Earning a Master's in Project Management Online

What You’ll Learn & What You Can Do After Graduation

Should I Pursue a Master's in Project Management Online?

A master's in project management online prepares students for a career in project management or general business management. Project managers work in nearly every industry and manage projects that vary in scope and budget. Successful project managers are detail-oriented problem solvers with excellent communication skills. Employers value project managers and often compensate them well.

Pursuing a master's in project management online rather than on campus offers the flexibility to continue working while in school. This guide covers important information, including career potential and program information, for prospective students considering a master's in project management online.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Project Management Graduates

Master's in Project Management Salary

According to a Project Management Institute 2017 salary survey, project managers in the U.S. earn median salaries of $112,000. Average reported earnings for project managers with 5 to 10 years of experience range from $75,000 to over $90,000, but salaries vary significantly by industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not list "project manager" as an occupational category, but management positions in any industry offer comparable salary estimates. Computer and information systems managers, such as IT project managers, command median salaries of $139,220 while human resources managers earn $123,510 annually.

Top Paying States for Human Resource Managers

State Employment Annual Mean Wage
New Jersey 3,740 $162,540
Rhode Island 310 $156,790
District of Columbia 1,540 $155,790
New York 10,290 $144,310
California 17,160 $139,860
United States 136,310 $123,510

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Pay by Experience Level for Project Managers

  • Entry-Level (0-5 Years):
    $60,000

  • Mid-Career (5-10 Years):
    $75,000

  • Experienced (10-20 Years):
    $85,000

  • Late-Career (20+ Years):
    $91,000

Source: PayScale

Master's in Project Management Careers

Project managers help complete projects of all sizes. They work in teams and solve problems to complete projects on schedule and on budget. Many project managers are liaisons between a client and the company or organization completing the project, so they need excellent communication and organizational skills.

Human Resources Managers

Annual Median Salary: $110,120

Projected Growth Rate: 9%

These managers are responsible for hiring and training employees to meet a company's objectives. This position typically requires a master's degree and relevant experience. Professionals who enjoy solving problems and encouraging employees make excellent human resources managers.

Top Executives

Annual Median Salary: $104,700

Projected Growth Rate: 8%

Project management experience can help advance individuals to senior management positions. Top executives oversee the strategies and operations of a company. While a bachelor's degree remains the minimum educational requirement for this position, a graduate degree offers a competitive advantage to job seekers.

Project Managers

Annual Median Salary: $72,298

Projected Growth Rate: N/A

A master's in project management online provides the training to become a project manager. Project managers oversee projects in any industry, leading teams to deliver projects according to client or internal specifications. Project managers must solve problems and report to stakeholders, clients, and managers as needed.

Operations Managers

Annual Median Salary: $63,557

Projected Growth Rate: N/A

These managers direct the operations of a company's production, which can include purchasing, manufacturing, packaging, or shipping. They often oversee budgets and ensure that operations meet safety regulations. Project managers typically interact with operations managers, so a background in project management provides a stepping stone to this career.

Directors of Operations

Annual Median Salary: $89,058

Projected Growth Rate: N/A

These senior-level managers ensure that employees receive the training and resources needed to meet the goals, budgets, and operating procedures of their companies. Negotiation, communication, and business skills are beneficial to this position.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statstics / PayScale

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Project Management Program?

Courses in an online master's in project management program vary by school; however, most programs include courses on management, team development, scheduling, risk assessment, and reporting. The following courses are commonly found in master's in project management programs.

Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Project Management

Scope and Schedule

Students learn the fundamentals of project planning. Course topics include scope estimations, project schedules, budget creation, and change management. This course prepares prospective project managers to map out deliverables and create project management documents.

Team Development

This course emphasizes the interpersonal skills that are essential to team management. Students learn how to assign project roles and responsibilities, manage expectations, facilitate interactions, and close projects. This course prepares project managers to resolve conflicts and lead productive teams.

Risk Management

This course explores risk management processes, including how to develop risk management plans, perform risk analysis, and monitor risks. Students learn how to prepare for, identify, and respond to risks so that they can implement effective risk management plans.

Cost Management

Students learn how to track a project's budget adherence by exploring cost accounting, analysis, reporting, and control. Students also learn how to create cost control accounts, interpret data, and assess changes. This course prepares project managers to manage and report on project performance.

Agile Project Management

This course introduces students to one of the most popular project management methodologies. Agile emphasizes the development of effective, self-directed teams. Students learn how to employ Agile roles, terms, tools, and strategies for project management.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Project Management Prepares For

  • Project Management Professional: Experienced project managers can demonstrate their expertise by applying for this globally recognized credential from the Project Management Institute (PMI). Applicants must document 4,500 hours of leading projects, 35 hours of project management coursework, and pass a certification exam.
  • Certified Associate in Project Management: PMI's CAPM credential helps project managers and other relevant professionals demonstrate their expertise and readiness for taking on larger projects. This certification requires 23 hours of project management education and an exam.