Business, Marketing, & Communication Careers Guide
There are many career options and specializations you can pursue after that business education. From business administration to finance to marketing and beyond, your choices are fairly limitless. Because of that, your decision may be difficult, but this guide will help you figure out your options. Bookmark local business schools for after your research.
Read the main article here: Business Administration
When we talk about business administration careers, we’re discussing a wide field of view that covers a variety of different management positions. One job may plan and lead, while another may organize and control. Most will focus on improving the day-to-day operations of a company, helping make it run efficiently—basically, business administrators are to business as what mechanics are to motors.
Find a business administration program now.
What Business Administrators Do
Because it’s up to the business administrator to create a hospitable, effective, and profitable work environment, there are some duties that you’ll need to do as part of your job:
- Create company policies and goals, and make sure they are being followed and met
- Handle the budget and expenses
- Innovate new technologies within your workplace
- Hold meetings with stakeholders and staff about operations
- Negotiate contracts and agreements for services
- Interview prospective employees and promote current staff
- Examine reports and stats to cut costs and track performance
To accomplish your workplace goals, you need to have some of the following qualities:
- You’re quick thinking, especially in high-powered situations.
- You can remain cool, calm, and collected during stressful times.
- You’re a smooth talker.
- You’re a natural-born leader.
- You solve problems with no problem.
- You can avoid communication breakdowns.
To start a career in business administration, you must:
- Start with either an associate or bachelor’s degree. With an associate degree, you can find entry-level position, which may prime you to climb the career ladder. However, a bachelor’s degree will open up more opportunities directly after graduation.
- Consider taking the next step by going for your Master of Business Administration (MBA). This should only take an additional one to two years. An MBA will help to propel your future in the business administration field.
- Pass a certification program before you are hired, if required. It’s always a good idea to get certifications anyway: Employers like that kind of motivation. An example of certifications a business administrator may be required to take include the Certified Manager credential (CM).
Online business administration programs are a popular choice.
Job Outlook and Salary
Business administrators earn a median salary of $94K. Keep in mind that when you’re just starting in your career, you could bring home over $52K, but once you’re headed toward the top of your game, you can see a yearly income of over $163K. Also, your salary will depend on where you work and what type of business administration position you’re in.
Business admin jobs are projected to grow ten percent through 2026. This higher than average rate is due to the fact that your position will remain an important and strong one throughout most industries. However, you’ll probably face a lot of competition in the job market, because business degrees are extremely popular.
Business management is similar to administration: Both are critical roles in a company. While most business admin degrees allow you to learn core subjects and then specialize, management programs broadly cover planning and organizing across many fields.
However, more often than not, either degree can be used for the same job opening. The size of the company and industry it is in will determine what your exact role will be. But regardless of the shape or size of where you work, you’re there to assist your company reach goals and objectives.
What Business Managers Do
The needs of your employing company will probably change frequently. And with each change comes new responsibilities. Even still, you can count on some of the following duties to remain consistent:
- Supervising a single department
- Directing overall operations
- Keeping statistics and analyzing data
- Making crucial business decisions
- Interviewing, extending offers to, and onboarding employees
- Watching budgets, setting financial goals, and making necessary adjustments
Expect to be constantly busy taking care of compliance issues, policies, and staff. Being a business manager is definitely hard work, but it’s equally rewarding, as well.
You must have a skill set that will enable you to perform functionally and effectively. Get exceptionally well-versed in areas like finance, accounting, tax and budgeting, purchasing, sales, marketing and public relations, data processing, mathematics, statistics and economics, and production. This means you’ll have some education to be completed:
- Education requirements will vary based on employer, but a high school diploma and associate degree in business management are usually the bottomline prerequisite.
- Small companies are more likely to hire bachelor’s graduates and allow them to work their way up.
- National firms may require a more advanced degree, such as an MBA, or extensive managerial experience.
- During your schooling, coursework will include principles of accounting, applied decision methods of business, finance for managers, and business ethics. The more schooling you have under your belt, the more opportunity you will have as a business manager.
Job Outlook and Salary
Business administration and business management both have similar salaries, with the median being over $94K. Once you’re climbed that career ladder and have your foot on the top rung, you’ll be making well over $163K. You’ll appreciate that six-figure salary, because you’ll remember starting out at $53K.
