If you have a knack for leading teams and coordinating complex projects you may consider a career in project management. There are several ways to become a project manager, but each avenue into this field can have an affect on a professional's yearly compensation. Many factors that affect a project manager's employability, and thus expected salary, include education or experience level, type of assignment, and location of assignments.
Within the field of project management, education level plays an important role in being selected for industry positions. Many companies require a minimum of a bachelor's degree or Project Management Professional (PMP) certification for consideration of even entry level positions. According to Payscale.com, those meeting the basic requirements for a career in project management with zero to five years of experience can expect to earn an average early career salaries of $60,000 per year. Mid-level compensation for those in the field with five to ten years of experience is $75,000 per year, and those who stay within the industry for 20 years or greater can earn up to $91,000 annually.
Because of the rise in project management positions, many colleges are now offering undergraduate and graduate degrees in Project Management. There are many high quality on-campus project management programs, as well as conveniently formatted Online Master's in Project Management programs offered to working professionals who are wishing to advance their degree. Those who have earned a bachelor's or master's degree, and accumulated 4,500 hours of work experience in project management, can also choose to take the PMP exam. If you have a high school diploma or associate's degree, you'll need 7,500 hours of relevant work experience before being eligible for the test. This elective exam is a 200 question test that provides employees in the project management field with a professional certification endorsement. "The PMP can also provide a significant advantage when it comes to salary and earning potential. Among survey respondents to PMI's Earning Power Salary Survey, those with a PMP certification garner a higher salary (20% higher on average) than those without a PMP certification."
Another component that can greatly affect the salary of a project manager is the field of work chosen. Project management is an extremely diverse career path that can be applied to a variety of specialties. A few of the top paying speciality areas include health organizations which have an average career salary of $81,000, engineering project managers with median salaries of $88,000, and IT managers which average $85,000 per year.
As with any career path, location can play a big role in the expected pay of project managers. The national average pay for project management positions in the United States is $72,122. From there, the pay fluctuates from as high as 16% above average in San Diego to 11% below the national average in Portland, Oregon. While this is a wide range, project management is a solid field that receives very reasonable compensation regardless of the area of specialty or locale. Project management degrees are also widely accessible in both on campus and online formats, making them an exceptional choice for those who desire leadership roles in today's organizations.