What They Do: Project management specialists coordinate the budget, schedule, staffing, and other details of a project.
Work Environment: Project management specialists usually work in an office setting, but they occasionally travel to visit clients. Most work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week.
How to Become One: Project management specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree that may be in a variety of fields, including business or project management. Although not always required, certification may be beneficial.
Salary: The median annual wage for project management specialists is $94,500.
Job Outlook: Employment of project management specialists is projected to grow 7 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Related Careers: Explore occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.
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Project management specialists may begin a project by defining its scope or goals, using input from the client. They then create a plan that itemizes the individual activities, data, and resources needed to complete the project. Project management specialists ensure that the plan estimates costs, identifies potential risks, and specifies a timeline for completion.
Once a project is underway, project management specialists direct the team in carrying out the work. They monitor progress by tracking milestones and troubleshooting problems that may arise, including adjusting the project to address changes requested by the client. Finally, they close out the project by reviewing and organizing financial statements, contracts, and other documents.
These specialists may oversee a variety of projects, such as building a new commercial center, improving business processes, or expanding sales into additional markets. In coordinating a project, they may work closely with those whose expertise is in a particular field. For example, a project management specialist may collaborate with an emergency management director in disaster relief efforts or a construction manager in building a facility.
Project management specialists hold about 781,400 jobs. The largest employers of project management specialists are as follows:
|Professional, scientific, and technical services||29%|
|Construction of buildings||10|
|Administrative and support services||6|
|Finance and insurance||6|
Project management specialists usually work in an office setting. Although project management specialists may collaborate on teams, some work independently. Project management specialists also may travel to their clients' places of business.
Project management specialists generally work during normal business hours. However, their schedules may require flexibility, such as when working across time zones or during off-peak hours. Most work full time, and some may work more than 40 hours per week.
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Project management specialists typically need a bachelor's degree that may be in a variety of fields, including business or project management. Although not always required, certification may be beneficial.
To enter the occupation, project management specialists typically need a bachelor's degree in business, project management, or a related field. Some employers prefer to hire candidates who have a degree in a technical field related to the industry in which they will work, such as computer and information technology or engineering.
Although not always required, professional certification demonstrates competency to prospective clients and employers. For example, the Project Management Institute (PMI) offers several certifications in project management for workers at various experience levels, including the Project Management Professional (PMP).
Some positions require project management specialists to have relevant work experience. Candidates may gain experience as business analysts, information security analysts, training and development specialists, or in other related occupations.
Employers also may prefer to hire candidates who have experience in areas such as personnel recruitment, employee relations, or compensation and benefits. Candidates sometimes get this experience by volunteering or while in college, either through courses or internships.
Project management specialists may advance to more senior positions as they gain experience and take on more responsibility. For example, they may begin as trainees working on small projects and progress to large, complex projects.
Analytical skills. Project management specialists must be able to understand large amounts of information and data.
Communication skills. Project management specialists need to convey information to staff and must get input from and present results to clients.
Critical-thinking skills. To determine which strategy would work best for a particular project, these specialists must assess its goals and impact.
Interpersonal skills. Project management specialists must establish trust with clients and respond well to their questions and concerns.
Organizational skills. Project management specialists' work involves balancing a variety of responsibilities, and they may oversee more than one project at one time.
Problem-solving skills. Project management specialists must be able to handle difficult or unexpected situations and find effective solutions.
Time-management skills. Project management specialists often work under tight deadlines and must use their time efficiently to complete projects on schedule.
The median annual wage for project management specialists is $94,500. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $49,750, and the highest 10 percent earn more than $159,140.
The median annual wages for project management specialists in the top industries in which they work are as follows:
|Finance and insurance||$101,880|
|Professional, scientific, and technical services||$99,520|
|Administrative and support services||$90,950|
|Construction of buildings||$81,680|
Most project management specialists work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week.
Employment of project management specialists is projected to grow 7 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
About 70,400 openings for project management specialists are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.
As organizations seek ways to maintain and improve productivity, employment of project management specialists is expected to increase. These specialists will be needed to help manage various business operations, ensuring that projects meet their goals and are completed on time and within budget.
Demand for project management specialists is expected to be strong in computer systems design services. More project management specialists will be needed to manage the growing volume and complexity of information technology (IT) projects required to support expanded telework.
|Occupational Title||Employment, 2021||Projected Employment, 2031||Change, 2021-31|
|Project management specialists||781,400||837,600||7||56,300|
A portion of the information on this page is used by permission of the U.S. Department of Labor.