Project management careers offer you one of the fastest growing professions because people who have the ability to deliver business results on time and within budget are needed in every industry. Project managers are in demand all over the world and in both public and private sectors. Salaries are high with the average income of a certified project manager (PMP) topping $114,000 US. I’ll summarize the steps in a project management career from getting into the profession, to learning the basics, to your first certification. First let’s do a quick overview and then we’ll get into the details.
Project Management Career Progression
More than half of the project managers in the profession got into it because they were pushed into it. Executives noticed they were good performers so when a hot project came up, the executives dumped it in their laps. Learning on the job and on-the-fly, these people got through that first project and then decided they liked the work. They learn the right way later on. Project Management Profession
Other people take a project management careers route by consciously deciding they want to enter the profession. They prepare themselves for their first job as a project manager by learning the basics of project management. Then they get an entry-level project manager certification for credibility. These steps help them get their first chance to manage a small project. How To Get into Project Management
No matter what route people take to start their project management career, they need to have training that teaches them the fundamentals of planning, scheduling, executing and tracking projects. Many people also get their first certification at this point because it’s a help in job hunting. That first certification is often the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® from the Project Management Institute (PMI)®. That certification requires no project management work experience. But it does require learning the processes, definitions and terms of the profession and passing a 3-hour exam. Pass the CAPM Exam
Functional/Industry Project Management Certifications
Another route early in a PM career is to earn a project management certification in a specialty area. This is a popular route for people already working in IT, Healthcare, Construction, Consulting or Business/Manufacturing. The certifications are:
Certified IT Project Manager
Certified Healthcare Project Manager
Certified Construction Project Manager
Certified Consulting Project Manager
Certified Business Project Manager
These certifications give you credibility in a project management specialty area and confirm your knowledge of the basic through advanced project management skills. Then you can “sell” yourself as a person who can manage small and medium-sized projects using the best practices, tools and techniques.
Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certification and Beyond
After you have several years of experience managing projects, you will be qualified to earn the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute. This is an internationally recognized credential for experienced project managers and is highly regarded in all industries. You must be approved by PMI to take the PMP exam. PMI requires you to document 4,500 hours of project management work experience if you have a university degree and 7,500 hours of project management work experience if you do not have a university degree. They also require 35 hours of project management education. You need an exam preparation course to teach you all the best practices in project management. Then you must pass the exceedingly difficult 4-hour PMP exam. About 50% of the people who take the exam world-wide fail.
The next step in a project management career is to earn a Program Manager Certification which prepares you up for positions managing multiple projects and larger, strategic programs. Program Management
Following that, your next move will be into senior management in a position like Chief Project Officer, CPO.
We offer individual, customized online courses for every step in your project management career.