An MS project management degree provides excellent training for a rapidly expanding field. This page explains why, and provides links to schools with suitable programs.
Project management is one of the nation's fastest growing industries. This is an area in which trained professionals are required to plan, execute, and coordinate various projects by taking charge and directing a team to ensure deadlines are met and projects completed within the time set and without going over budget. By undertaking a project management masters you would be well placed to take up a desirable position in the shortest amount of time. Also check out the pages for project management, engineering management and operations management.
Here are a few selected schools that offer project management online masters programs (others can be found at the foot of the page and/or by using the search box in the right hand column):
Very often, employers will require more than a degree - they will also require project management certification - available from the American Society for the Advancement of Project Management or the Project Management Institute (PMI). It is also necessary to maintain your certification by taking professional development units (PDUs) on a regular basis. To maintain maintain PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential it is necessary to earn 60 PDUs per three-year cycle. Some schools are Registered Education Providers of PMI so their degrees can provide some of the required PDUs, e.g., the project management programs at Capella University.
As a project manager it would be up to you to initiate, supervise and ensure the completion of a project. You would be required to have a proficiency in a number of areas, for example in human and administration management.
A project management masters program would typically focus on topics that are directly related to the workplace. These usually follow the globally recognized standard for project management - the content outlined in the PMBOK® Guide ("A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge"). In general, expect that the program would introduce you to the four phases of the Project Management Life Cycle: initiation, planning, execution and closure. It would include modules such as risk management, finance, planning and scheduling, general business management, communication, organization, and team dynamics. It may also include learning to use software and other tools for planning, scheduling, and executing projects, and controlling the costs. Depending on the institution and program chosen you could also be provided with skills and knowledge relating to accounting, operations, human resources, business structure, time analysis, budget analysis, and forecasting.
Effective leadership and project management go together - motivating and influencing others, and building highly effective, diverse work teams is an essential requirement to achieve the objectives of the project. Some degrees, such as the Master of Science (M.S.) Leadership with specialization in Project Management at Walden University, make this connection more explicit. It is also quite common to take project management in the context of information technology, e.g., the MS in Information Technology - Project Management at Kaplan University Online.
Credentialling or certification is important in the industry. Some programs, e.g., the M.S. in Project Management at Walden University, are based on the standards of the Project Management Institute (PMI), and so course content will help prepare you for PMI's Project Management Professional (PMP) credential exam.
After completing your masters degree, you can take a PhD in Project Management such as that at Capella University. This business project management doctoral specialization has advanced project management course work, plus business and organizational topcs such as: accounting and financial management, marketing strategy, and organizational theory. You will be required to attend residential workshops during your program.
The skills learnt in your program can be applied to many situations and so you don't just have to consider project management jobs. Graduates of MS project management programs can be found working in a wide range of positions in sectors such as IT, the financial industry, engineering, construction, the automotive industry, and healthcare. If you wish to travel, there is the option of working for private or governmental organizations overseas.
According to information made available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary currently available to qualified project managers now stands at $97,000 per annum. As in any industry, those graduates with the best training and education are able to command the greatest financial rewards. A position in an urban location would offer a higher salary than those openings in rural areas of the country, as well as greater flexibility.
Browse the schools below to find a suitable school and program. Request information from several schools and compare the admission requirements and course content before you choose a program.
Wanjira Kinuthia, Georgia State University
Stewart Marshall, The University of the West Indies
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