Online Project Management Degrees

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If you have no problem taking charge and getting a job done “on time and under budget,” you may want to look for project management courses online.

Online Project Management Degrees

Project management is an in-demand, lucrative position with a ton of growth potential!

Who studies project management courses online?

Individuals who study project management are, above all, leaders. They are very comfortable taking charge and overseeing people and projects.

They must also:

  • Work well under pressure
  • Be problem solvers
  • Manage people effectively
  • Communicate well
  • Excel in math and STEM fields
  • Adapt well to change / Be flexible

Project managers play a vital role in all types of companies, from healthcare to construction, finance to transportation, and nearly every other major industry. These professionals oversee the complete life cycle of projects large and small –initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and closing. They ensure that all work is being completed correctly and in a timely manner, and report the progress to upper management.

How do I become a project manager?

A project manager discussing new plan with the team

To become a project manager, you will need a postsecondary degree and/or certification. Project management degrees are available at the bachelor’s, masters and doctoral levels. For those already in the field, there are project management classes online as well as certification opportunities.

To get started, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree. Some companies prefer candidates have a bachelor’s of project management, having completed courses in areas like leadership, management, planning, financial management, and risk control. Other companies will accept candidates with a bachelor’s in business or an area related to the industry. For example, for a project management position in the environmental sector, a bachelor’s in earth science may be acceptable.

In today’s competitive job market, many employers are looking for candidates with a more advanced degree.

At the master’s level, you can expect coursework to focus on management theory and ethics, business negotiation, enterprise modeling, and risk management systems. You may consider either a Masters in Project Management (MS or MA) or an MBA in Project Management. Here’s a brief overview of the three options:

  • Master of Science in Project Management (MS) – May require some professional experience. Education is focused directly on project management, and can be applied to any industry. Research projects allow students to select a particular field of interest.
  • Master of Arts in Project Management (MA) – May require some professional experience. Very similar to a MS in Project Management, but more appropriate for those working in the humanities field or who earned a BA as their undergraduate degree.
  • MBA in Project Management – May not require professional experience. Less specialized degree program, so that graduates aren’t limited to only positions as project managers but may also pursue other business or entrepreneurial opportunities.

At the doctorate level, the highest educational level available, students will further hone their research and writing skills and focus on management and leadership theories.

For those already working in the field, with educational backgrounds at any level, there are a number of certification opportunities. Certifications are available through the Project Management Institute, International Association of Project Managers, the A/E/C Project Management Association, and the American Academy of Project Management. These certifications can set you apart from other experienced professionals, proving your dedication and expertise.

Can I study project management courses online?

Woman taking project management online

Yes! Whether you’re looking for individual project management courses online, or want to pursue a formal certification or degree, you can find it all online! Look for accredited, reputable online programs.

If you’re hoping to earn your degree or certification quickly, you can opt for an accelerated program with eight or ten-week courses. Or you can move at your own pace, and fit your project management courses online around your existing career or family commitments.

Whatever path you choose, you can feel confident that an online degree or certification will be just as respected as one earned on campus!

Is a degree in project management worth it?

Today’s job market is highly competitive, and the project management profession is no exception. A bachelor’s degree in project management may get your foot in the door, but you will likely need a more advanced degree  (such as a master’s or MBA) or a certification (such as a PMP) to advance in the field. Which degree or certification you pursue will depend on where you are at in your career as well as your long-term goals.

What is the difference between a PMP and a Masters or MBA Degree?

A project manager showing business plan to the team

A PMP, masters and MBA are all great options, covering similar advanced concepts in business and project management. But they’re geared for different individuals with different goals in mind.

The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, available through the Project Management Institute, is the most popular and widely-recognized project management certification. It is designed for working project managers who already have quite a bit of experience. In order to take the 200-question exam, candidates must meet the following requirements:

  • Those with an associate’s degree or less must have 7500 hours of practical experience and 35 hours of project management education.
  • Those with a bachelor’s degree or higher must have 4500 hours of practical experience and 35 hours of project management education.

To maintain the certification, professionals must complete additional professional development every three years.

Earning a PMP can help project managers demonstrate their expertise and stand out from other job applicants. The certification proves they have received specialized training, combining technical know-how and managerial skills. This is an excellent option for a seasoned project manager who intends to stay in this position for years to come.

A masters or MBA program, on the other hand, may be a better option for a less experienced project manager and/or someone who wants to keep the door open to other professional opportunities.

A masters in project management will require less experience, and will provide a more in-depth education covering theory and ethics and other important business skills relevant to project management.

An MBA in project management will provide a more business-focused education, allowing a person room to grow in a multitude of business positions – not just as a project manager.

A masters or MBA would be much more versatile than a PMP certification, and would likely provide more opportunities for advancement or growth long-term.

Team members and project manager discussing new ideas

How much can I earn as a Project Manager?

The amount you earn in this profession is greatly influenced by your level of education, work experience, industry and geographic location. In 2020 full-time project managers in the US reported median annual earnings of $100,000, according to a survey by the Project Management Institute.

Not only are the positions well paid, but they’re also in high demand. Through 2029, the project management-oriented labor force in seven project-oriented sectors is expected to grow by 8%, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Get your certifications or degrees for project management courses online:

Bachelors in Project Management – A Bachelor’s in Project Management will get your foot in the door, providing an excellent foundation for an entry-level position or continued education.

MBA in Project Management – While pursuing an MBA in Project Management, you will learn about planning, resource allocation, time management, technical abilities, negotiation and conflict resolution – valuable skills that will transfer into any industry!

Doctorate in Project Management – To pursue this prestigious degree, you will need to have your master’s degree in project management or a relevant field. Coursework will focus on strategic management and developing superior research and writing skills.

Ready to start your journey?
Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.