The outlook is promising if you are thinking about getting a project management degree to boost your career. According to a recent global survey by the Project Management Institute (PMI)®, almost 90 percent of high-performing organizations say they value project management. By 2020, the demand for project management professionals is expected to increase by 12 percent, which will result in almost 6.2 million jobs worldwide.
Across industries, project managers play an increasingly critical role in the workplace. They enable organizations to be productive and successful, whether it’s by organizing complex projects or fostering collaboration among team members based in different locations. Project managers must be able “to set clear goals, define scope and successfully manage costs, timelines, and outcomes” in order to be effective. Yet, the majority of employers report “it is either very difficult or somewhat difficult to find senior-level talent,” according to Wrike, a work management and collaboration platform used by high-performance teams. So, it should come as no surprise that hiring managers across a wide variety of industries seek candidates with a graduate-level degree who are also a certified project management professional (PMP)®. If you’re looking to advance your career in this industry, you will benefit from getting a master’s in project management.
Know Your Options
The three most popular graduate-level degree options for those pursuing project management careers are:
- master of science in project management (MSPM)
- master of arts in project management (MAPM)
- master of business administration in project management (MBA)
While it may seem tempting to go straight for the MBA, there is compelling evidence for pursuing an MSPM instead. Here are the top five reasons to get a master’s in project management:
- You’ll get more bang for your buck if you get an MSPM instead of an MBA. While it may seem more prestigious, getting an MBA is usually the most expensive option. Most MBA programs are also extremely competitive, requiring high standardized test scores and undergraduate GPAs. Some programs won’t even admit you unless you have a bachelor’s degree in business or a related field, such as marketing or finance. In terms of preparing you for a career in project management, many MBA programs do not require you to complete a project management project in order to graduate, which puts you at a disadvantage once you enter the job market.
- The coursework for an MSPM focuses directly on how to become a project manager without being specific to any one industry. This allows for more flexibility when searching for jobs. It also allows you to transition from one industry to another later in your career, whether you are looking for a change or hoping to expand your options.
- By earning an MSPM, you will learn organization, communication, and problem-solving skills that are extremely practical and will prepare you for optimal success. For example, most master’s degrees in project management programs require you to complete at least one project management related project. This type of experience allows you to apply your knowledge to real-life situations before entering the workforce. It also lets you tailor your education toward a particular field or interest.
- A master’s degree in project management provides you with the knowledge and experience to embark on a fulfilling career. You will learn how to manage diverse groups effectively, make adjustments as a project evolves, and incorporate best practices and recognized principles into your work. Upon graduation, you will be prepared to address the challenges of leading international projects and maintaining ethical and professional standards throughout a project’s life cycle. You will also know how to implement new tools and technology for planning and managing complex projects.
- You will have the opportunity to learn from fellow classmates and highly qualified faculty — this is one of the most overlooked benefits of getting a project management degree. Under the guidance of instructors who teach from their own experience, students can engage in practical applications of project management principles. The learning environment can be further enriched through interactions with fellow students. Most people who pursue an advanced degree in project management have already been in the workforce for several years. Class discussions and team projects will present you with opportunities to network and explore career possibilities.
Pursuing an online project management degree will help you acquire the technical and leadership skills needed to pursue a career as a project manager. The Online Master’s in Project Management at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is accredited by the Global Accreditation Center, which is an assurance that the program is aligned with the PMI’s Guide’s Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), the project management professional (PMP®) certification is “the gold standard of project management certification” and “validates your competence to perform in the role of a project manager, leading and directing projects and teams.” Saint Mary’s program “will teach you how to define, implement, evaluate, and lead initiatives from conception to completion” in addition to preparing you to take the PMP® exam.