How Can I Advance in a Project Management Career?

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Do you enjoy managing the minutia of a project and seeing it through from the beginning to the end? Then a project management career might be a great fit for you. The average American spends ninety thousand hours working in a lifetime. This astounding number exemplifies the significance of creating a career plan and choosing a profession that fits your current and future goals. If you are interested in a project management career, now is the time to be intentional.

What Does a Project Management Career Look Like? 

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Project managers ensure that everyone on the team knows the requirements for particular tasks or projects. Project managers work with all of the project’s contributors and supervise projects from conception to conclusion. They assume a leadership position on the team, collaborate with many teams inside the company, and frequently use software to keep things running smoothly.

This position has a tremendous amount of responsibility. The project manager is typically solely responsible for a project’s success or failure. As more organizations realize the necessity for a single point of contact to oversee the entirety of a project or plan, the profession of project management is expanding in prominence.

Education for a Project Management Career

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An undergraduate degree in business or computer science is typically required of project managers, as well as years of professional experience in a relevant field with increasing expertise.

A Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is something that many project managers choose to pursue. To be eligible for this high-powered certification, professionals must hold:

  • a four-year degree,
  • 36 months of project leadership experience, and
  • 35 hours of project management education, or CAPM certification.

It is possible to become a PMP even if you only have a General Ed diploma or an associate’s degree. But these professionals will need 60 months of project management experience in addition to finishing the 35 hours of training or CAPM certification. You must also continue your professional growth and pass an exam. 

Some believe that the primary mode of advancement is to understand the jargon and take the classes for certification. Still, others think you must obtain an undergraduate and graduate-level degree to move up in the industry. There is no one right path to project management. You have to find your path.

What is your education thus far? Do you have the time, money, and energy to pursue an advanced degree or certification?

Experience for a Project Management Career


Before finding yourself as an official project manager, a prospective project manager might gain experience in the industry, after which they might advance to become a senior project manager, director, vice president, or another executive. Reaching your career ambitions in project management is possible with effort, commitment, and time. And advancement in one’s job has benefits beyond financial gain. So, keep your eyes and ears open.

Opportunities for advancement might arise from new situations, and accepting these opportunities can result in just want your project management career needs. Possibilities include:

  • help organization an event
  • find ways to test and increase workplace efficiency
  • assist projects already happening in the workplace
  • look for ways to work with teams across your organization

It is possible that you are already building important skills that a top project manager needs. Take inventory of your skills and duties and look at them with a project management lens. Now ask some good questions. What skills can you build upon? Where do you have gaps?

We live in a microwave society, and many people want a quick turnaround, be it with our food and careers. The criteria for success are highly subjective. Maybe take some time to consider where you want to land as a Project Manager?

Future for a Project Manager

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So you have educated yourself, built up your experience and skills, and now you are ready for the next step. But where do you want to go? Identifying some future project management career goals can be a good clarifying exercise. From Senior Project Manager to Chief Operating Officer, you can advance to plenty of positions. Your experience and education will predicate where you land when you apply.

Are you at the beginning of this journey and looking for an entry-level position? Success stories in this field and others began at the entry level. Starting, no matter where, only makes you more experienced. And with proven benchmarks and progress reports, you have hard evidence to show your credibility and success.

Starting Line

Before you apply for project manager opportunities working in these professions might help you gain experience and understand more about this industry before you apply for project manager opportunities:

  • Project coordinator: $53,561
  • Assistant project manager: $75,523
  • Associate project manager: $68,969
  • Junior project manager: $64,756

Finish Line

  • COO: $144,303
  • Project Management Director: $123,127
  • Senior Project Manager, Construction: $115,412

Plan to Win


Please set the intention and move into this phase with #SuccessOnPurpose. Project Management can be very lucrative if you navigate the sector with a complete understanding of where you want to advance. Some have excellent field knowledge but need to know where to land and what specific job they want to apply for. Here are some steps to assist you and your journey to prosperity in project management. Pick one or two where you can take a step this week:

  • Visualize clear project management career goals
  • Improve your learning
  • Locate a mentor
  • Keep an eye out for internal opportunities
  • Volunteer
  • Advance your professional network

This line of work is in high demand. To meet demand, the project management institute (PMI) predicts that by 2030, the world economy will require 25 million additional project managers. Over 280,000 vacancies for entry-level project management positions were advertised between 2019 and 2020, according to a Burning Glass Technologies analysis. 

This job path can be fulfilling for those who enjoy working with people and have excellent organizational skills. It may be incredibly satisfying to plan and begin a project from scratch, work with others to overcome obstacles, and watch your efforts bear fruit. Since no two projects are alike, project managers can benefit by working on various kinds of projects and learning from each one.

Take the time to investigate your pros and cons of a project management career, and this will help you when deciding to level up. 

Related Resources:

Best Project Management Jobs
Top Project Management Podcasts
The Best Online Project Management MBA Programs

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