The demand for professionals able to manage complex projects has increased. That's reflected in the lucrative pay for project management professionals. According to Payscale, the median salary for a project manager is $71,259. Graduates can earn a six-figure salary as they accrue experience. In this guide, you'll find information related to salaries, careers, and what considerations you should keep in mind as you explore project management programs.
What are the best project management programs of 2020? Here are our top 10:
|1||Colorado State University Global Campus||Greenwood Village, CO|
|2||Bellevue University||Bellevue, NE|
|3||Minnesota State University Moorhead||Moorhead, MN|
|4||Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University||Daytona Beach, FL|
|5||Regis University||Denver, CO|
|6||Charleston Southern University||Charleston, SC|
|7||Liberty University||Lynchburg, VA|
|8||Saint Louis University||Saint Louis, MO|
|9||Malone University||Canton, OH|
|10||Saint Leo University||Saint Leo, FL|
Choosing a Program
In a typical project management degree online program, students will learn how to manage time, people, and resources effectively to help departments and organizations run efficiently. Many programs contain core courses that cover common business topics like leadership, principles of management, marketing, and accounting. Some online project management degree programs allow learners to choose a concentration, which often focus on a specific industry. Concentrations often include topic areas like healthcare management, information technology management, and computer networking.
Some programs do not offer specializations, choosing instead to provide a broad overview of project management and how it can be applied in different fields. Project management online degree bachelor programs also differ in whether they allow or encourage students to minor or double major in related business subjects, like accounting or international business.
Accredited Online Programs in Project Management
Colorado State University Global Campus
|Greenwood Village, CO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
Based in Greenwood Village, CSU-Global was the first nonprofit, statutorily defined online university in the nation. The school offers an online bachelor's in project management with the following concentration options:
Students complete a capstone project and can undertake an optional practicum to gain hands-on experience. Core classes include applying leadership principles, effective project scheduling and control, project procurement and contract management, and project quality management.
The university charges the same tuition rate for in-state and out-of-state online students. CSU-Global holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
|Bellevue, NE||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 54%||
Located in eastern Nebraska, BU enrolls around 9,000 students. The college offers more than 75 online degree programs, and its faculty are specifically trained to provide distance learning. The school offers a 127-credit bachelor's degree in project management. This program can be completed online and follows a cohort format. Core courses of this program include:
Applicants must hold an associate degree or at least 60 credits earned with a minimum "C-" from an accredited institution. Around 88% of the school's 2019 graduates applied transfer credit toward their bachelor's degrees. BU charges the same tuition rate for in-state and out-of-state students.
BU holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. Its bachelor's in project management program is accredited by the Project Management Institute Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs.
Minnesota State University Moorhead
|Moorhead, MN||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 49%||
MSU Moorhead enrolls over 5,000 students and offers more than 80 majors. The school's online bachelor's in project management requires around 120 credits and features the following core classes:
Students complete a capstone project and an internship or consulting practicum through MSU Moorhead's Center for Innovative Business Solutions. MSU Moorhead boasts that 100% of recent project management graduates have found a job.
MSU Moorhead holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. Its bachelor's in project management program is accredited by the Project Management Institute Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
|Daytona Beach, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 19%||
ERAU features over 130,000 alumni globally. Based in Daytona, Florida, the college reports that 94% of its graduates earn employment or enroll in continuing education within one year of graduation. ERAU's online bachelor's degree in project management includes 120 credits of classes and requires a capstone project. Core courses include:
The university allows students to transfer credit in from other institutions, but students must complete at least 30 credits at ERAU. Faculty for this program holds project management certification from the Project Management Institute.
In-state and out-of-state students pay the same tuition rate. ERAU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|Denver, CO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 69%||
Regis University enrolls over 10,000 students annually. Located in Denver, Colorado, the school reports that 97% of its graduates find employment or enroll in continuing education.
Students at Regis can earn an online bachelor of science in business with a project management specialization. Students take 61 credits of business core and nine credits in the project management specialization. They also complete a capstone project. This online bachelor's in project management includes courses in:
Applicants to this program need a high school diploma, transferable credit from a regionally accredited institution, and prior work experience. Out-of-state and in-state students pay the same tuition rate. Regis is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Charleston Southern University
|Charleston, SC||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 42%||
Located in South Carolina, CSU enrolls around 3,400 students. The school offers a 125-credit bachelor's degree in project management that can be completed online. This program uses an accelerated, seven-week format with flexible scheduling for working students. Some core courses include:
Graduates of this program can find work as IT project managers, project controllers, web project managers, and contract project managers.