Employment growth is looking to be around ten percent, or an addition of over 28,000 jobs through 2026. Business managers are crucial members of the staff who help to maintain order and balance within the ranks.
So, you’re great with number crunching, and your problem-solving skills are to be commended. Good thing, because you’ll be using both of those when you’re a business analyst. Your M.O. is to help your business incorporate technology solutions while staying smart with money.
What Business Analysts Do
When it comes down to it, business analysts are more of a “behind the scenes” part of a well-organized company. You will be responsible for ensuring a business is operating in a cost-effective way; you’re the key holder to success. Here is an overview of what you can expect to do in your daily operations:
- Crunch numbers
- Figure out projects to undertake and explain the steps to the necessary people
- Help put new technical solutions to current problems in place
- Plan and monitor all business activity related to your assignments
- Create conceptual prototypes and master strategic business process modeling
- Use effective communication and problem-solving skills
- Analyze data with advanced strategies
If you want to become a business analyst, then you must have the proper educational background.
- Get your high school diploma or GED.
- You can get an associate degree, but it may only allow you to get your foot in the door.
- Most employers require a bachelor’s degree.
- International Institute of Business Analysis’ CBAP certification is usually required for hiring.
- Consider earning your master’s degree to advance in your company or elsewhere.
- Look into executive education programs for specialized training in the field.
Start perfecting your business knowledge now: Work on technical writing, leadership, and decision-making skills. These will help you from the first day on the job through the end of your career.
Job Outlook and Salary
There will be about 96,500 jobs opening up between now and 2026, which is a 12 percent increase. This faster than average growth is due to the demand for consulting: Companies are looking for ways to control their spending and increase efficiency. Most industries, specifically healthcare, will see an increase in demand for business analysts. Set yourself apart from your competition by being fluent in another language, having a graduate degree, having multiple certifications, and/or a very specialized area of expertise.
One of the main reasons business degrees are so attractive is due to the higher than average salary. Although most business majors start out with pay being over $47K, you’ll notice that your pay will increase relatively quickly to the median of more than $82K. Once you’ve got a few years of experience to add to your resume, you can demand an average salary of almost $152K per year!
The field of finance offers a broad and diverse range of career opportunities with managing money being the common denominator. It’s a great career track for you if you want to help both individuals and corporations succeed financially: You are trusted to make important decisions with other people's money. You keep up with all the economic developments in our country, as well as around the world. You have become knowledgeable and well-versed in tracking and predicting changes in the world’s economic climate and are able to use that to increase profits for your clients. Your super-solid money skills are the backbone of the operation, making it quite successful. Find a local finance degree program.
What Finance Majors Do
The sector you choose to work in, either personal or corporate, will determine your exact job description. However, many financial careers do have similarities, so no matter where you land, you can expect the following.
- Personal Finance: You’ll help a person or family create a financial plan to save for college, home, or any other large purchase. You will also help your client protect themselves from any unseen potential risk factors. Tax planning and retirement funding are part of your duties, as is estate planning.
- Corporate Finance: You help a corporate entity balance its risks and profitability. You study economic trends to help you to help the company. You’ll manage any portfolios and funds the company is invested in. You essentially aid in creating as much profit potential as the company can possibly reach.
Most careers in finance require, at the bare bones, a bachelor’s degree. These finance programs will give you a comprehensive understanding the craft, from management to technological expertise, and carry you across multiple types of industries.
- Graduate high school, where you took a bunch of math and business classes.
- Go and get your bachelor’s degree in finance. This will help you when it comes time to get a job in banking, financial planning, insurance, or real estate.
- Bachelor’s degrees are considered to be a stepping stone, so just assume you’ll be going on to get a master’s degree in finance, as well. However, you will be qualified for an entry-level position if you consider your formal education complete at this step.
- A graduate degree will give you a broader range of opportunities in the management and administrative levels of finance. This will take up to two additional years.
- Get certified. You have a few choices depending on where you want to work including becoming a Certified Financial Planner or Certified Financial Analyst, or getting certifications to work as a stockbroker and securities trader.
