What Can I Do With a Master’s in Project Management?

A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at AIU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.

If you’re wondering, “What can I do with a master’s in project management?” then you should know that a master of project management degree can be a versatile degree given that so many of today's industries are experiencing an increasing need for project-related professionals. The Project Management Institute (PMI) reports that a progressively more globalized economy has created additional need for project managers in industries that were previously less project oriented. Combined with the large number of current project management professionals who will soon reach retirement age, this shift signals an opportune moment for those hoping to enter the field.1

So what is the benefit of pursuing a master's degree, and what exactly can you do with a master's in project management? Is earning a master’s in project management right for you? Below we cover some courses and skill sets a master's program may entail as well as some of the industries in which project management professionals are currently needed—within these fields are a number of careers where a master’s in project management might help you on your professional journey.

How Do You Get a Master's Degree in Project Management?

The specific type of project management degree you're able to pursue will depend on each university's specific program. For example, some colleges may offer an MBA in project management while other institutions may offer project management degrees as Master of Science (MS) programs. In some cases, a Master of Business Administration program may offer concentrations or specializations like IT management IT management or operations management that include courses on project management specific to a particular industry.

As the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes, project managers often fall under a broader category of "unclassified managers" with specific job titles determined more by their field or industry.2 For this reason many of the skills included in project management programs such as a master’s in project management are designed to transfer to a number of different industries. Some courses you may encounter while pursuing a master's in project management include:

  • Project Management: Integration, Scope, Time and Communication
  • Project Planning, Execution and Closure
  • Quality Management and Continuous Improvement
  • Project Management: Cost, Quality, Risk and Procurement

Industries with Demand for Project Managers

If you’re still asking yourself, “But what can I actually do with a master’s in project management?” it turns out there are a number of fields showing increasing demand for project management professionals who can help guide businesses through major transitions, process and technology upgrades and other growth-related projects. Each of these fields offers a unique opportunity to plan and lead a variety of projects from start to finish.

While not all employers require a master's degree, below are the top fields for those looking to pursue a project management career according to the Project Management Institute's most recent Job Growth and Talent Gap Report.1 Note that these are just a few fields where a master’s in project management could help open up opportunities and not a complete listing.

Construction

TThe primary goal in construction-based project management is to help with the design and development of a project, find the proper contractors to carry out the work, and ensure that a project is completed on time and within the predetermined budget. Project managers in manufacturing may also be responsible for implementing new products or manufacturing processes.2

Expected growth: 9.7 million job openings from 2017 through 2027 across 11 analyzed countries, including the U.S.1 (The PMI reports that the majority of manufacturing-related job openings will come as a result of the current workforce retiring.)

Information Services and Publishing

Project managers working in information services and publishing may take on a number of different roles, often helping design and implement processes for updating technology or web-based applications. Responsibilities may include anything from working with desktop publishers and web platforms on how to best implement design changes to helping coordinate hardware and software updates with a company's IT department.3,4

Expected growth: 5.5 million job openings from 2017 through 2027 across 11 analyzed countries, including the U.S.1

Finance and Insurance

The finance and insurance fields are also expected to need additional project management professionals in the coming years, and within these fields are a number of careers where a master’s in project management might prove beneficial. As with many of the other industries on this list, project management careers in this field may differ depending on the specific organization and the types of products and services they offer. For examples, project managers in insurance may help implement new quoting or underwriting software, while those working for a financial management firm may oversee auditing and reporting processes for one or more clients.

Expected growth: 4.6 million job openings from 2017 through 2027 across 11 analyzed countries, including the U.S.1

Management and Professional Services

You may also choose to pursue project management careers in a variety of other management areas with a master’s in project management. For example, human resources and employee services departments may need help managing projects related to benefits administration or implementing a new payroll system.

Expected growth: 1.7 million job openings from 2017 through 2027 across 11 analyzed countries, including the U.S.1

Utilities, Oil and Gas

Utilities providers as well as oil and gas companies are also expected to need an increased number of project management professionals over the next decade according to the PMI. Those wondering "What can I do with a master's in project management?" may look into public utilities providers as well as private energy companies and even government agencies for opportunities.

Expected growth (for these combined fields): 328,000 job openings from 2017 through 2027 across 11 analyzed countries, including the U.S.1

Ready to learn more? Explore the Master of Project Management degree at AIU.

1. Project Management Institute, Project Management Job Growth and Talent Gap 2017–2027, on the Internet at https://www.pmi.org/-/media/pmi/documents/public/pdf/learning/job-growth-report.pdf?sc_lang_temp=en (visited on January 28, 2019). Conditions in your area may vary.
2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Construction Managers: What Construction Managers Do," on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/construction-managers.htm (visited January 28, 2019).
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Computer and Information Systems Managers: Summary," on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/computer-and-information-systems-managers.htm (visited January 28, 2019).
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, "Desktop Publishers: What Desktop Publishers Do," on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/office-and-administrative-support/desktop-publishers.htm#tab-2 (visited January 28, 2019).

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