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Project Management

Project management is the process of planning, organizing and overseeing work on a defined project. It involves accomplishing specific goals within guidelines of cost and time and is applicable to almost every business and industry.

If you have an analytical mind, excellent communication skills, a tough skin and the ability to lead, project management may be for you.

What does a project manager do?

A project manager’s job involves creating a master plan to reach a specific outcome — and then making sure it gets done. Project managers (PMs) are results-oriented leaders who break an end-goal into smaller pieces, manage a team to complete each part, and make sure expected results are reached within budget and time constraints.  

Why is this a fast-growing occupation?

In a world where time is money and results count, knowing how to get things done in a timely and cost-effective manner is a valuable skill. Though in the past many employees fell into project management as an extra job duty, today it is a definable ability.

In a strong economy, demand for PMs is high across all industries. When the economy is slow, look for opportunities in hot sectors such as biotechnology or IT. Many companies use PMs to handle everything from launching new products to restructuring. Construction manager is one of the fastest-growing occupations listed by both the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and America’s Career Infonet.

Where do project managers work?

Project managers may be responsible for developing new technologies, launching new products or managing alliances with strategic partners. Large corporations hire PMs to implement new practices in branch offices. Internet companies often look for project managers to oversee site launches or develop new applications.

PMs are key to a wide variety of industries:

  • Information technology
  • Construction
  • Health care
  • Telecommunications
  • Architecture
  • Financial services
  • Engineering and manufacturing
  • Real estate development
  • Insurance
  • Government
  • Aerospace

What are typical job responsibilities?


Project managers plan what work needs to be done, who’s going to do it and when each part needs to be completed. Projects can vary widely in both content and scope — from publishing a report to constructing a building. Though project managers are not responsible for carrying out the work themselves, they are accountable for the outcome. 

Because there are so many areas that employ project managers, specific job duties vary widely both in scope and technical knowledge required. However, general responsibilities include:

  • Creating the master plan to lead a project to successful delivery
  • Identifying resources
  • Coordinating and motivating the project team
  • Communicating with stakeholders
  • Budgeting and managing costs
  • Managing risks and issues
  • Dealing with variables or changes
  • Making sure the project runs on time and within budget
  • Delivering expected outcomes

What skills and abilities are required?

  • The ability to juggle multiple responsibilities
  • Analytical thinking
  • Outstanding communications skills
  • The ability to work with people of diverse abilities and personalities
  • Excellent time management abilities
  • Strong leadership skills
  • The ability to accept responsibility for either the success or the failure of a project

Education and Certification

Educational requirements for project managers vary greatly according to the type of projects they manage. For construction projects, a civil engineering degree is usually required. High-tech PMs may need a degree in electrical engineering or computer science. Many project managers have some type of formal business training, such as a Master of Business Administration, since they must be able to evaluate a project’s financial impact on the company.

Employers are increasingly seeking project managers with proven credentials. The project management professional (PMP) certification of the Project Management Institute (PMI) is one of the most well-known project management credentials and is the widely accepted standard for demonstrating a professional level of competence. PMI is the world’s largest not-for-profit membership association for the profession and offers five additional globally accredited credentials besides PMP.

To obtain the PMP credential, you must satisfy requirements involving education and experience, agree to a code of ethics and pass the PMP certification examination. Many corporations require PMP certification for employment or advancement.

What are average salaries and job growth?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t specifically classify project management as an occupation, so it doesn’t track job outlook for this profession. The best current wage information comes from recent PMI salary surveys:

Average annual salary in the U.S is $111,640. Average annual salary for those with PMP certification is $115,271 — about 20% higher than $96,793 annually for those without certification.

PMI lists these annual salaries for project managers by industry:

​​Job Median​ Annual Salary
Consulting $128,536
​Aerospace ​$119,743
​Government ​$113,113
​Information Technology ​$112,324
​Health Care ​$105,847
​Telecommunications $105,533
​Construction ​$101,309

High-demand areas for PMs include:

  • Information technology
  • Construction
  • New product development
  • Environmental research

Project Management Programs at the Colleges of DCCCD

Project Management programs are offered through the Continuing Education Divisions of the following colleges of DCCCD. Note that program content, length and cost vary; please check with the college of your choice to ensure the right fit for your goals.

  • North Lake College, 972-273-3386
  • Richland College, 972-238-6146