Job Outlook and Salary
The average starting salary for someone with a degree in finance is more than $51K per year. However, similar to business degrees, the more experience, the higher your paycheck will get. One of the draws to a degree in finance is that, after a decade of working in the career, you will earn well over the $150K mark.
As a financial manager, you make sure company finances are doing the best they can.
You may have a variety of different responsibilities and titles across assorted industries. You may be called treasurer, risk manager, insurance manager, or another related name. Your main focus is all about the money.
What You Do
You may be employed in the manufacturing, government, finance and insurance, or medical sectors. Regardless, here are some duties you’ll encounter throughout any field:
- Produce and review all financial reports
- Direct investment activities
- Develop strategies and plans for the long-term financial goals
- Monitor all the financials, from the minute details to the broad views
- Supervise other employees under your direction
- Help guide your company toward smart financial moves and fiscal responsibility
- Find opportunities to expand the company and its efforts
Financial managers must be curious and methodical, able to express ideas well, and keep their work material protected and in order.
A certain educational path is required, recommended, and expected if you’re planning a career as a financial manager. Here’s what you need to do:
- You’ll need a bachelor’s degree in finance, business administration, or accounting. While this is considered to be the bare minimum, most hiring managers won’t even look at you if you haven’t gone further.
- You’ll want to get a master’s degree in business administration, finance, accounting, or economics because of this.
- You should think about even more education: Voluntary certifications are highly recommended. You can look at becoming certified as a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), a Certified Treasury Professional (CTP), or a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), to name three good ones.
Certifications have their own set of requirements. To get a CFA, you must have a bachelor’s degree and four years of work-related experience. The CTP requires two years of work experience, plus a bachelor’s degree. And the CPA is different for each state.
Find a finance degree program.
Job Outlook and Salary
By deciding to become a financial manager, you are choosing a pretty lucrative career. Just starting out, you’ll find the average starting salary to run around $66K, but after around five years, you could be earning a median salary of $125K. It gets even cushier after you’ve put about ten years into the career: Your annual income could be more than $208K.
Huge employment growth is expected for financial managers, with more than 108,000 new jobs opening through 2026. But, reality is, actual growth will vary depending on the industry. The banking companies, which are the heaviest employers of financial managers, will see the greatest increase in employment opportunities. To really rise above the certain competition, schedule in-person interviews whenever possible. Also, if you have a master’s degree along with certifications, you’ll float to the top!
Loan officers evaluate, authorize, or recommend the approval of loan applications. You work for banks, mortgage companies, and credit unions and help people or businesses get funding.
What Loan Officers Do
There are several different kinds of loan officers: You can focus on consumer, mortgage, or commercial loans. While the size and purpose of the loans will vary among these specialties, your job duties remain pretty much the same:
- Call prospects to ask if they need to borrow money.
- Explain options and answer questions.
- Work with the applicants to get personal/business information, all necessary supporting documents, and signatures.
- Check to see their eligibility, then approve, deny, or modify the request for a loan.
Many employers who are hiring loan officers look for candidates with previous experience. You’ll need to establish yourself in the field by having a nice variety of employment settings listed on your resume, including customer service, banking, and sales. However, you need to start off first by:
- Getting your high school diploma.
- Get your bachelor’s degree in either business or finance.
- If you have a strong background in related work experience, you may be able to get on job based on that and omit getting a degree entirely. However, it’s always a good idea to get that education.
- There may also be a certain degree of on-the-job training, depending on where you work. It could last anywhere from a couple of weeks through a few months.
- If you’re a mortgage loan officer, you must have a mortgage loan originator license (MLO). There is a requirement of 20 hours in coursework, plus you need to pass the exam as well as a credit and background check.
- Your license must be renewed every single year and may have additional requirements.
- You should have excellent customer service and communication skills. You’re in a customer-facing career, and you must be able to deal one on one with your clients in a relatable way. Because you want them to keep coming back, as well as send their friends in your direction. Unless, of course, they are nightmare clients, and in that case, forget it!
Job Outlook and Salary
Although the median annual salary is more than $64K, when you’re just starting your career as a loan officer you will earn closer to $32K. However, don’t despair, because once you’ve been working around ten years, you have the potential to earn more than $135K! Not bad, eh?