The university charges in-state and out-of-state students the same rate. Military students can receive up to 30 credits based on their experience. About 97% of the school's students receive financial aid. CSU holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|Lynchburg, VA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 50%||
Based in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University is an evangelical Christian school that enrolls around 100,000 students. The university hosts over 800 programs, around 450 of which are available online. One such distance offering is the school's BSBA in project management, which takes about 3.5 years to complete. Students enrolled in the online bachelor's in project management program take the following classes:
Students can transfer up to 75% of their credit requirements into this program. Out-of-state students pay the same rates as in-state learners.
Liberty holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Its project management program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
Saint Louis University
|Saint Louis, MO||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 77%||
Based in Missouri, SLU enrolls over 12,000 students. The university reports that about 55% of graduating seniors directly enter the workforce, while about 35% enter graduate programs.
The school offers an online bachelor's degree in project management that uses eight-week terms and offers six start dates throughout the year. The program features a capstone project, and participants must maintain a cumulative 2.0 GPA. Some core courses include:
Applicants need at least three years of work experience and a high school or GED diploma. All online students pay the same tuition, regardless of residency. SLU holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
|Canton, OH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 57%||
Located in Canton, Ohio, Malone offers eight fully online degree programs and a 12-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. The school's online bachelor's in organizational management includes 124 credits and features core courses in:
This bachelor's in project management requires a capstone project. Applicants also need at least 40 transferable credits from a regionally accredited institution and a 2.0 minimum cumulative GPA. Students should also have at least five years of previous work experience. In-state and out-of-state students pay the same tuition rate.
Malone holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. Its bachelor's in organizational management program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
Saint Leo University
|Saint Leo, FL||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 51%||
Located in Florida, Saint Leo enrolls nearly 13,000 students and was founded as the state's first Catholic university. The university oversees an online bachelor's in business administration program that offers a project management specialization. The curriculum includes the following courses:
This program encourages — but does not require — students to complete an internship. The university charges the same tuition rate for in-state and out-of-state students.
Saint Leo holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The bachelor's in business administration program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.
What Else can I Expect from an Online Bachelor's in Project Management Program?
For students seeking a project management bachelor degree online, understanding program details is crucial for choosing the right program and determining whether project management is the right field of study. Keep in mind that details concerning curriculum and program length will vary from school to school.
CURRICULUM FOR AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Your project management online degree will cover a wide range of business topics and issues related to project management. While courses will vary, you can view a sample curriculum below.
- Project Scheduling and Control: Students will learn techniques and best practices for scheduling major projects with many moving parts. The course may cover how to monitor project progress, common scheduling tools, and how to identify and recommend actions if a project starts to veer from its course.
- Contract Management: A major part of project management is procuring and managing project contracts. In this course, students will be introduced to the essential elements that make up contracts, including vendors, purchasing, and legal considerations.
- Health Information Management: Common topics covered include how to handle patient data and keep it secure, personnel needs, contracting with vendors, and systems theory. This course helps prepare future project managers for careers in the growing healthcare field.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET AN ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT?
A typical bachelor's degree in project management will take two years, or approximately 120 credit hours, to complete. Of course, the time it takes you to complete your online degree depends on several factors. Some project management programs boast generous credit transfer policies, so you may be able to transfer credits from a two-year degree, other college courses you've taken, or even work or military experience. Some programs are designed for working professionals who hold an associate degree. These programs can be completed in one year.
The format of a project management program will also affect the length. If a program is asynchronous, you will be able to work through the program at your own pace, perhaps allowing you to earn your degree more quickly. Alternatively, programs may be offered in a cohort format, where students work through the program together, according to a predetermined, set pace. The number of terms a school offers throughout the year — some offer as many as six or more — will also affect how quickly you can earn your degree.
Accreditation for Online Bachelor's in Project Management Degrees
As you explore schools that offer project management degree online programs, it's important to pay attention to a school's accreditation. Accreditation ensures that a school has met a stringent set of standards, so you know you are receiving a quality education. You'll typically come across schools that hold one of two kinds of accreditation: national or regional accreditation. National accreditation usually applies to vocational schools or special programs. Regional accreditation is determined by six different regional accreditation boards across the U.S., and a degree earned from any regionally accredited school is valid in any state. Schools that offer online project management degree programs are most likely to be regionally accredited. The project management programs themselves may also be accredited by industry organizations. One accreditation to look for is the Project Management Institute's Global Accreditation Center for Project Management Education Programs (GAC). This accreditation is earned by programs that adhere to PMI's comprehensive global standards.
