21 Career Opportunities in Project Management

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If you think your degree in project management only qualifies you to work as a project manager on software development projects, your focus is too narrow. This degree qualifies you to do a variety of jobs. You can be at the start of your career or adding your Master’s in project management to years of work experience. There are many ways that you can apply your project management degree.

Project Management Salaries by Industry

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Salaries in the project management career path depends on several considerations such as the nature, duration, and complexity of the project. Additional considerations in project manager salary are the employer and the industry. For example, the top 3 industries with the highest average salaries for project management professionals are:

  • Information technology ($142.5k median annual)
  • Engineering ($94.4k average annual)
  • Construction ($93.3k medial annual)

And the bottom 3 industries are:

  • Marketing ($59.9k average annual)
  • Energy ($70k average annual)
  • Healthcare ($75.4k average annual)

The project manager job description is actually wide in scope. In this article, we’ll review jobs that are perfect for current students, recent graduates, and folks with more than a few years on the job. These jobs can help you to develop needed skills, get your foot in the door in industries where they need project management skills or serve as a stepping block for advancement.

Part-time Summer and Internship Jobs For Students

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Interns may or may not get paid, and unpaid internships are common when the purpose is to obtain an academic credit toward graduation. But many employers pay interns especially when their purpose is to train a future employee after they graduate from college. Internship salaries range from $7.25 to $30.15 depending on the industry and location, with a national average of $12.88. Internship jobs are ideal for helping current students develop important skills and gain work experience at the right companies. If you are currently in school and are interested in going into project management, consider one of these.

Construction and Remodeling

Even if you take on a small role as an assistant, summer laborer, or office clerk, working in the construction and remodeling industry can give you great insights into what it takes. You should learn sales, bidding and estimation, and completion of projects. You’ll also see how the different roles contribute to construction management project, and how time management is extremely important. You will be responsible for a variety of administrative and clerical tasks. It is a chance to improve your organization and communication skills vital in project management. Construction admin assistant salary ranges between $12 to $22 per hour with an average of $16 per hour.

Project Management Internship

If you are nearing graduation, it may be time to start looking for project management internships. You can find these at software development companies, manufacturing firms, advertising and marketing companies, and construction companies. In a good project management internship, you’ll shadow experienced project managers, learn more about your chosen industry, and even apply some of the project management technologies that you have learned. Interns also assist in managing and supervising different aspects of a project within its life cycle. PM intern salaries range between $12 to $23 per hour, with a median of $16 per hour.

Warehouse and Manufacturing Jobs

Chances are that you’ll find this work repetitive. But if you keep paying attention and work hard, you might work your way into a line lead or other similar position. This will put you in contact with floor supervisors and give you a look at the way that coordination, purchasing, logistics, and planning all play a role in the company’s success. Understanding these things, even at a very basic level is key to a career in project management. You have the chance to develop effective communication, attention to details, fast thinking, teamwork, and stamina. The average hourly rate is about $14 per hour.

Helpdesk and Customer Service

A big part of project management entails understanding the end user’s problems and needs. After all, no project is successful unless the user signs off with their approval. Getting experience in communicating directly with customers and end users can help you to learn how to gather requirements and route issues to the correct person. Aside from learning how to solve client issues, you can get training on customer service and conflict resolution. Average hourly base rate is at $17 per hour.

Academic Research

If you have the chance to get on an academic research team, jump on it. It’s even better if you can take on a leadership role. While an academic project is not the same as a software, marketing, or business project, there are similarities. Everyone has a job to do, and the success of the entire project depends on a coordinated effort. Academic research assistants can have a diverse set of duties including updating records, overseeing experiments, implementing testing methods, and supervising technicians. This leadership preparation role gets an approximate salary of $11 to $12 an hour.

Dedicated Volunteering

This isn’t the kind of volunteering that you might do once or twice a month. If you are interested in applying project management skills, consider signing up for a long-term volunteer gig. Check out options such as FEMA, AmeriCorps, City Year, or Vista. You will work on a variety of projects in both hands-on and administrative capacities. One of the benefits of volunteering is that your superiors will entrust you with management level tasks sooner. Volunteers do not get paid but may receive allowances to cover expenses.

Entry Level Project Management Jobs

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Breaking into project management puts you in a tough position. You’ve graduated with a project management degree but most companies are hesitant to let a relatively inexperienced graduate take the helm of major, high budget projects. Entry level project management jobs will help you to get your foot in the door, gain experience, and prove that you are ready to lead.

Project Assistant

If you are interested in becoming a traditional project manager, consider finding a job as an assistant to a project manager. You can see the daily work of a project manager. These employees work on important projects and hone skills such as familiarization with implementing PM standards like PRINCE2. Project assistants are responsible for administrative and technical support to make sure teams complete projects in time and within budget. The average salary is about $20 an hour, but can range between $17 and $22 per hour.

Quality Assurance Tester

As software and app projects unfold, they require constant testing to ensure that apps meet user requirements and that developers code everything according to specification. As a quality assurance tester, you will be create test cases and conduct those tests. You’ll work closely with the project lead, developers, and end users. Responsibilities can also include gathering requirements from business analysts and analyzing them for testing perspective. Median salary is about $32 an hour.

Assistant Event Planner

If you think about it, a party, a wedding, a banquet, or a branch opening are all projects. The end product is the event itself. In making this happen event planners coordinate with vendors, seek out appropriate venues, and work with the client to ensure that their needs are met. As an assistant, you can learn about coordination, scheduling, and managing of logistics from senior planners. Assistant event planners are responsible for making transportation arrangements, contacting event guests, coordinating volunteers, promoting the event, and managing back office requirements. Salary is about $14 to $15 per hour.

