Project management professionals – or project managers – are employed in several key industries, including marketing research, construction and information technology. While their responsibilities may vary considerably, their primary objectives are to plan and execute projects in a timely and cost-effective manner. If you want to be a project manager, you'll need a bachelor's degree related to your industry. You can expect to earn a salary averaging above $80,000 annually.
Salary, Education and Qualifications
Project managers earned average annual salaries of $83,000 as of 2013, according to the jobsite Indeed. Glassdoor reports a median salary of $81,411 for the same year. Your minimum qualifications for becoming a project manager are contingent upon your industry. If you work in marketing research, you need a bachelor's degree in business, marketing or statistics. In the construction industry, you would need a bachelor's degree in construction science, construction management or industrial management. You may also need two or more years of experience in your industry. Other essential qualifications for all project management professionals include attention to detail and time management, problem-solving, critical thinking, communication and computer skills.
Salary by Region
In 2013, average salaries for project managers varied considerably within the four U.S. regions. In the South region, they earned the highest salaries of $97,000 in Washington, D.C., and the lowest of $71,000 in Louisiana. Those in the Northeast earned between $72,000 and $100,000, respectively, in Maine and New York. If you worked as a project manager in Hawaii or California, you'd make $57,000 or $90,000 per year, respectively, – the lowest and highest salaries in the West. In the Midwest, you'd earn the most in Illinois and least in South Dakota – $89,000 and $63,000, respectively.
Your salary as a project manager may vary in certain industries. For example, in 2012, market research analysts' salaries were the highest in the semi-conductor and components manufacturing industry at $94,380, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Construction managers' salaries were above average in the oil and gas extraction industry at $115,910 per year. You may also earn more in the semi-conductor and oil and gas extraction industry as a project manager, as these professionals often work with market research analysts or construction managers, depending on their specialty. You may also earn more working for a larger company, as larger companies likely have bigger budgets to support the higher salaries.
The BLS doesn't forecast jobs for project managers. It projects a 41 percent increase in jobs for market research analysts through 2020, which is much faster than the national average of 14 percent for all occupations. Project managers working in market research may also have ample job opportunities as companies need to better understand their customers' needs in a competitive marketplace. The BLS forecasts a 17 percent increase in jobs for construction managers, which is statistically about average. The increase in population and businesses – retail stores, restaurants, hospitals and schools – should spur job opportunities for project managers in the construction industry.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Construction Managers: Job Outlook
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Market Research Analysts: Job Outlook
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Market Research Analysts
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Construction Managers
- Inc.: Project Manager Job Description
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Project Manager Job Descriptions
- Indeed: Project Manager Salary
- Glassdoor: Project Manager Salaries
- Indeed: Project Manager Salary in Maine, and New York
- Indeed: Project Manager Salary in Hawaii, and California
- David De Lossy/Digital Vision/Getty Images