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What is Project Management?

A project manager is a professional responsible for all aspects of a project. They play an important role in the planning, execution, and successful completion of projects. Project managers are tasked with leading teams, managing resources, and ensuring that the goals of the project are met on time and within budget. They need to be able to effectively communicate with stakeholders and manage conflicting priorities among team members. In order to be successful, they must possess strong leadership skills and technical knowledge related to the project's scope.

Additionally, they must understand risk management as part of their job duties in order to ensure that any potential risks are addressed quickly before they become issues that could impact the success of the project. For those looking to pursue a career in this field, there are numerous degree programs available at both undergraduate and graduate levels that can provide students with the necessary skills needed to succeed as a project manager.

Compare Popular Online Project Management Programs

Online Project Management Education in Illinois

Project management colleges and degree programs provide students with the skills needed to manage complex projects. Students learn how to coordinate resources, set timelines and budgets, use the latest technology, monitor progress, and lead teams. Courses include topics such as project planning and control, scheduling techniques, risk management methods, leadership strategies, cost estimation techniques, quality assurance processes, communication methods, and dispute resolution procedures.

In addition to traditional four-year universities offering degrees in project management or related fields like engineering or business administration with a concentration in project management, many online institutions also offer certificate programs for those looking for more specialized training. These courses cover areas such as budgeting basics for projects, problem solving, team building, performance measurement, decision making analysis, contracts laws related to projects, IT systems used in managing projects, software development life cycle processes, sourcing requirements of a project manager and several other relevant topics related to the professional role of a project manager.

Online Associate Degree in Project Management (AS)

An associate degree in project management provides students with the foundational knowledge and skills needed to succeed in this type of role. Core courses cover topics such as project management principles, communication, budgeting, organizational design, risk management, and conflict resolution. Students learn how to plan, organize, and direct resources within an organization in order to achieve specified goals. In addition to project management courses, associate degree programs may also include courses in business law and ethics, accounting principles, and economics.

Project managers are responsible for overseeing the execution of projects from beginning to end. They set expectations for quality assurance and timeline management while also ensuring that resources remain on budget throughout the duration of a project. As part of their duties, project managers must be able to work collaboratively with staff members at all levels across functional teams in order to ensure successful outcomes. Upon graduation from an associate degree program in project management students will be equipped with the necessary skillset required for entry-level positions as a project manager or coordinator within nearly any industry sector.

Online Bachelors Degree in Project Management (BS)

A Bachelor's degree in project management prepares students to lead complex projects from beginning to end. This type of program focuses on the principles, processes, and tools used in effective planning and execution of projects. These degrees are also the most commonly accepted level of education required by employers looking for project managers. Courses typically cover topics such as developing project plans, budgeting and cost estimating, risk assessment, change management, quality assurance, and controlling work progress. Additionally, many programs offer courses on effective communication skills for working with stakeholders, clients, and team members to ensure successful project completion. Graduates are prepared for a variety of job roles such as project manager, program manager, or senior analyst in fields related to engineering, construction, and information technology.

In addition to core business classes, like finance and accounting, a bachelor's degree in project management should also include individualized coursework that provides hands-on training in the use of software applications designed specifically for managing projects. Students gain practical experience using tools such as Gantt charts to track tasks over time, scheduling software for creating task dependencies, resource planning tools, financial analysis apps, and process modeling techniques. Through this combination of theoretical knowledge, along with practical skills gained through simulations or real-life case studies, graduates can effectively assess risks associated with any given venture while optimizing efficiency along each step of the way.

Online Masters Degree in Project Management (MS)

A Master's degree in project management is an advanced degree that focuses on the specialized skills and knowledge needed to become a successful project manager. It typically includes courses in finance, risk management, cost estimation, quality control, resource optimization, and project planning. In addition to these topics, students may also learn about communication strategies, organizational development, negotiation techniques, leadership styles, and team building practices.

Project management master’s programs often require applicants to have prior work experience in the field of project management or a related discipline. Students will gain an understanding of strategic planning processes and the application of technology solutions for managing projects. They will develop their critical thinking abilities and be able to recognize the nuances involved in large-scale projects. The curriculum should prepare graduates for professional roles as project managers within different industries such as information technology (IT), engineering, construction companies, and other fields that have complex projects to complete. In addition to classroom instruction, many programs provide opportunities for hands-on learning through internships with leading organizations or research experiences with faculty members on campus. These experiences allow students to gain real-world experience while developing their portfolio of skills necessary for success in this field.

