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What is Project Management?
Are you interested in earning a degree in project management? Obtaining a degree in this subject can lead to a wide variety of employment opportunities in Delaware. Many prominent industries throughout the nation seek professionals in this field, with great jobs available in construction, marketing, information technology, biotechnology, and sustainable energy. Those seeking to focus their studies on topics related to business, supervision, leadership, and budgeting will find this major particularly helpful.
Project managers typically oversee a variety of details associated with different types of projects to which they are assigned, as well as a project team if they have complex project objectives. Overall, this often entails ensuring that processes run smoothly and efficiently. On a smaller scale, it generally means leading the work of other employees while serving as contacts for clients and/or customers. These professionals may also coordinate budgets and create schedules, a project plan, and a project schedule.
The daily duties assigned to these managers often vary depending on job parameters and employer. The chosen industry and size of the company can also impact the work these professionals perform. In most cases, these managers interact directly with clients to determine project requirements and objectives. It is then their responsibilities to develop comprehensive plans for funding, staffing, and scheduling. They may also identify, review, and select any relevant vendors and/or consultants needed for the project, as well as identifying and resolving issues that arise. Additionally, these professionals often assign duties to other staff members, monitor costs, and work to meet deadlines.
It’s important to realize that expectations for managers tend to be different depending on which stage of the project they are in. In the beginning, these professionals tend to focus mostly on utilizing various activities, data, and resources to make actionable plans. They must also generate cost estimates, identify potential risks, and designate a projected timeline. During the middle stages of a project, however, more time is spent directing others to complete the necessary work in order to meet established goals. They also monitor progress and troubleshoot issues. Finally, prior to concluding a project, these managers must make sure all financial statements, contracts, and other documentation is properly organized.
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Online Project Management Education in Delaware
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for project management (PM) specialists is expected to increase by 7% from 2021 to 2031. This is about as fast as the average for all occupations and will account for an additional 70,400 job openings each year. Employment in other management occupations is also expected to increase by 8% from 2021 to 2031. This will account for another 1.1 million related positions becoming available each year throughout the decade.
Professional and business services is the third largest industry in Delaware. It accounts for $8.5 billion of the state’s revenue each year. Additionally, a project manager will also qualify for work in many of the state’s other top industries such as finance, real estate, healthcare, manufacturing, and construction. Their focus is completion of a successful project.
As of May 2021, the Delaware employed 1,380 project management specialists and 20,400 other management professionals. While this is relatively low compared to other states with larger populations, pay for these occupations is above average. The annual mean wage for those with project management skills was $106,930, while the annual mean wage for other management professionals was $147,140. Both of these wages are significantly higher than the state’s annual mean wage of $59,820 for all occupations.
Many colleges and universities in Delaware offer degrees in PM. While there are comparatively fewer academic institutions located within the state, prospective students can still expect to obtain the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in the field. Notably, those who plan to work in Delaware after graduation should give preference to local schools. These offer the most geographically relevant curriculums and often already have established relationships with potential employers in the region.
Some amount of higher education is generally required prior to obtaining project management employment in Delaware. While relevant degree programs are available at every level – associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate – some options will lead to more professional opportunities than others. Requirements vary by profession, with advanced degrees typically resulting in more prestigious jobs in the field.
Online Associate Degree in Project Management (AS)
Associate degrees in project management generally consists of 60 credit hours of coursework that take full-time students two years to complete and can give you an overview and solid foundation of knowledge in the field of project planning, as well as the tools to get into the field. It’s important to realize, however, that this is a relatively rare option. Most colleges and universities do not offer PM programs at the associate level. As a result, those interested in pursuing two-year degrees related to this field often enroll in general business management programs, which cover many of the same concepts with similar course options.
In general, associate programs cover a variety of topics broadly, providing a basic introduction to higher education and the business field as a whole. As undergraduate degrees, students must enroll in both general liberal arts and major-specific courses. Curriculums vary by academic institution, but those enrolled can expect to receive instruction in English communication, mathematics, and history, as well as professional communication and business law.
This type of degree can lead to entry-level positions in the field. It is generally considered the fastest and least expensive way to gain the foundational knowledge and skills needed to qualify for basic employment. Graduates are often qualified to pursue work as project coordinators, administrative assistants, and event planners.
Graduates with associate can also choose to pursue further learning by enrolling in bachelor’s programs. In many cases, credits earned at the associate level can be transferred and applied towards additional undergraduate degrees. Most colleges and universities accept between 60 and 90 credit hours, which are roughly equivalent to two years of full-time attendance.
