Project Management Degree

Individuals who enjoy leading and taking initiative often make excellent project managers. Project managers are responsible for resolving workplace problems, ensuring projects stay on budget and are completed on time, and supervising staff members. Effective project managers must have excellent organizational and interpersonal skills, as well as the ability to work under pressure. Project managers frequently collaborate with sales specialists, designers, and engineers to make sure projects are completed in an efficient manner without sacrificing quality.

Project managers work at engineering firms, technology companies, and large manufacturing firms. Project managers often specialize in such fields as human resources, engineering, and information technology. Depending on their specialty, project managers can be assigned to a wide variety of projects, which can be as diverse as leading a project where new software is developed or overseeing the creation of green energy technology.

Students enrolled in project management degree programs will learn how to how organize complex projects, lead teams, and enhance group productivity. They will also develop the communication skills required to collaborate closely with other professionals. Common courses in project management programs include risk management, finance, scheduling, and project management.

Value of Earning a Project Management Degree
Most people earn a degree in project management to work as project managers. While earning a degree in project management isn't always necessary to work in project management, it is the quickest and surest way to obtain the necessary knowledge, skill and credential have a successful project management career. Project managers oversee every aspect of a project from conception to completion. This often includes identifying mission critical goals, creating and monitoring budgets, delegating tasks, managing team members with diverse backgrounds, and meeting deadlines. A degree in project management prepares students to deal with all aspects of project management across a myriad of disciplines, including IT, construction, engineering, etc.

The demand for qualified project managers is growing. Almost every industry needs project managers with experience, expertise and education. A degree provides students and aspiring professionals the knowledge and credential need to pursue and obtain top project management positions. A degree in project management is particularly useful for obtaining positions in business administration, supply chain management, operations management, or other areas of management.

There are four basic types of project management degrees. These include the associate's degree, bachelor's degree, master's degree and Ph.D. degree.

Associate's Degree in Project Management
Earning an associate degree in project management takes about two years. Most of the courses will be general education with some elective courses in project management. An associate degree in project management is sufficient for a very limited number of career opportunities in the field of project management. The entry-level requirement to become a project manager is typically a bachelor's degree in project management, or a closely related business discipline.

Earning an associate degree in project management from a regionally accredited community college or technical schools is a good stepping stone to pursuing a bachelor's degree in project management at an accredited four-year college or university.

Bachelor's Degree in Project Management
The bachelor's degree in project management is a four-year degree program. There are however several accelerated programs that will allow student to earn their bachelor's degree in project management in just three years of full time study. The bachelor's degree in project management incorporates both general education and project management courses. The bachelor's degree offers a more indepth study of project management than the associate's degree.

A basic project managment degree will provide students with specific training and education required to manage diverse projects. Common courses encountered in project management bachelor's degree program may include:

  • Basic finance and accounting
  • Budgeting
  • Cost estimation
  • Business fundamentals
  • Customer service skills
  • Management principles
  • Organizational behavior and systems
  • Project management systems
  • Business communication

Most project managers have a bachelor's degree in project management. However, many have degrees in business and other related fields of study. Most project management programs are based on guidelines established by the Project Management Institute (PMI). Curriculum in programs approved by PMI typically focus in areas such as time management, project planning and coordination, human management skills, and other aspects of effective project management.

Graduates of a bachelor's degree program in project management may find entry level positions as project managers, or closely related positions, such as Project Leader, Construction Project Manager, Whole Project Manager, Banking Manager, Project Leader, Cost Estimator, Information Technology Project Manager or Quality Assurance Specialist, to name a few.

Master's Degree in Project Management
Students can pursue a two year master's degree in project management or a two-year MBA with a concentration in project management. Both degree options offer an indepth study of project management and prepare students for a myriad of career opportunities in project management fields. A bachelor's degree must be obtained before pursuing a master's degree or MBA in project management.

One of the most popular master's level degree options for aspiring project managers is the Master of Science in Project Management (MSPM), also referred to as Master in Project Management (MPM) by some schools. To enter this program, applicants must have at least a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited colleg or university and have substantial work experience. Most programs require the completion of 36-42 credit hours of study, a thesis and/or a final project.

When you earn a master's level education in project management, you'll have skill set valued by employers in virtually every industry world wide.

Ph.D. in Project Management
Ph.D. programs in project management vary in duration from school to school. They may last anywhere from two to four years in length. Earning a Ph.D. in project management is typically reserved for individuals who are interested in performing research or teaching at a major college or university.

Project Management Certificates
Earning an advanced professional certificate is not a prerequisite to working as a project manager, but it is a great way to demonstrate knowledge and experience - and enhance career opportunities. There are various organizations that offer project management certificates and certification. These include the Project Management Institute, which offers the following project management certifications:

  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
  • Project Management Professional (PMP)
  • Program Management Professional (PgMP)
  • PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI - ACP)
  • PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI - RMP)
  • PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI - SP)

Other reputable organizations and association offering project management certifications include:

  • International Project Management Association
    The International Project Management Association (IPMA) is a Swiss registered non-profit organization with membership made up national project management associations.

  • The American Society for the Advancement of Project Management
    The American Society for the Advancement of Project Managment (ASAPM) is a competency-based certification and credentialing organization for project management professionals worldwide. Its primary goal is to advocate for effective project management practice.

  • The International Association of Project and Program Management
    The International Association of Project and Program Management (IAPPM) has membership comprised of project managers, executives, business professional, consultants and analysts from over 30 foreign countries. The goal of IAPPM is to promote advanced program and governance and project management practices.

  • The American Academy of Project Management
    The American Academy of Project Management (AAPM) focuses almost exclusively on promoting global standards for project management through project management certification. AAPM offers several industry standard certifications including the Project Management Masters Certification (CIPM) and Certified International Project Manager Charter Certification.

Selecting a Project Management Program
A growing number of technical schools and higher education institutions are now offering degrees, certificates or professional training programs in project management. Before selecting a program you should carefully consider all of your options. Project management degrees and certificate are offered at campus locations or online via the internet. With advent of online learning students now have the option of selecting a school that is a better academic fit rather than the one closest.

When evaluation either campus-based or online project management programs you'll want to find out if the school you're considering is accredited. Earning your degree a regionally accredited institution will make sure can qualify for federal financial aid programs, improve your job prospects upon graduation, and ensure you recieve a high quality project management education.

Below you can explore professional certificates, bachelor's degree and master's degrees in the field of project management. Many of the schools listed below offer these programs online and at campus locations throughout the United States.

Project Management Degree Programs

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