What Can I Expect from an Online Master’s in Project Management Program?

Online master’s in project management programs offer the same academic quality as on-campus programs in a more convenient format. By eliminating the need to commute to campus, online programs make it easier for working students to maintain their job responsibilities while they further their education. Also, online programs enable you to attend a college outside your area without the cost and inconvenience of relocating. Remember that no two online master’s in project management programs are identical, so you should carefully review each option to find the best match for your needs and goals.

Available concentrations

If you know what you want to do in the project management field, you should look for a program that allows you to focus your studies on this specialty. Some of the most common concentration options for a master’s in project management include:

  • Management: Students immerse themselves in the theory and techniques of managing projects, organizations, and personnel.
  • Human Resources: This concentration covers what graduates need to know to manage human resources projects effectively.
  • Leadership: Learn the necessary skills for leading a team, department, or entire organization.

Common degree curriculum

While the exact curriculum will depend on which school you attend and whether you pursue a concentration, some topics are covered in just about every online master’s in project management program, such as:

  • Project Management Fundamentals: General survey of project management principles, often providing students with hands-on learning opportunities to experience working through the process directly.
  • Business Systems and Processes: Introduction to concepts such as business process management and operations management, enabling students to understand business functions in the workplace better.
  • Financial Management: Learn the fundamentals of financial management, including budgeting, financial planning, money management, asset management, and accounts payable and receivable.
  • Decision Making and Ethics on Projects: Covers addressing ethical issues while managing projects.

Certification and license preparation

In addition to your master’s degree, you should consider earning professional certifications to bolster your resume further and advance your career. Some of the most valuable certification programs for those with a master’s in project management include:

  • Project Management Professional: The Project Management Institute offers a rigorous vetting process for professionals in this field. Those who meet the work and education requirements must sit for a 200-question test to achieve certification.
  • Professional in Human Resources: Having a master’s degree will allow you to earn this credential with just one year of experience (candidates with only a bachelor’s degree need two years of experience).

Program accreditation

Only apply to institutions that have been approved by a DOE-recognized accrediting organization, such as the New England Commission of Higher Education or Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Otherwise, you may not be able to access financial aid or transfer credits to another institution. In addition to institutional accreditation, the best options for earning a master’s in project management also have programmatic accreditation from an industry group such as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

Program completion timeframe

Online master’s in project management programs can range from 36 to 48 credit hours of coursework, which takes most full-time students about two years to complete. Part-time students may need up to five years (most colleges require master’s degree programs to be completed within five years of total study).

Programs with extra requirements, such as a thesis, internship, or capstone project, will take longer to complete. To earn your degree more quickly, look for a program that offers asynchronous courses you can finish at your own pace. You’ll also be able to shorten your program if you can transfer credits from previous attempts to earn a master’s degree.

Employment Outlook for Master’s in Project Management Graduates

A master’s in project management will provide you with solid job security. While the number of jobs in the United States is projected to increase by 3% over the next decade, occupations related to project management are expected to grow significantly faster. That means there should be plenty of employment opportunities in this field, making it easier to find a job and negotiate pay raises.

This degree is an excellent choice for those who want to earn a significant income. Indeed, it’s fairly common to receive a six-figure salary in the project management industry.

You should adjust your salary expectations according to where you plan to work, though. Areas with a higher cost of living tend to offer higher pay. For example, the average salary for project management specialists in New Jersey is over $70,000 higher than in South Dakota.

Job Title Job Description Median Yearly Salary Projected Growth Rate (2022 – 2032)

Project Management Specialist

Project management specialists coordinate tasks such as budgeting, scheduling, and staffing, and they may also serve as a point of contact for their employer’s clients.

$95,370

6%

Human Resources Manager

Human resources managers oversee administrative tasks such as recruiting, interviewing, and training employees. They are often responsible for administering payroll and benefits as well.

$130,000

5%

Professional organizations

Joining professional organizations will help you stay at the forefront of industry changes, take advantage of continuing education opportunities, and network with peers. The most notable organizations for project management professionals include:

  • Project Management Institute: With almost half a million members, the Project Management Institute confers certifications, manages local chapters for project management professionals, and offers a variety of educational resources.
  • Society for Human Resource Management: SHRM offers an enormous learning library, various continuing education courses, and many events and other networking opportunities.

Financing Your Online Master’s in Project Management Degree

Online degree programs are often less expensive than on-campus programs, but you still may need help paying for your education. Fortunately, many different types of financial aid are available for online master’s students in project management.

The first step to accessing assistance is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which will determine your eligibility for scholarships, grants, and loans the federal government offers. You may also be able to find financial aid opportunities your school, your employer, industry groups, non-profit organizations, and private companies. Grants and scholarships are broadly available for minority students, students who are the first in their families to seek higher education, and students who intend to use their graduate-level skills for a public service career.

Student Finance Resources and Guides

There are so many options available for financing your education, each with its own set of eligibility requirements and application deadlines, that it can be challenging to determine what you should do next after submitting your FAFSA. The resources listed below will help you sort through all this information and save as much money as possible.

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Interested in a degree?

Learn more about online degrees, their start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.