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What is a Project Manager?

Kentucky is well known for enterprises such as horse farms, bourbon distilleries, and agribusiness. However, there is a lot more to the Blue Grass State. The state does focus much of its economic activity on edible products, with fourteen percent of its top sector, manufacturing, devoted to food and beverages. This is illustrated by the fact that one third of the United States' top food and beverage manufacturers have significant operations in the state. Furthermore, 95% of the world's bourbon is distilled in Kentucky. Other top performing industries in Kentucky include real estate, social services such as healthcare and education, professional and business services, and wholesale trade rounds out the top five.

A project manager is a corporate executive who specializes in attracting and executing projects. While project management is a vital part of any industry, they are often thought of as being most integral to the information technology consultation industry. However, they may be called upon to manage projects in areas such as home remodeling, interior design, road construction, or even marketing campaigns.

Project managers are specifically trained to focus on the needs of individual projects. Where other managers are tasked with overseeing a company or department for an indefinite period of time, project managers focus on specific projects. A project management professional may even work with regular management teams and coordinate those teams in order to complete the larger task. In fact, their non-specialization may be their greatest strength. Instead, they find those with the specialized skill needed for a project and coordinate them with other specialized teams.

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Online Project Management Education in Kentucky

The state is also beginning to pivot toward new economy models that include more tech and information-centered ventures. These new ventures and business models are increasingly shifting toward an emphasis on project managers. Based on these shifts and the existing economy, the state as a whole is invested in attracting and training new project management workers to help take the state's economy to the next level of success.

To support private industry, the state legislature provides the funds its university system needs to attract and retain top academic minds for its business colleges and departments. Faculties aim to recruit top PhDs who have produced cutting-edge research while also proving themselves in the classroom. They seek PhDs for their full-time, tenure track positions, and these academics can also teach in graduate degree programs or work as research faculty who generate funds for their school by completing research projects for private interests.

Undergraduate project management degree programs, both at four-year and community colleges, can also hire master’s level project management instructors. Often, these academics understand the local economy. They have experience managing projects in Kentucky and thus have specific knowledge that can inspire students and help them become an even better project management professional.

Online Associate Degree in Project Management (AS)

One of the shrewdest moves a student can make is to start their academic career with an associate degree. Students can find associate project management degree programs in community colleges across Kentucky. These programs provide students with a strong introduction to the field, as well as helping them complete a well-rounded curriculum.

Associate project management degree programs are smart for other reasons, as well. For starters, community colleges are often conveniently located in a student's town or county. This eliminates the need to move or to commute long distances. Even if a student's desired program is all the way across the state, there's a chance they can enroll in an online degree program. Then, community college credits are far cheaper than those offered in any four-year degree program. Students who go on to a four-year school for their bachelor’s project management degree will come out with far less debt as a result.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Project Management (BS)

Most businesses look for recruits with a bachelor’s project management degree. This is because even four-year degrees are glutting the employment market and so students need to meet this increasingly minimal standard. Furthermore, a bachelor’s project management degree pushes students to go deeper into their field of expertise. They can complete projects with fellow students and even internship programs to learn how to effectively plan for their organization's next project.

Internships are a vital part of many project management degree programs. They help students learn from active businesses and give them a ground-floor view of the working world. Many interns also make valuable connections while in their internship. Those connections may help them find employment or give them access to mentors or friendly colleagues.

Naturally, a bachelor’s project management degree program is vital for those who have real long-term success in mind. They must have a bachelor’s degree before they can even apply to a master’s project management degree program, including an MBA with a project management concentration. Additionally, the Project Management Institute (PMI) offers several project management certificate program options to those who have earned a degree in the field, such as PMP certification. Certified project managers can earn more than their uncertified counterparts.

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Online Master's Degree in Project Management (MS)

Those who want to make it to the C-suites should look into a master’s project management degree program. That, or an MBA with a project management concentration, could elevate anyone's salary and position in a firm. This is largely because a bachelor’s degree has become undervalued due to so many already having a four-year degree.

Project management professionals can also look for an innovative program that can address their specific needs. Not only are there flexible options that offer online or hybrid course delivery, but there are ones that can address their specific industry. For example, a project manager who focuses on IT projects might look into a dual MBA that allows them to concentrate on project management in their MBA while completing an MS in information technology. There are as many such combinations as a creative professional can imagine. And, for those interested in improving their certification through the Project Management Institute, they can find a project management certificate program (PMP certification) for graduates of a master's program who are interested in continuing professional development for project oriented roles.