Online PhD Degree in Project Management (PhD)

A PhD in project management typically requires a student to have a master's degree in the field. Generally, this entails the completion of core coursework in topics such as cost management, contract administration, project scheduling, and risk assessment. Many universities also require students to complete research seminars and professional development courses.

In addition to prerequisite courses, doctoral candidates must complete substantial independent research that contributes new knowledge and insights into project management or its various sub-disciplines. This often includes writing a dissertation that is defended before a faculty committee at the university. The dissertation can take several forms including empirical studies, literature reviews, and theoretical analyses. After successful defense of their dissertation proposal, students are required to submit their completed document for review by university faculty before they can graduate with their PhD degree in project management.

Online Project Management Certifications

Project management certification programs provide professionals with the skills and knowledge necessary to advance their career in this field. There are many different certifications available, ranging from basic project management concepts to more advanced topics such as agile project management, earned value analysis, and strategic project management. Professionals can obtain certification through an accredited professional organization or institution. Generally, these organizations require applicants to have a certain amount of experience or to take certain courses before applying for the certification exam. In addition, most organizations have continuing education requirements once the initial certification is obtained in order to maintain it.

Certified Project Managers (CPMs) are recognized globally as having the highest level of understanding when it comes to managing projects. CPMs possess a broad range of technical skills related to planning, scheduling, budgeting, and monitoring that enable them to successfully deliver projects on time and on budget. As such, they often serve as team leaders or executive directors within organizations responsible for managing complex projects from start-to-finish. They also help ensure that all stakeholders are kept up to date on progress while developing appropriate contingency plans when things don’t go according to plan.

Become a Project Manager Professional in Illinois

Becoming a project manager professional requires understanding the fundamental principles, techniques, and theories of project management. A successful project manager must possess a set of core competencies to successfully plan, execute, and close out projects. Here's a list of some steps you can take to become a project manager professional.

  • Step 1: Learn the Basics of Project Management:

    The best way to start your journey as a project manager is by understanding the principles and mechanics of managing different teams and programs. To do this, it’s important to read about project management basics, attend seminars or courses taught by experts in the field, join local meetups for experienced professionals in similar industries, shadow experienced peers or mentors in related fields, and watch educational videos. Learning these fundamentals will give you an idea of what tasks are required from a good project manager from day one so that when you’re finally placed on your first assignment as one, you won’t be completely blindsided. This is why employers prefer those who have completed some type of degree in the field, because passing the educational requirements needed to earn that degree means that you possess this vital knowledge.

  • Step 2: Get Professional Training:

    Though it may sound intimidating at first thought, there are many certifications that offer specialized training in various elements of successfully running a successful team and program – two highly valued skill sets for any potential employer. Certification courses such as PRINCE2 Foundation or Project Management Professional (PMP) certification will provide tangible proof that you are knowledgeable enough to qualify for higher positions in the future. It’s also important that their knowledge pass academic muster while also enabling them to gain real-time insights from other professionals who have had similar successes and failures before them – lessons they can apply as they climb up the career ladder later on down the line.

  • Step 3: Join Networking Events

    Especially if you're trying to break into this line of work without having experience under your belt yet, attending networking events is an excellent way meet other people who could potentially help open doors for new projects. The main point here is not just exchanging business cards, but really getting out there, building relationships, and seeing how your skills might make yourself valuable towards potential opportunities within other organizations. Look around for events hosted locally that have exhibits showcasing services associated with project management; some might even be free, so don't miss out.

  • Step 4: Earn Work Experience

    Once you've secured some basic certifications and familiarized yourself with industry standards, then it's time focus on gaining practical examples of where those skills will come into play. Internships are great ways to build up on job relevant experience specifically but don't underestimate any type of non-digital job where attention to detail is key (think checking stock inventory levels). Unexpected situations crop up all the time and demonstrating creativity when solving issues can make a huge difference toward showing future employers how resourceful you could be eventually during crunch times at real company gigs.

What Can I Do with a Bachelor's in Project Management?