Online Bachelor's Degree in Project Management (BS)
Bachelor’s degrees in project management generally consists of 120 credit hours of coursework that take full-time students approximately four years to complete. This timeframe may be shorter for individuals who possess prior undergraduate credit earned during associate degree programs and/or other higher learning. As another undergraduate degree, curriculums are still comprised of both liberal arts general education and major-specific classes. In addition to communication, mathematics, and sociology topics, students can expect to study applied leadership principles, project scheduling and control, and risk management and assessment.
This type of degree is fairly standard among project management professionals. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, most of those with project management expertise working throughout the nation possess bachelor’s degrees. Most employers in marketing, human resources, and training and development also expect candidates to have four-year degrees in relevant subjects. Graduates may also qualify for employment as operations managers, purchasing managers, product development managers, non-profit managers, emergency management directors, technology managers, and environmental managers. All of these roles require someone to make a project plan and budget.
A popular alternative to joining the workforce immediately after graduation if you don't want to jump right into managing projects is enrolling in master’s degree programs. This can lead to many more employment opportunities in the future. Prospective graduate students must be prepared to meet institutional admissions standards, such as minimum grade point average (GPA) and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores.
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Online Master's Degree in Project Management (MS)
Master’s degrees in project management generally consists of 30 credit hours of coursework that take full-time students one to two years to complete. It may be possible, however, to find accelerated programs that will let you learn project management in as few as 12 months. At this level, undergraduate classes no longer count toward graduation requirements. Instead, students focus their studies solely on advanced concepts pertinent to the field. Curriculums vary, but typically help students develop a wide variety of specialized skills that can be applied to almost any industry. Common areas of study include cost and value management, procurement, and commercial laws and regulations. It may also be possible to select a concentration so that you can manage engineering, healthcare, marketing, construction, or technology projects.
This type of degree can be beneficial, but is not required for most project management professions. That said, graduates do tend to have more employment opportunities and earn higher incomes. Some of the most common career options include senior project managers, health services managers, construction managers, information technology (IT) managers, and project management consultants.
Many who study project management at the undergraduate level choose to diversify future learning by enrolling in MBA degree programs. These programs explore various aspects of the business field, placing a significant emphasis on the technical aspects of planning and execution. This is a particularly good option for individuals who plan to pursue supervisory positions.
Online PhD Degree in Project Management (PhD)
Doctorates and PhD programs related to project management generally consist of between 90 and 120 credit hours that take full-time students four to seven years to complete. These programs generally represent the highest degree available in the field, making them terminal degrees. Notably, there are some important distinctions between these two options.
Doctorates in PM tend to emphasize practical training, which is meant to prepare students for work in executive positions at major corporations. Those enrolled often receive instruction in leadership theory and applied action research, both of which will help graduates plan for long-term organizational growth.
The PhD is better for those interested in teaching and research, however. Curriculums often include multivariate analysis, curriculum design, and organizational theory. While outcomes vary, graduates are often well-prepared to perform research and/or provide instruction to others entering the field. Notably, students may need to enroll in business administration programs instead of project management, which can be more difficult to find.
Become a Project Manager Professional in Delaware
Becoming a project management professional generally starts with identifying your ultimate career goals to prepare for the learning you need. There are many career opportunities available within this field and it can beneficial to narrow your focus as early as possible. Once you select your preferred profession, you can research industry expectations and standards to determine what learning, training, and experience may be necessary. Doing this can help you develop the most direct and efficient pathway to success.
Education requirements tend to vary by company and organization, but most project managers obtain and utilize bachelor’s degrees in project management, business, or a related field. It’s important to note, however, that some employers have higher expectations and/or prefer candidates to possess different academic backgrounds. In some cases, a graduate-level education may be required and/or candidates who majored in technical fields such as information technology and engineering may receive preference.
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In addition to meeting all necessary education requirements, you are likely to benefit from earning one or more professional certifications within the field. These credentials help demonstrate overall competency, as well as related specialized skills pertinent to project management career paths. While not always listed as necessary on job descriptions, many employers do give preference to candidates with certifications. Other benefits can include opportunities for promotion and higher pay.
Interested parties can choose from many different certifications, most of which are offered by professional organizations and associations. A prominent example of this is the Project Management Institute (PMI). As the leading professional association for project management, PMI is an authority for those who utilize project management skills around the globe. It offers a wide variety of certifications designed specifically to help professionals meet the qualification remands of employers at every career stage.
