatile job market, it can be useful to have expertise you can use in a variety of industries. If you are interested in a degree that can help you gain the skills employers are looking for today, such as team management and strategic thinking, then a master’s degree in project management may be a great option for you.
What Is Project Management and What Does a Project Manager Do?
Project management is the leadership and management of a project, all of which has a defined beginning, project or task execution, and end1 Project managers identify the tasks and resources needed to complete a project, such as the timeline of each action and the required people, hardware, or software.
“A project manager leads, monitors, and influences every aspect of a project including funding, risk management, resources, costs and schedules,” says James Bryant, program director of project management at University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC). “The project manager is the catalyst for the success of a project while managing continuous changes and customer expectations.”
To be successful, a project manager should have strong organization, communication and problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to collaborate with others. Many project managers thrive on consistent processes and organization and enjoy providing support and encouraging team members when completing a task. These personality traits can help you decide if you wish to pursue project management as a career.
What are the Benefits of a Career in Project Management?
Project management is a growing field with many opportunities and can offer a multitude of career options. According to the Project Management Institute, 2.3 million people will be needed each year to fill all the project management positions expected to be open by 2030.2 Industries that hire project managers include business, government, and nonprofit organizations. In addition, the information technology (IT) industry has a growing need for project managers who have management expertise, knowledge of information systems, and emerging technologies.
"The benefits of a career in project management are challenging job roles, higher compensation, and promotion,” says Bryant. “Earning your degree in project management can prepare you for a variety of career opportunities, including project director, program director, and executive positions such as vice president or chief operating officer.”
The average yearly salary for a project manager is $88,812, according to Glassdoor.3 To gain the most up-to-date skills and knowledge within the industry, earning a master’s degree in project management can be beneficial in advancing your career goals.
What Should You Look for in a Project Management Program?
When considering a master’s degree in project management, choosing an accredited program can help you know that you are receiving a quality education. For example, project management programs that have been accredited by the Global Accreditation Center (GAC) of the Project Management Institute (PMI) earn you the project management education hours which along with required experience qualifies you to sit for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Credential Examination or the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® Exam. These exams then certify you as a Project Management Professional, which many employers look for during the hiring process.
A project management program should also help prepare you for additional industry certification exams, so that you can continue to upskill and add to your resume to qualify for top jobs in your career. Other industry certification exams in project management include the Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) and Certified ScrumMaster (CSM).
Students who have already taken industry certification exams should choose a program where they can turn their credentials into college credit. Master’s degree programs that offer the ability to transfer credits can help you earn your degree faster and at a lower cost.
Earn a Master’s or Certificate in Project Management from UMGC
At University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC), our Master of Science Management: Project Management program can give you desirable skills that can help position you to succeed in your career. In the program, you can learn how to manage teams, track projects, and integrate the latest industry knowledge. Our project management courses focus on risk management, project cost, communication, and supply chain management.
“The benefits of earning a master’s degree in project management compared to a bachelor’s degree or a certificate is that the master’s degree sets you head and shoulders above your peers competing for the same business opportunity in any industry,” says Bryant. “A project management certificate makes you competitive; a master’s degree in project management sets you apart and above everyone for a job role.”
UMGC's master's programs with project management specializations are accredited by the Global Accreditation Center (GAC) of the Project Management Institute (PMI). We offer transfer credit for students who have completed industry certification exams or who have completed prior learning. For those who want to focus on project management in information technology, UMGC offers a master’s degree in IT with a specialization in project management.
If you are interested in pursuing a certificate instead of a master’s degree, UMGC also offers undergraduate certificates, graduate certificates, and PMP prep courses to help you achieve your goals. In addition, if you choose to pursue your master’s degree afterwards, credit from courses may apply to help you earn your degree faster.
Today’s global workforce requires project management professionals who are agile, collaborative, and ready to contribute. With a master’s degree in project management, you can develop leadership skills to help your team succeed and advance your career in an exciting industry.