A bachelor's in project management can open up a range of career opportunities. With this degree, you might pursue roles such as project manager, operations manager, or business analyst — all of which can require the ability to lead and manage complex projects. In addition, a degree in project management could help you develop the skills needed to assess and manage risk, plan resources and personnel for projects, develop budgets and timelines for projects, and create effective strategies for completing projects on time and on budget. Additionally, your training may cover areas such as information systems management, data analysis techniques, change management processes, organizational design principles, and conflict resolution methods. These skills can be applied across many industries including healthcare organizations, construction companies, and IT firms. Ultimately, a bachelor's in project management will prepare you to effectively plan out complex tasks while ensuring quality control throughout the entire process of project completion.

Potential Careers for Project Management Graduates

  • Sales Manager:

    A sales manager is a vital piece of any successful business, responsible for leading and developing a team of employees to increase the revenue of a company and meet their targets. Sales managers provide an indispensable role in the vendor-client relationship and they must be adept at both understanding customer needs and communicating the features and benefits that their company has to offer.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Proven experience as a Sales Manager or similar role
    • Knowledge of sales techniques and best practices
    • Excellent leadership and communication skills
    • Ability to analyze data and draw insights
    • Excellent organizational skills
    • Ability to motivate a team

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for sales managers in the US in 2021 was $127,490
    • The mean annual wage for sales managers in Illinois is $142,460
  • Database Administrator:

    Database administrators are skilled professionals who perform a critical role in organizations. They design, install, monitor, and maintain corporate databases to ensure that they function properly. They must be tech-savvy and demonstrate excellent problem-solving capabilities as well as impeccable organizational skills.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field preferred
    • Experience in working with relational databases such as MySQL, Oracle, or Microsoft SQL Server
    • Knowledge of database design principles

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for database administrators and architects in the US in 2021 was $101,000
    • The mean annual wage for database administrators in Illinois is $97,700
  • Administrative Services Manager:

    An administrative services manager is responsible for providing administrative support to ensure efficient operations of the organization. This role requires excellent organizational, communication, and interpersonal skills with the ability to manage multiple tasks and prioritize workloads.

    Necessary Requirements:

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for administrative services and facilities managers in the US in 2021 was $99,290
    • The mean annual wage for administrative services managers in Illinois is $109,860
  • Financial Manager:

    A financial manager will be responsible for providing strategic financial guidance, managing financial activities, and ensuring compliance with relevant regulations.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in finance, accounting or related field
    • Minimum 5 years of experience in a similar position
    • Extensive knowledge of accounting principles, internal controls and auditing standards
    • Proficiency in relevant software applications (e.g., QuickBooks)
    • Excellent communication, organizational and problem-s

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for financial managers in the US in 2021 was $131,710
    • The mean annual wage for financial managers in Illinois is $143,300
  • Supply Chain Manager:

    A supply chain manager is responsible for the planning, directing, and coordinating of activities to ensure that materials are moved efficiently. They are responsible for ensuring that products or services reach their target audience in a timely and cost-effective manner. Without these managers, goods or services would not be readily available to purchase when needed which could cause drastic losses for businesses.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in business, logistics, or a related field
    • At least 5 years of experience in a similar role
    • Strong understanding of supply chain operations and processes

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for logisticians in the US in 2021 was $77,030
    • The mean annual wage for logisticians in Illinois is $67,320
  • Marketing Manager:

    A marketing manager will be responsible for developing the company’s overall marketing strategy, creating new campaigns, and overseeing the team that puts them into action.

    Necessary Requirements:

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for advertising, promotions, and marketing managers in the US in 2021 was $133,380
    • The mean annual wage for marketing managers in Illinois is $139,010
  • Construction Manager:

    Construction managers are essential to the successful completion of a construction project, providing critical oversight and leadership from project inception to final completion. As experienced professionals, construction managers possess the skills, knowledge, and depth of experience needed to coordinate all stages of the construction process.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in construction management or related field
    • Proven experience as a Construction Manager or similar role
    • Knowledge of construction management software programs
    • Ability to read blueprints and other technical documents

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for construction managers in the US in 2021 was $98,890
    • The mean annual wage for construction managers in Illinois is $107,700
  • Software Developer:

    Software development is a sought-after and rewarding profession. It requires knowledge, skill, and hard work to become an accomplished software developer. To break into this competitive field, you must be interested in learning new technologies and tackling various challenges daily.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field
    • 3+ years of experience developing software applications
    • Proficiency in programming languages such as C++, Java, and Python
    • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment and handle multiple tasks simultaneously
    • Excellent problem-solving and debugging skills

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers in the US in 2021 was $109,020
    • The mean annual wage for software developers in Illinois is $109,970

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