Online PhD Degree in Project Management (PhD)

The business world isn't yet demanding doctorate degrees for their project managers. However, that may change as the professional environment becomes increasingly full of master’s project management degree workers. The field may also look for PhDs in specialized fields where project managers are needed with an extra level of expertise. For instance, a PhD in computer science may be just the person to project manage a highly technical project in artificial intelligence or cyber security.

The consulting world may also be a better fit for a PhD. While firms usually cap their general hires to those with an MBA, they like to hire consultants with the very top academic credentials. And, naturally, a PhD in project management is ideal for someone who wants a career in academia.

While it is possible to teach undergraduate students with a master’s degree, academics who want a full-time, tenure track position will likely need a doctorate. PhDs can also teach at the graduate and post-graduate levels. Those who aren't quite keen on teaching may be able to find positions as research faculty.

Become a Project Management Professional in Kentucky

While any person who oversees a project can be considered a project manager, the profession is one that demands lots of study and experience. However, it's not always clear how to become a project manager in Kentucky. One of the first steps is to sort out one's own inclinations and long-term goals.

One of the first steps to becoming a project manager in Kentucky is to determine one's own strengths. Project managers need to be highly organized with strong communication skills. They also need to be tech savvy, and it will never hurt to have specific industry knowledge or experience. For instance, an IT project manager should probably have a good working idea of what skills and tools are needed to execute projects in that arena. After all, they will need to have a full understanding of what their teams are telling them, as well as understanding what the client or firm needs.

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Students who are in a business degree program can start making inroads into the field by seeking out a degree in project management before they look to join an organization. Many schools in Kentucky offer these business degrees so students should find the best one for them. In particular, they should seek out project management degree programs that are fully accredited. They should also ensure that there are internships that are not only offered but which have full faculty support. Students should also consider a minor concentration or double major that coincides with their intended industry. For instance, budding IT project managers should at least take a few introductory courses in that field.

Once in the working world, professionals should continue their education and advance their credentials by way of a professional association. Resumes that boast not only top academic credentials but a job focused certification are sure to get first consideration. Membership in a professional project management association also benefits members, with great opportunities to meet others in the field, take courses that require educational hours but lead to new credentials and build skills and practical knowledge, and fun and enlightening conventions.

Potential Careers for Project Management Graduates

  • General and Operations Managers
    These management professionals oversee the day-to-day operations of their firm. They oversee all parts of a firm including production, distribution, budgetary concerns, and even compliance issues. While most managers are focused on a specific part of a firm, this role is all-encompassing.
  • Project Management Specialists
    Most managers oversee a department's daily operations and have a long-term view. Project management specialists, on the other hand, are tasked with organizing teams of workers to complete one single project. Many project managers are specialized and can manage specific sorts of projects, coming in under budget and meeting all timetables. These professionals have taken the time to master project management concepts that will affect organizations most, and they can understand best practices for juggling the cost and funding of a task's objectives.
  • Marketing Manager
    Every product and service needs a marketing team to bring it to market. Marketing managers oversee their marketing teams and see a marketing campaign from start to finish. They must be able to work with both the analytics and data science teams, as well as the creatives who create the fun ads and images we all know.
  • Sales Manager
    These business professionals oversee a sales team in their efforts to sell products and services for their organization. They work hard to motivate their team so that they can meet sales targets for every quarter, if not every week. Sales managers are often sales professionals who now work on salary rather than commissions.
  • Fundraising Manager
    The non-profit sector relies on charitable donations to keep the doors open. Fundraising managers are experts at targeting the ideal donors for their project. They may organize yearly events, such as parties or auctions, while they also manage fundraising mailings during the year. Fundraising managers may court large donors such as individuals and large funds that support their cause.
  • Financial Manager
    Every firm has finances to manage. Whether that means tracking the depreciation of assets or the acquisition of equities, financial managers take care of the firm's lifeblood: money. Financial managers help allocate funds for budgets, determine the financial feasibility of acquisitions, and work on mergers.
  • Software Developers
    These technology experts work on the software packages that run so many things. Developers need to have a strong vision for their software packages and the coding skills to bring those visions to life. Some software developers have built packages from the first blank computer screen, though many work on maintaining and upgrading a package that's been in existence for years. This position requires a computer science degree or deep experience in the field.
  • Database Administrators
    These tech workers are in the information technology department of many firms. They oversee the firm's databases. They may manage who has permission to access which parts of the data and they keep the data up to date. Database administrators need to have skills in SQL and general database technology.
  • Facilities Manager
    Every large office building, stadium, or even church needs a facilities manager to keep it running properly. They often have attained the position after a few years working to maintain the building. Facilities managers need to have a strong working knowledge of all aspects of the building including the electrical systems, security, plumbing, and even landscaping.

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