Online Masters Degree in Project Management

In industries across the economy, leaders are sought after to orchestrate the resources and teams used in complex projects. If you can offer communication and organizational strengths, consider training for a project management career in fields like architecture, construction, engineering or information technology.

What do project managers do?

Let's take infrastructure construction as an example. Project managers are involved in building the roads we use every day, the plumbing systems that bring water to our homes, and the architecture that simultaneously lends character and utility to our cities. These big projects require huge budgets, intensive manual labor and intricate design plans. Before anyone so much as hammers a nail, everything must be coordinated by a project manager.

Project managers prepare budgets, set timetables and coordinate with the experts, as well as responding to work delays and/or emergencies. These managers draft progress reports and may assume HR responsibilities such as selecting, hiring and supervising workers.

Master's degrees in project management

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that as construction becomes increasingly more complex, employers are seeking applicants with bachelor's or master's degrees in project management. For projects specializing in construction, courses could cover these subject areas:

  1. Blueprint reading
  2. Construction estimating and cost management
  3. Construction materials and systems
  4. Electrical and mechanical systems
  5. Labor law
  6. Principles of management

Project management tools and practices are similar in other industries where you must oversee the resources, scheduling and work done for projects large or small. Aspiring IT managers learn many of the same organizational techniques, while developing a solid foundation in information technology and the software applications used in coordinating projects.

Employment outlook and salary information

For construction project managers, the BLS expects employment to increase by 17 percent during the 2010-2020 decade, which is about average for all occupations. Job prospects should be good for those who hold at least a bachelor's degree. As of May 2010, the mean annual wage for these managers was $83,860.

The BLS includes IT project managers in its data for computer and information systems managers. These managers earned 2010 median pay of $115,780, and projected job growth, 2010-2020, is about average at 18 percent. Extensive work experience is typical for these roles.

If you're interested in a career that provides a lifelong sense of pride for the work you've accomplished, consider earning an advanced degree in project management. Make the most of your technical expertise by ramping up your team leadership and organizational skills.

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