Employment is projected to grow 11 percent through 2026. This translates to more than 36,500 openings. However, loan officers in banking and loans will not see such significant growth—rather, just three percent—which will cause loads of unhappiness, since the banks are the leading employers of loan officers. But with banks closing down branches, they take those jobs along with them.
Financial analysts, otherwise known as securities analysts or investment analysts, help businesses and individuals make good investment decisions. You’ll work in banks, pension funds, mutual funds, and other businesses evaluating the performance of stocks, bonds and other types of investments.
What Financial Analysts Do
You’ll be doing a bit more than analyzing when you’re a financial analyst. Since your sole purpose is to make money for other people and companies, you have a whole laundry list of duties that come along with your job.
- You make investment recommendations and create portfolios. You may end up managing multi-millions within that portfolio of yours.
- You check out and evaluate data, both new and old.
- You study trends.
- You make profit and loss calculations based on products.
- Determine a company’s value based on financial statements.
- Meet with stake and shareholders.
- Put together reports for the crew.
You must have excellent analytical skills to track the performance of stocks. You’ll collect the data in a spreadsheet that can be easily interpreted by a stockbroker or client. You really should have good decision-making skills to help individuals make sound investment choices for both short-term and long-term goals. It’s part of what you’re being paid for!
Typically, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree if you want to become a financial analyst. Here’s how you go about starting this exciting and lucrative career.
- Get your bachelor’s degree in something like business administration, finance, or even accounting. But, get that bachelor’s degree.
- Get a job in the area you want to specialize in: securities, investment banking, insurance, etc. Mostly, you’ll specialize in an industry, region, or product like pork bellies, or an app.
- Once you have some experience, you can become a portfolio manager and select the mix of investments from a company’s portfolio or manage individual investors.
- A master’s degree in finance or business administration can improve your chances of advancing to a higher-level position.
- For some companies, your experience may be more advantageous than formal education.
- Institutions typically promote employees with an excellent track record with the organization.
- With a bachelor’s degree and four years of experience, you can sit for the Chartered Financial Analyst certification, which is a globally recognized certificate in investment performance measurement (CIPM).
- You need to study for and pass two examinations to earn the designation of CIPM. Students must also meet the ethical and professional requirements of the program.
Job Outlook and Salary
Typically, a financial analyst will bring home a median salary of $83K per year. Not bad, but once you put in around ten really outstandingly represented years, you may earn upwards of $165K or more. It depends on how large of a portfolio you’re handling. Your fee is basically a percentage of the portfolio.
Competition will be fierce, despite the fact employment growth is projected to be faster than average. There will be approximately 32,100 jobs that will be available through 2026. However, to beat out the competition, your certifications and a graduate degree will get you far.
Personal Financial Advisor
As a personal financial advisor, you get to help others manage their money wisely. You’ll figure out what their financial needs are and help them make decisions on investments, taxes, and insurance. Some advisors in your industry offer advice across the financial board, while others may specialize in areas such as risk management or retirement.
What Personal Financial Advisors Do
Your clients may come to you for different areas of financial advice. Whether they are want to start saving for their retirement or put their three kids through college, you have some sound words of wisdom in how they should go about doing just that. Some of your other job duties, besides sitting in meetings with your clients, will include:
- Providing education about investing and the risks associated with it
- Guiding clients toward smart investments
- Creating plans specific to your clients’ financial needs
- Keeping an eye on your clients’ accounts, and adjust as needed or requested
- Researching constantly on investment potentials
Unfortunately, you can’t just roll out of bed one morning and decide you’re a personal financial advisor. There are some moves you have to make first before you can have that title bestowed upon you.
- Get your high school diploma.
- Receive a bachelor’s degree. There isn’t a specific major you must have; however, getting a degree in finance or another related field can prove to be quite helpful.
- Once you’ve gotten hired, you’ll go through some form of on-the-job training. Generally, this phase only lasts around one year or less.
- If you’re going to be doing anything in the stock, bonds, securities, or trades market, then there is a whole series of licensing you’ll need to get.
- Depending on how much money you’re managing, you will have to be registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. For sure, you have to register with your state regulators.
- After you’ve gotten your bachelor’s degree and have worked for three years, there are some certifications out there you should consider. These will also help when trying to build up your client list. They are completely voluntary but held in very high regard.
