Do you require a degree in project management?
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Someone recently contacted me to inquire about how to become project manager. I thought I’d share what I said with her to make it clear for anyone else who might find it useful. She wrote:
I was told that you need to get a degree in a specific subject, e.g. engineering, do project management training e.g. You can work your way up to become a project manager by taking PMI(r), PRINCE2 (r), etc. Is this true? To build your experience, I was advised to get a degree in project management.
Do you need a degree or certificate in project management to be a project manager? It all depends on your career goals.
“Do I need a degree for project management?”
First, I want to say that you don’t need a degree in any particular subject to be a project manager. Both my degrees are in English Literature. I also work in the healthcare sector as an IT project manager.
I believe that having a degree in any field is beneficial to securing a job. Project managers are expected to influence and lead. Employers want to see proof of that ability and can use a degree to help them do that.
There are increasing numbers of degrees that offer project management as a main subject, or as a module, or sub-specialty. A work-relevant degree is a great way to improve your career prospects if you are certain that project management is your career choice.
Next: What are the possibilities for a project management degree?
I don’t think you need a degree if you are interested in project management later in your career.
To be a project manager, you will need a project management certification like PMP(r), CAPM (r) or PRINCE2(2)(r). You can easily take an online certification program.
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Try it NowWe earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase, at no additional cost to you #ad Having said that, this might be different if you want to work in a non-office/non-generalist field such as architecture or civil engineering. Even though project management is a transferable skill, I would not know where to begin building shopping centers or roads if I didn’t have the experience I have.
Employers value work experience more than a degree. A degree in project management will show that you have the technical skills and soft skills but will not guarantee you a job.
What I would do is: Get a degree in something I like and can find work in, then add project management as an area of specialization through targeted work experience and certificates. That’s what I did.
Types of degrees
A degree can be a valuable backup in case you decide to change your mind about working in project management. Many undergraduate degrees in related fields like engineering, construction, and the built environment, as well as digital and business management, will offer electives in management.
These degrees can offer work experience, general business knowledge, as well as project management theory. This includes the knowledge areas and technical skills required to be a great project leader. A university-level project management course should cover interpersonal and fusion skills, as well as leadership, communication, and teamwork.
There are many Masters-level programs and courses available for project management professionals who want to pursue a degree in the future.
There are also MBA programs that offer options for project management or the chance to manage projects.