Some of the best-known options offered include:
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
- PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)
- Program Management Professional (PgMP)
- Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP)
- PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)
- PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)
- PMI Project Management Ready
- Construction Professional in Built Environment Projects (PMI-CP)
Notably, one of the most commonly sought credentials offered by PMI is the Project Management Professional (PMP). This certification recognizes project managers who have the necessary skills to manage projects successfully. Application requirements include earning a four year degree, completing 36 months of experience leading projects, and completing 35 hours of PM training (or the CAPM certification). Those with high school diplomas and associate degrees may still qualify, but additional experience leading projects is necessary. All candidates must also pass a 180-question examination prior to becoming certified.
PMI also offers memberships, which can help demonstrate how serious you are about further professional development and your project management career as a whole. Benefits include receiving exclusive publications relevant to the field, as well as the ability utilize thousands of helpful tools, templates, articles, and guides. Not only do members gain access to valuable knowledge and resources, they can also benefit greatly from PMI networking. The association’s network connects over one million global PM peers and experts throughout the world. PMI manages over 300 local chapters hosting events, topical sessions, and information meetups. Delaware residents can join the Delaware Valley Chapter, which has been supporting project managers and practitioners in Philadelphia, South Jersey, Delaware, and the Eastern Shore regions for 43 years.
Careers for Project Management Graduates
- Administrative Services Manager
Administrative services managers ensure office spaces operate smoothly and efficiently. These professionals are generally responsible for all administrative department operations, including establishing, revaluating, and altering departmental systems. They also hire, train, monitor, and direct staff members as they answer phones, distribute mail, store paperwork, and schedule meetings. According to PayScale, administrative managers make an average base salary of $67,600 per year.
- Art Director
Art directors oversee the development and coordination of visual style and images for magazines, newspapers, product packaging, and entertainment productions. While these professionals sometimes create designs themselves, they may also be responsible for managing employees who design the artwork and/or layouts instead. These often review and approve designs, talk to clients about artistic needs, develop budgets, and establish project timelines before presenting final products to their employers for approval. According to PayScale, art directors make an average base salary of $72,350 per year.
- Information Systems (IS) Manager
Information systems (IS) managers are in charge of professional information technology (IT) teams who work to address the needs of their employers. Responsibilities vary, but often include troubleshooting problems, administering computer system updates, and installing hardware/software. These professionals may also oversee budgeting and the delegation of assistance requests. Additionally, information systems managers are often actively involved in hiring employees, training new professionals, monitoring worker performance, and research new business technologies. According to PayScale, information systems managers make an average base salary of $87,700 per year.
- Construction Manager
Construction managers plan and coordinate construction projects. This generally entails preparing cost estimates and budgeting throughout the job, as well as explaining contracts, collaborating with architects, and selecting subcontractors. These professionals also supervise workers, monitor overall progress, deal to delays, and respond to any emergencies. Additionally, it is their responsibility to ensure all work complies with legal requirements. According to PayScale, construction managers make an average base salary of $80,050 per year.
- Digital Marketing Manager
Digital marketing managers work to promote brands, products, and/or services for the companies and organizations they work for, often by planning and overseeing advertising campaigns. They often spend time designing projects, analyzing data, and identifying potential trends among audience members. Additionally, it is common for these professionals to participate in the art design process and/or manage related social media platforms. According to PayScale, digital marketing managers make an average base salary of $71,050 per year.
- Engineering Project Manager
Engineering managers oversee engineering teams, often made up of engineers, designers, and manufacturers. These professionals typically direct and process daily operations, ensuring all participants work well together and accomplish the tasks assigned. They may also oversee budgeting and cost analysis for projects. According to PayScale, engineering managers make an average base salary of $97,850 per year.
- Facilities Manager
Facilities managers ensure that the buildings and grounds they are assigned to meet all applicable health and safety standards. Generally, this entails overseeing the operation and maintenance of one or more locations. Responsibilities can vary, but often include cleaning, catering, hospitality, security, and parking services. These professionals will also respond to user needs and concerns when they arise. According to PayScale, facilities managers make an average base salary of $69,800 per year.
- Fundraising Manager
Fundraising managers generate donations for their employers by developing and managing campaigns, as well as applying for grant money. They are often responsible for identifying and interacting with potential and current donors. These professionals typically spend most of their time developing and executing these fundraising events, but are also expected to maintain communication with supporters and provide regular updates regarding funding goals. According to PayScale, fundraising managers make an average base salary of $56,800 per year.