One thing to keep in mind is that some employers will prefer you to have a Master of Science in Finance, or an MBA, particularly if you have dreams of advancing to a managerial position. A master’s degree may also give you more street cred with clients. It seems that the more framed degrees you have on the wall behind your chair, the more impressive you’ll be.
Job Outlook and Salary
Personal financial advisors earn a pretty hefty salary. The median wage, which is just the middle mark of all salaries, is more than $90K. Once you’ve been doing the job for a few years and have built up a sturdy list of clients, you can potentially earn well over $200K.
This career is positioned to grow 14 percent through 2026. It’s faster than the average for all careers. This is because the aging population mixed with longer lifespans appears to be driving people to think long and hard about their retirement and having a decent income once that comes about.
We are in the throes of the Digital Age, which means marketing managers are in even higher demand. If you are highly driven and considered pretty creative, then you may want to seriously consider joining this specialized field where you create lasting connections between a business and its paying customers.
What Marketing Managers Do
You, the marketing manager, will be the face behind the brand and cultivate loyal customers for the business. In order to do your job, there is a long list of duties that you’ll be heading up. Depending on the size of your company, you may be in complete charge of the marketing efforts—or just a small segment of them:
- To have a complete understanding of what your company’s customers really want, you will need to do in-depth research on the market.
- Once you have finished your market study, you’ll create a marketing plan. This will give a clear path on how you’re going to reach your target market.
- You’re also the one to nurture those client relationships, and you have to share with other employees on the account how to keep the client happy.
- You’re the marketing manager, so you also manage employees under you. You assign them duties and monitor their progress.
- Another important part of your job is to identify other business opportunities for the products and businesses you’re working on and for.
- You’ll negotiate contracts and media costs.
- You will have loads of client meetings to take.
- The job may require some travel.
To enter the world of marketing, an associate degree in marketing is a minimum requirement. By getting your associate degree, you will land an entry-level job, such as a marketing office assistant or media assistant. If you choose to further your education, it should go a little something like this:
- Get a bachelor’s degree in marketing, advertising, business administration, or any other related field.
- Doing an internship is always highly recommended.
- There are some certifications out there that are strictly on a voluntary basis. However, they do give you a certain level of respectability to employers.
- You can find certifications through associations such as Sales and Marketing Executives International (SMEI).
- Get a job. Yes, really. You need to start building that work experience for your resume.
- At this point, you should seriously consider joining a trade organization. Look into memberships with American Marketing Association, SMEI, and the Association of International Product Marketing and Management. Joining associations is a great way to network and expand your marketing manager horizons.
- Consider going back to school for a master’s degree. Having an advanced degree makes you eligible for higher level jobs.
Find a marketing degree program now.
Job Outlook and Salary
You have a demanding yet rewarding career. And one of the rewards is a great salary. Your median annual wage as a marketing manager is more than $106K. Even your entry-level salary isn’t anything to turn up your nose at, it’s over $48K! After about 10 years of dedication to your craft, you may be seeing a yearly income as high as $208K.
The job outlook for marketing managers is just a bit faster than the average for other occupations. Around 21,800 jobs will open up through 2026. That’s about a 9 percent growth rate for the better half of the next decade. The Internet has opened up all types of competition, driving the need for highly creative and qualified marketing managers.
Human Resources (HR)
Main Article: Human Resources
What Is Human Resources
The main goal of anyone in the human resources profession is to be that bridge that connects the employees to the company management. You will develop and maintain the company culture, and you are part of the hiring process including onboarding. Additionally, you maintain company payroll and all the benefits, and you also are the mediator during any type of conflict. Regardless of which type of human resource role you choose, you will be a vital part of the company’s success.
On a whole, there are a couple different career options with the human resource profession; you’ll either become a generalist or specialist. Read on to find out more about careers in the HR profession. Find a local HR Degree program.
When it comes to employee relations, the human resource specialist is on duty. You know what the employees want and need in your company, and you are willing to do what it takes, within reason, to make sure happiness abounds.
What Human Resources Specialists Do
You’re a busy little bee when you are the human resource specialist. Here’s a sample of things you’ll do all day:
- Find potential new employees, check into their backgrounds to make sure they are a company fit, conduct interviews, and hire them.
