Is a Masters Degree in Project Management Really Worth It?

Your career options are wide open with a master’s degree in project management. A global survey was recently conducted by the internationally-recognized Project Management Institute and it was revealed that “almost 90 percent of high-performing organizations say they value project management.” Over the next couple of years, there is an expected job growth rate for project managers of 12 percent. This equals out to be more than six million new jobs across the globe that will need to be filled by professionals who excel in project management.

It should be noted that in order to become a project manager, you don’t necessarily have to possess any type of degree. However, according to a well-known work management and collaboration platform, Wrike, many employers state “it is either very difficult or somewhat difficult to find senior-level talent.” This is why it is to your utmost advantage to acquire a degree in project management, most preferably, a master’s degree. In doing so, you will be recognized by employers as having the necessary skills it takes to complete complex projects. Your industry recognition can also be enhanced if you add project management professional (PMP) certification to your resume.

Understanding Your Master Degree Options

Once you decide to pursue a masters degree in project management, you will then need to decide which educational track you want to take. You have three basic options to choose from:

  • Master of business administration (MBA) w/a concentration in project management
  • Master of science in project management (MSPM)
  • Master of arts in project management (MAPM)

Another note-worthy statistic related to project management credentials is that 43 percent of those working in this field possess a bachelor’s degree. So, as you can see, earning your master’s will prove to be of immense value. According to JD McKenna, a successful project manager in the U.S., she believes that students who earn a master’s in project management graduate their programs much more employable than those who don’t possess a master credential.

As far as choosing which master’s program to pursue, a highly-competent project manager based out of Indonesia, Dr. Paul D. Giammalvo, says, “My recommendation falls someplace in the middle. I would recommend that you get a Master’s in Project Management [focused on] your field of expertise or interest.” A VP of Customer Care in the U.S., Mark Price Perry, says to go after a master of science in project management. He goes on to say that this credential is far more valued by employers and brings about a greater ROI.

With an MSPM, you learn project management practices and skills that can be used across all industries. When searching for jobs, this credential shows that you bring value to the table and it enables you to switch from one industry to another if you want to make a career change.

Knowing What to Expect

The exact coursework and topics covered in a master project management program will vary from one school to the next. Generally speaking, though, you will have to complete a large amount of coursework that requires extensive studying. Most programs will also mandate that you complete a capstone project. It is recommended when choosing a master program that you find one that provides optimal opportunity to earn certificates throughout the studies. More so, you should enroll in a program that provides prep courses for the PMP certificate.

Is It Really Worth It to Get a Masters in Project Management?

According to Payscale, the salaries accompanied with jobs you can get with a master’s in project management greatly vary from one occupation to another. Take for example that you become an IT project manager for a small company; this position will likely earn you about $56,000 a year. As a senior IT project manager for a large company, you can expect to make upward of $100,000 a year.

As a construction project manager with a master’s degree, you will make nearly $70,000 a year. If you use your master’s to become a project manager engineer, though, you will make about $90,000 a year. You can also use your degree to become a director of program manager; this occupation has an astonishing median annual salary of $147,382.

So, yes, earning a master’s in project management is most definitely worth the time and money that you will invest. Many master’s programs can be completed in 12 to 24 months, and most can be completed either online or on campus. If you are already a working professional, then an online program will provide exceptional convenience, allowing you to log in to your classes and complete homework according to a schedule that complements your lifestyle. To get the most out of your master’s degree in project management, create a 10-year career roadmap before you choose a degree program. Use this roadmap to determine which degree program can help you best achieve your 10-year goals.


"Management is, above all, a practice where art, science, and craft meet." ~ Henry Mintzberg