Two organizations help determine which schools earn accreditation: the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). The secretary of the DOE approves accreditors, and any school that wants to receive federal grants must be accredited. The CHEA is a self-regulating organization that advocates on the behalf of accreditors and accredited schools. They also provide information to combat “diploma mills” — schools that provide a low quality of education and are only interested in churning out degrees to make money. You can find lists of accredited institutions on the DOE's and the CHEA's website.
Employment Outlook for Bachelor's in Project Management Graduates
There is a demand for project managers in a variety of industries, making it a lucrative career path for students. An industry report from the Project Management Institute reveals how gaining skills in project management can fast track you to career success. According to PMI's survey of project management professionals, the average salary of a project manager in the U.S. is $108,200. Many factors influence a project manager's earnings, including experience, project size, and work location. One major factor affecting earnings is whether a project management professional holds a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. Professionals in the U.S. who have earned this certification make, on average, 22% more than those who don't. This is good news for individuals interested in enrolling in a project management online degree bachelor program, since many programs explicitly state that they help students prepare to take PMI's certification exam.
Average Salaries for U.S. Project Management Professionals
|Average U.S. Salary||Salary for less than 3 years of experience||Salary for 5-10 years of experience||Salary w/ PMP Certification (across all experience levels)|
Data from PMI's 2015 Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey
BACHELOR'S IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT SALARY
In addition to individual workplaces, professional experience level will impact the annual earnings of employees in the project management field. The next table features data from PayScale regarding expected salaries for different types of project managers and related jobs at different stages of their careers.
Project Management Careers by Experience
|Job Title||Overall Average Salary||Average Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years)||Average Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years)||Average Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)|
|Construction Project Manager||$74,950||$60,174||$73,030||$84,626|
|Engineering Project Manager||$88,000||$69,360||$85,500||$109,000|
BACHELOR'S IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT CAREERS
Graduating from a project management online degree bachelor program prepares students for an in-demand career. Many of these careers are in more technical or science-oriented industries, like healthcare and information technology. Most project management careers will require a similar set of skills. Professionals must be organized, communicate well with others, and remain unflustered when working under deadlines. Below, you'll find five possible career paths for graduates of project management programs:
- Computer and Information Systems Managers: Often called IT Managers, this type of project manager plans and coordinates the computer-related needs and activities of an organization. This job field is expected to grow faster than average — by 15% between now and 2024.
- Construction Managers: Working from the office and in the field, construction managers plan, coordinate, and direct construction projects. Entry-level construction managers typically hold a bachelor's degree.
- Engineering Managers: Engineering managers direct activities at engineering companies, working from their offices with occasional visits to the field or labs. To get started in the field, engineering managers need at least a bachelor's degree and some experience in engineering.
- Health Services Managers: Sometimes called health care administrators, health services managers are in charge of coordinating medical and health services in healthcare organizations. They must be up to date on healthcare laws and regulations to ensure compliance.
- Emergency Management Directors: Emergency management directors are in charge of preparing for natural disasters and other large scale emergencies. They also need to keep the public informed about how emergencies are being handled and often must coordinate with government agencies and public officials.
Median Salary and Growth Rate by Career
|Position||Median Annual Salary||Projected Growth Rate|
|Computer and Information Systems Managers||$135,800||15%|
|Health Services Managers||$96,540||14%|
|Emergency Management Directors||$70,500||6%|
Graduates and students of project management programs should explore the many professional organizations in the project management field. These organizations provide opportunities for continued learning in project management, including access to other professionals in the field and to recognized certifications. Some organizations also sponsor contests, where professionals are honored and awarded for their achievements.
Financing Your Online Bachelor's in Project Management Program
When figuring out ways to pay for your online project management degree, it's important to remember that funding can come from a variety of sources. Your first step in figuring out how to pay for your degree is to complete the FAFSA form, which will help you understand what federal funding opportunities are available to you, including grants, scholarships, and loans. Sometimes, large organizations may help cover the cost of continuing education for its employees. If you're pursuing a degree in project management to further your career with a company, explore any ways they might be able to help you cover the cost.
Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.
Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.
Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.
Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.