A generous benefactor provides funding for a new wing for a local art museum.

A large company needs to update its expense reporting system and roll it out to employees worldwide.

A targeted malaria immunization program is required in an endemic country.

A rock band wants to launch a revival tour.

In a competitive business environment where there is always more to do than there is time or resources, organizations – for-profit, non-profit, private corporations and government agencies alike – are turning to teams for the agility and flexibility needed to get things done.

Leading these fluid and diverse teams are project managers.

A different kind of manager

"Project management is necessary for any industry where time, budget, and scope are of utmost importance," says Dr. Craig Winstead, Saint Leo University assistant professor of project management and a certified project manager, who has 12 years of professional experience.

"For example, businesses may find it better to take on a new product line as a project at the outset, before committing to it as a business-as-usual operation."

Different from traditional business managers, who handle on-going processes and "business –as-usual" operations, project managers focus on discrete work with concrete deliverables, a starting point and a set deadline. They manage complex, cross-functional teams. They understand process, risk and change management and have the specialized skills, technological knowledge, and interpersonal and communications attributes – to bring all of a project's pieces together and complete the objective.

"Companies are constantly faced with doing more with less," says Winstead. "Project managers are skilled at completing endeavors within such constraints."

Here are five compelling reasons why a project management degree online can lead to a great future.

Reason #1

The demand for project managers is exploding.

Project management represents one of the fastest-growing professions in the world. Between 2010 and 2020, the global job market will create 15.7 million new project management roles.

In the United States, new project management-related jobs will grow from 5.4 million in 2012 to 6.1 million in 2020 – a faster rate than the national average for all occupations. The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that this job-growth rate will exceed 19 percent.

Why the tremendous growth?

According to the Project Management Institute® (PMI), the world's leading project management association, one reason is an aging labor pool with many experienced project managers retiring or getting ready to retire.

According to Winstead, rapid advancements in technology and an ever-expanding global market are also contributing to the growing demand for project managers.

To help meet this industry demand for highly skilled project managers, Saint Leo University offers online degree programs in project management at both the undergraduate and graduate levels: an online bachelor's degree in business administration with a project management specialization and an online MBA degree with a project management concentration.

Reason #2

You can work in a wide variety of industries.

According to PMI®, project management "is one of the top skillsets demanded by organizations around the world" and "is more important now than ever before." Medium-to-large businesses in practically every industry are in constant need of highly skilled project managers.

The industries with the highest levels of project-oriented work are:

  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Utilities
  • Information services
  • Business services
  • Finance and insurance
  • Oil and gas

Although health care is not currently a project-intensive industry, shifting regulations and increasing competition will require organizations to reduce costs and improve patient care. As a result, the health care industry is projected to generate the greatest number of project management positions through the year 2020.

According to Winstead, another industry experiencing an expanding project management presence is entertainment, particularly film and concert touring. A fast-paced, constantly changing field with tight deadlines and budget constraints, the entertainment industry is turning more and more to project managers to better control costs and reduce risks.

Reason #3

Project managers command lucrative salaries.

Project managers are generally well paid, commanding highly competitive salaries. Average salaries range from $88,000 in Florida and $92,000 in Virginia, for example, to $101,000 in Georgia. The national average is $92,000.

Keep in mind that titles and salaries for project management-related positions vary by industry, including IT project manager, construction manager, Internet project manager and sales project manager, to name just a few.

A few median salaries by industry include:

  • Computer and information systems project manager: $120,950
  • Health care project manager: $90,940
  • Construction project manager: $82,790
  • Business services project manager: $88,075

Reason #4

Opportunities for advancement are plentiful.

With experience, education and improvement, the opportunities for advancement in project management are virtually limitless. In addition, the skills honed through project management degree programs, and on-the-job experience, are transferable to numerous industries and endeavors that require budget, schedule, and scope control.

Winstead says there is a growing demand for professional project managers with advanced degrees such as MBAs in project management, as well as for project managers who have earned PMI certification.

PMI credentials have been shown to lead to greater earnings. According to the PMI, project management practitioners who earn Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification increase their salaries by an average of 16 percent.

Reason #5

It's a career where you can make an impact.

In addition to the monetary benefits of a career in project management are the intrinsic rewards of making a difference in an organization: coordinating the work of diverse team members and keeping everyone motivated; cultivating collaboration; keeping resources and schedules on track; resolving problems; meeting budgets.

Seeing a project through from inception to completion.

"Ultimately, companies are looking to improve efficiencies and save money, both in the short term and the long run," says Winstead, "and that's where project managers can make the difference. They bring tangible value and can have a tremendous impact on the success of any organization."

Can you add any other reasons to choose project management as a business career?


Project Management Talent Gap Report, 2010

Project Management Talent Gap Report, March 2013

Hanover Report, 2013

Other posts you may be interested in:

Saint Leo Offers Online Degree Programs In Project Management

Newest MBA Grads Share Reasons For Earning Degrees

Online MBA Programs: Are They Worth It?

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