- Work on employee relations.
- Onboard new hires and help train them.
- Observe the current employees and find out about overall job satisfaction.
- Use employee feedback in order to make the company a more effective workspace.
- Help create company guidelines, policies, and procedures.
- Complete exit interviews with employees who are moving on from the company.
- Help to facilitate career growth and development.
- Have file cabinets filled with employee paperwork and files.
- Be the point of contact for all things related to employee benefits and payroll, and the answerer of all questions.
Most employers will prefer an HR specialist to have a bachelor’s degree, minimally. However, sometimes a random candidate with a high school diploma may qualify for some interviewing and recruiting positions. Still, it can be a lot easier to get hired when you’ve completed further education.
- A bachelor’s degree in human resources, business, psychology, or any related field is required if you want to be easily employable.
- Get involved with an internship. You gain some hands-on experience, which can make getting your first job a little easier.
- Certification may be considered voluntary, but don’t kid yourself. Many employers will prefer, as well as require it.
- Society for Human Resource Management offers two certified professional certifications.
- The HR Certification Institute offers a few different levels of certifications.
You increase your chances of career advancement with the more certifications you possess. Find a HR program.
As a human resource specialist, you should have strong decision-making skills and be a good communicator. Your work will also require analytical skills, a fresh perspective, and business knowledge.
Find an HR degree program now.
Job Outlook and Salary
You do a commendable job in your HR career! You work hard and bring home a median salary of $60K. This is way up from your entry-level pay of almost $35K. But just wait until you’ve been in your career for around ten years—your salary is sitting pretty sweet, hitting over the $103K mark.
There is average job growth expected for this profession. An opening of 38,700 jobs will be opening through 2026, so competition might be a little on the high side. Your best bet is to be certified, along with a bachelor’s degree. If you have a graduate degree, then even better.
Not to inflate your ego but you are the backbone of the company. If the employees are happy and effective, then you’re probably doing your job perfectly. Yes, it’s you, the human resource manager, that is responsible for creating a hospitable work environment through many of your daily duties.
What Human Resource Managers Do
As the said backbone of your company, you are potentially responsible for a variety of duties. What your actual day to day looks like will be determined by the type of company you’re employed with. Generally speaking though, you will:
- Find the best and most effective use for each employee based on his or her strong points.
- Be the pulse connecting employees to the management.
- Take care of the benefits.
- Be the go-to and mediator for workplace issues such as sexual harassment and employee disputes.
- Take charge of the recruiting, hiring, and onboarding of new employees.
- Stay up to date on laws and regulations regarding employee rights.
- If there is more than one office, you may have to do some traveling.
If you that that you’re definitely wanting to spend your life as an HR Manager then you need to know a few things about how to get there:
- Get a bachelor’s degree in business administration, human resources, education, information technology, or any other related field. But, get that bachelor’s degree.
- If your program doesn’t include an internship, get one on your own. You’ll need this experience.
- Once you graduate, you’ll need to get an entry-level HR position. Yeah, that’s how this works.
- After you have five years of work experience, you can apply for a manager position.
- Consider getting certifications. Sure, they’re voluntary, but they look really good on your resume. Hiring personnel like them. The HR Certification Institute and the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans are two professional associations that offer a variety of certification programs..
Human resource managers must have excellent communication and interpersonal relations skills. You’ll also have to demonstrate an ability to organize, manage, and lead others.
Find an HR degree program now.
Job Outlook and Salary
You do a lot for the company; you really do. It’s only right that the median salary you’ll be bringing home is more than $110K. Your entry-level salary is more along the lines of $65K. However, you’ll be reaping the rewards of your dedication once you’ve spent about 10 years keeping that company in line when your salary hits an average of $197K.
Average job growth is expected for human resource manager careers. That’s okay though, there will still be 12,200 openings through 2026. Sure, competition may be stiff, but with your degrees and certifications, you’ve risen above the others applying for the same job. And if you have a master’s degree, nothing can stop you!
Project Management (PMP)
Once you have that project management certification, you will be extremely qualified to take on your duties of organizing, planning, and overseeing projects. There are numerous fields you can work within, but they will be dependent on your education and work background.
