Guiding a project from origin to completion requires diverse talents: leadership, communication, technical savvy, budgeting, and a razor-sharp eye for detail. A project manager needs these abilities and more to keep a project on track, and it’s why they get paid well. So let’s dig into what project managers do, the value of certification, and, at last, typical project manager salaries.
What Do Project Managers Do?
Project managers earn higher salaries because they have a critical role in ensuring that a project gets completed successfully, on time, and within budget. Few employees can impact an organization’s bottom line than a project manager. A project manager’s duties include the following:
a) Directing all phases of a project from its inception to final delivery
b) Crafting a detailed project management plan to track progress
c) Defining the overall project scope
d) Getting buy-in on the project plan from clients, stakeholders, and team members
e) Prioritizing project tasks
f) Setting and managing project expectations with external and internal stakeholders
g) Coaching, motivating, supervising, and directing project team members
h) Creating a budget and managing costs throughout the project
i) Creating and updating project documentation
j) Continually communicating with team members, stakeholders, and clients
k) Forecasting revenue and resource requirements
l) Managing team member performance and meeting deadlines
m) Problem-solving conflicts
n) Managing changes in project scope
o) Reporting and escalating issues when necessary
p) Tracking project performance and progress using project management systems, tools, and techniques
q) Evaluating team performance
r) Providing a project report to management
Project Manager Salary Range
The Project Management Institute (PMI) released its Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey in 2021. After surveying 7,575 project managers in the United States found a median annual salary of $115,000. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a median salary of $77,420 in 2020 for project management professionals, with the bottom 10 percent earning a median of $42,180 and the top 10 percent earning $135,220 per year.
The PMP® Certification Advantage
Most PMI survey respondents have a PMP® certification (79%), which is considered the industry standard by most employers. The survey found that project managers holding a certification earned 16 percent higher on average across 40 countries.
However, many variables can determine a project manager’s salary, in addition to professional certification. We’ll explore them below.
What Influences Project Manager Salaries?
Project manager salaries are influenced by the years of experience, certification tenure, position level, education, location, project team size, and industry. Based on these factors, lets look at how much project managers make.
1) Years of Experience
Project manager salaries often increase along with their tenure.
Annualized Salary by Years of Project Management Experience
a) <3 years – $78,279
b) 3 to <5 years – $85,000
c) 5 to <10 years – $100,000
e) 10 to <15 years – $120,000
f) 15 to <20 years – $130,000
g) 20+ years – $138,000
2) PMP® Certification Tenure
PMP® tenure is also a factor. Among PMI survey respondents in most countries, the average project manager salary increases with how long a professional keeps their PMP® certification.
Annualized Salary by PMP® Certification Status
a) PMP® – $123,000
b) <5 – $108,000
c) 5 to <10 – $125,000
d) 10+ – $140,000
e) NON-PMP® – $93,000
f) % increase with PMP® vs. non-PMP® – 32%
3) Position Level
A project management salary for entry level professionals will obviously be different than a senior project manager or a project manager director’s salary.
Annualized Salary by Position
a) Director of Project Management/PMO – $145,000
b) Portfolio Manager – $140,000
c) Program Manager – $127,100
d) Project Manager III – $115,000
e) Project Manager II – $96,063
f) Project Manager I – $83,000
g) Project Management Specialist – $84,500
h) Project Management Consultant – $120,000
According to the PMI Salary Survey, most U.S. respondents (92 percent) had at least a bachelor’s degree. Reported salaries go up along with degree level:
a) Four-year college degree: $110,250
b) Master’s degree: $120,000
c) Doctoral degree: $123,000
Note that project managers need a four-year college degree to earn PMP® certification.
The location has an impact on the average project manager salary. According to ZipRecruiter, project management jobs in New York City, San Francisco, and Boston tend to have the highest annual salaries. Of course, the cost of living is much higher in those cities.
Remote working has changed the makeup of the workplace. Many companies, particularly technology, healthcare, and other industries, are hiring project managers who work remotely.
6) Team and company size
The size of the company and the project team can affect earnings. The larger the organization and the project team, the more a project manager may earn. Project managers at companies with fewer than 100 employees reported a median salary of $101,879, according to PMI. Project managers working at a company with 10,000 or more employees earned $120,912.
The survey revealed that project managers overseeing a team of one to four workers earned a median salary of $105,000. Those supervising teams of 20 or more people had a median salary of $130,000.
Project managers do well on average, but, like any profession, it depends on where you hang your hat. Here’s a roundup of project manager salary ranges in popular industries:
a) IT Project Manager – $120,000 starting
Project managers lead teams that foster innovations in cloud computing, software development, cyber security, and programming. Interestingly, not all I.T. project managers have a computer science or programming degree. A project manager’s soft skills of leadership, communication, organization, problem-solving, and negotiation will significantly impact the project’s success. True, I.T. project managers have the technical expertise and are familiar with the tools needed to track projects, budgets, and team roles.
b) Engineering Project Manager – $99,000 to $180,000
Civil and mechanical engineering project managers are among the highest-compensated in the field because they significantly impact the success of high-stakes engineering projects, such as city infrastructure. Engineering project managers work closely with construction companies to construct or renovate roads, bridges, and buildings.
c) Marketing Project Manager – $150,000
A project manager in marketing largely depends on the brand and size of the company. Marketing project managers may oversee the development of a campaign, handle social media execution, and ensure quality communications. They implement tools and methodologies to raise the profile of companies and help drive sales. They often work with the sales team, product managers, public relations, and other stakeholders to drive marketing campaigns.
d) Construction Project Manager – $70,000 to $130,000
Construction project managers need to have expertise in construction. They often oversee long-term projects, and their ability to manage resources and budgets is critical. They must keep an eye on supply chain, labor, and time management issues.
e) Health Services Project Manager – $120,000+
Project managers in health services is an important and growing discipline. They work on procurement and human resources management and need expertise in the medical field. Health services project managers generally enjoy stability and generous compensation.
f) Other industries include:
i) Consulting project manager – $132,500
ii) Resources, energy, utilities project manager – $101,254
iii) Pharmaceuticals project manager – $130,000
iv) Government project manager – $115,000
v) Construction project manager – $107,659
Get Project Management Training
Professionals who want the challenge, prestige, and handsome compensation of a project management career should enroll in the Project Management Program, offered by UMass Amherst and Simplilearn. UMass Amherst’s project management certification course is associated with PMI-PMP® and IASSC-Lean Six Sigma.
Aspiring project managers will learn volumes from UMass Amherst’s six-month online bootcamp. Its online, live courses cover Agile management techniques, design thinking, leadership skills, customer experience design, digital transformation, lead six sigma green belt LSSGB, and project risk management. Students are required to hold a bachelor’s degree in any discipline.
U.S. News Education Rankings has named the University of Massachusetts Amherst among the top 25 premier public universities. In addition, the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst is ranked a top-50 business school in the U.S.
UMass Amherst uses Simplilearn’s award-winning immersive learning model, which features live virtual classes that use applied learning to help teach students project management skills. Students who complete the course gain membership in UMass Amherst Alumni Association.