Junior Business Analyst

This is another position where you can perfect the art coordinating communications between customers and project teams. This is an extremely important skill, especially on technical projects where users and developers often have difficulty understanding each other’s terminology.

If you’re pursuing your Master’s degree in your project management career path, this is a good position to have. You will build up both your analytical and writing skills in this job. You will appreciate the experience as you work on your dissertation. On-the-job experience is just one important way that students can gather dissertation writing tips. A Junior BA job can also provide the opportunity to improve your computer proficiency, technical expertise, analytical thinking, reporting skills, and interpersonal communication skills. The average salary is About $30 per hour.

Marketing Analyst

If you have any IT experience or have majored in Data or Computer science, marketing analyst could be a great position for you. In addition to needing web designers and copywriters, marketing teams need people who can analyze data. This analysis is used to determine if a project is on the right track. Market analysts perform market research, assess client needs, calculate campaign ROIs, and update client databases. The average base salary rate is about $21 per hour.

User Liaison

A user liaison plays a very important role on the project team. They act as the user’s representative in project meetings and communications. This position is very common in large organizations, or on projects impacting executive level staff. For agile teams, they can take the role of product owners. Coordination and communication are crucial in this responsibility. It requires decision making skills, analytical thinking, computer proficiency, and knowledge of procedures. Average hourly rate is about $24 to $25 per hour.

Assistant Construction Manager

The assistant construction manager position is a ‘boots on the ground’ job. They work alongside construction managers, clients, site foremen, union reps, contractors, and others. Companies give them a variety of tasks to help the managers ensure that their team complete projects on time, within budget, and meet the client’s requirements. They need to demonstrate leadership, construction expertise, and attention to details. Average hourly rate is about $19 to $20 per hour.

Web Designer or App Developer

If you have coding skills, you can take an entry level job as a web designer or app developer. You can lend your technical skills, and employ your project life cycle knowledge as well. Many companies would value someone who can develop applications, and also have training in project management methodologies. It is a path that can lead to an IT project manager position. Average base salary can go up as high as $47 per hour.

Mid-career Project Management Jobs

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While pursuing a project management degree, professionals can continue their long-term project management careers. Consider making a move into one of these mid-career PM jobs where you can apply the business skills you have and get a chance to put your knowledge into play as well.

Team Leader

Project manager jobs require several skills including supervising, motivating, and managing people. There are no project management charts or apps that provide a path around this. Apply for a job as a team leader or other similar position. You will use some of your project management knowledge, which can bridge your current position to an official project management position. You need to demonstrate leadership skills, time management, analytical thinking, and strong communication skills. Project team leader jobs have an average salary rate of $22 to $23 per hour.

Logistics Manager/Coordinator

Project leads must have the skills to juggle several different tasks at once, and they must be a master at coordinating resources. By pursuing a job in logistics or coordination, you can add a lot of knowledge to your skill set. It is an opportunity to develop knowledge in supply chain management, e-commerce experience, and leadership as well as hone attention to details, communication abilities, and computer proficiency. Logistics Manager or Coordinator salaries can go up to $50 per hour.

Office Manager

The Office Manager job can be an excellent interim job as professionals move from their current position into better project management jobs. In a corporate office, the office manager supervises staff in a variety of areas including facilities maintenance and building security. They are in charge of coordinating and supervising a variety of projects, ordering supplies, and equipment, and working with vendors and contractors. Average salary is about $21 per hour.

Sales Manager

If you have a sales background, you can pick up some essential skills by seeking out a position in sales management. You will use your existing sales abilities and also develop supervisory, management, and mentoring skills. These are all valuable when it comes to managing project teams and keeping them on task. It is also an opportunity to develop skills in recruiting and training sales teams, attracting new customers, and liaising with suppliers and other stakeholders. The sales manager has an average salary of $21 to $22 per hour.

Business Analyst

Your combination of industry experience and project management skills could be perfect for the position of a business analyst. You will play a key role in projects as the go-to person when it comes to gathering and understanding user requirements. You’ll also facilitate communications between the project team and the client. The business analyst is an integral part of the team, and you may find it is fairly easy to transition into a project leadership position. Business analysts have an average salary of $30 per hour, but can go up to $55 per hour for IT business analysts.

Project Scheduler

Project schedulers are professionals who focus on the scheduling aspect of project management. They are important roles in the construction and engineering industries, where projects include schedules that involve multiple different parties. They are responsible for planning projects and monitoring its execution. The role requires making decisions on process control, procurement, sub-contracting, and risk management. Project schedulers have an average salary of $45 per hour.

Senior Project Manager

The Senior Project Manager position is the highest position you can obtain in continuing your project management career. Senior PMs have at least 10 years of related experience to achieve their status. They oversee projects from start to finish, demonstrating leadership, strategic planning, organizational skills, time management, communication, and results orientation. Average senior project manager salary is about $61 to $62 per hour, and can reach up to $90 per hour.

Ready to consider a project management career path?

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Most project management certification requires at least a high school diploma. A college degree can open more possibilities career-wise. The jobs and other opportunities listed all serve at least one of two purposes. They give up-and-coming project leads the opportunity to develop a variety of skills that they will need for their future project management jobs. Also, many of these jobs are great alternatives for project management graduates who have decided to take a non-traditional career path.

Eliza Medley

Eliza Medley is an experienced marketer and educator for getgoodgrade.com, a writing service in the USA. She writes about management, entrepreneurship, college tips, and business communication. Follow her on Twitter.

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