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Is a Master’s Degree in Project Management Beneficial?

As business becomes more complex and global in scale, problem-solving and risk management are two attributes that remain a critical part of maintaining a healthy organizational bottom line. What has changed over the years, however, is the emergence of a strong professional front line to both predict potential problems before they become company-wide nightmares and also to assure the completion of projects (both small and major) in time and within budget. The Project Management field has really taken off as businesses recognize the value of hiring an individual or team that has the goal of keeping all things running smoothly. According to Federal Times magazine, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, which provides statistics on countless professions, is proposing to add Project Manager as its own independent category within the next year. This is a significant independent recognition, meaning that statisticians and those interested in joining the profession will be able to assess educational requirements, job outlook, and salary potential specifically for Project Management soon. For now, we look to management categories for a periphery understanding of Project Management to understand how one can enter into it initially and advance, or we look towards the leading professional project management organization, the Project Management Institute (PMI®) for specific research-based information.

One common thread through many of these management professions is that a master’s degree, though not required for many entry level jobs, is often beneficial in order to get an edge up on others and into joining the profession. And if the professional desires to actually be the management lead for large companies or complex projects, a master’s degree is more than just a good idea because it can help students prepare to sit for the Project Management Institute PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification exam to earn the PMP credential. Project Management Professionals® are the gold standard in the field, and companies know they are getting an employee who has had the hands-on, relevant training they need to be the best at managing and executing projects. This credential is evidence of the highest level a project management professional can achieve, and with it professionals could be eligible for a significant increase in salary—up to a 25% increase according to the Project Management Institute Project Management Salary Survey, 10th Edition.

It might be daunting to consider that you need a master’s degree to enter into such a promising profession. Uprooting from your home, leaving your current job—how will you find the time to make it happen? The easy answer is to pursue the degree online. Online education has become one of the most convenient and accessible ways of getting a degree. Any stigma that may have been attached to it in the earliest years is no more. In reality, there are many excellent online degree program options to help you achieve the degree and work towards the PMP credentials—start with this list of the best online master’s in project management degree programs as a guide to examine your options

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Michael Templeton
Managing Editor

Kacey Reynolds Schedler
Contributing Editor