What Is Project Management
Up until quite recently, project management was something you would just happen to do. There weren’t any educational requirements or any true form of training involved. It just, well, happened. These days, it’s more of a formalized process with training and certifications involved. Project management, as defined by one of the leading organizations in the industry, Project Management Institute, states that it is the “application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to a broad range of activities in order to meet the requirements of a particular project.”
If you enjoy planning, coordinating and directing activities, a career in project management may be for you. Project managers are needed across various industries such as banking, construction, and manufacturing.
These days, you will be able to find courses in project management quite easily. There are a number of colleges, universities, and business schools, as well as individual project management courses available.
You’ll take classes such as:
- Project planning
- Risk management
- Team dynamics
- Time management
The classes are structured to train you to foresee any potential problems, assemble a productive team, and get the proper goods and services necessary to successfully complete your project.
Most project managers come in already holding a bachelor’s degree and just happen to decide they want to become a project manager. So once you have a degree, here are further steps you’ll need to take:
- Decide which project management certification you want. A popular one is Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Project Management Professional (PMP).
- Become a member of PMI.
- Schedule your exam. This isn’t an easy test.
- Study hard for that exam. There are classes you can sign up for, or you can buy study materials online and do it yourself. However, it has been proven that people who take the classes do better on the exam.
- Pass the exam and become a certified project manager. High five!
If you’re looking to further your career even more, you can get a master’s degree in project management.
Job Outlook and Salary
Salary.com places the median annual income for certified project managers at just under $130K after five years of experience on the job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report the position as a career, it’s more considered an extension of a career. Software and networking are the industries employing most of the project managers, with healthcare coming in second.
Program managers are fairly similar in their daily tasks as the project manager. The major difference is, program managers may stay overseeing a program for months or years, and they may also manage more than one program.
What Program Managers Do
You will be responsible for establishing and implementing objectives for business or technical endeavors, and you will ensure that all work is being completed on time and done right. Some of your daily duties will look like these:
- Communicating with the various teams involved in the endeavors you are putting in place.
- Provide higher management with feedback on the progress of a specific program.
- Act as the ticking clock for a deadline and the voice for the program.
- Monitor the progression of projects and make changes where things are lacking.
Your type can be found in all industries including environmental science, engineering, and the government.
You should have excellent written and oral communication skills. You must have the ability to lead, but you also have to function as a member of the team. Attention to detail and organizational skills, the ability to multi-task, and working well under pressure are also good skills to have.
There are program management certificate programs available. However, admission into these courses usually requires an undergraduate degree.
- After you get your bachelor’s degree, start looking into program management certifications.
- Check out the Project Management Institute; this is where the Program Management Professional (PgMP) certification exam is offered through.
- The certification requires you to have a degree and 10,500 hours of program management experience.
- Experienced project managers may also be eligible for this certification.
Many certificate programs also allow students to choose electives focused in an area of interest relevant to their particular industry.
Job Outlook and Salary
As a program manager, you can expect a median annual salary of $129K, according to salary.com. Bonuses for implemented programs or jobs well done may bring your yearly income up to $148K. However, where you live, the company you work at, your certifications, and level of experience could mean a different number.
Online Business Programs
Business, Finance, and Human Resource Degrees Online
Enrolling in an online business degree program is super en vogue these days. In fact, online business degree programs enroll more students than any other program available. An online school of any type just makes it that much more convenient to start or finish up your degree. It also saves some money since tuition is less, you save on gas since there’s no commuting, you can live at home, and you don’t have to quit your job.
Because online school is becoming so incredibly popular, more and more colleges and universities are offering different degrees with the same curriculum as their physical schools.
You definitely need to pay attention to the accreditation of the degree program. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) are the primary accrediting bodies for business programs and schools. These associations help to ensure a program’s ability to provide a valuable education. If your degree isn’t from an accredited program, it makes it more difficult to get certifications.
Project Management Degree Online
As you know, the benefits outweigh the negatives when it comes to doing online courses. In project management, it’s no different. You can get a certificate, bachelor’s, or master’s while going to school 100 percent online. However, some programs feature blended instruction and require students to meet with instructors and peers on campus regularly. Most programs are conducted using email and discussion boards.
Similar to every other online degree, make sure you’re program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).