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Project Management Specialist Career


What is a Project Management Specialist?


A project management specialist is an expert who holds an entire project together. This role involves coordinating all aspects of a project, which includes setting and controlling the budget, establishing and monitoring the schedule, defining the scope, and ensuring that all the details align with the project's overall objectives. This role requires a comprehensive understanding of the project's ins and outs. It necessitates clear communication with all stakeholders to guarantee that everyone is on the same page.

Project management requires coordination skills, keen foresight, and a deep understanding of the end-to-end process of seeing a project through to its successful completion. It's a science because it requires meticulous planning, accurate forecasting, systematic organization, and stringent control of resources. But it's also an art because it demands the ability to navigate human dynamics, to inspire and motivate a team, and to solve unexpected problems creatively. All of these aspects come together to manage a project and its components from start to finish, turning an idea or a plan into a tangible, successful outcome. 

Project management specialists are in particularly high demand in technology, construction, healthcare, and finance industries. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know to embark on this career path, including education requirements, essential skills, job responsibilities, salary and job outlook expectations, and more!


What Does a Project Management Specialist Do?

The key responsibilities of a project management specialist often span several domains. These professionals are responsible for identifying potential risks and implementing mitigation strategies to prevent derailment of the project. They collaborate with various departments such as sales to ensure that project proposals are supported and can be effectively implemented. Additionally, they are expected to develop an overarching project plan that delineates specific project objectives, milestones, deliverables, and timelines. In the context of cross-organizational projects, they work across departmental lines, uniting different teams towards a common goal.

Here are some of the most common project management specialist responsibilities:

  • Create project plans and schedules.
  • Maintain project budgets
  • Schedule meetings
  • Problem-solving
  • Build workflow templates
  • Record important decisions made in meetings
  • Prepare progress reports
  • Create progress presentations for senior management
  • Ensure that team members meet deadlines

Where Does a Project Management Specialist Work?

Project management specialists can find opportunities in an array of settings because the need for streamlined project execution is universal. Some key industries include:

  • Technology and software development: Specialists manage complex tech projects, overseeing software development cycles from idea to product.
  • Healthcare and pharmaceutical research: These professionals may coordinate research projects, new healthcare services, or the roll-out of novel treatments, adhering to strict timelines and regulations.
  • Business and nonprofit work: In these sectors, specialists might manage the launch of new services, event coordination, or strategic initiatives, helping organizations achieve their goals. 
  • Construction management: They oversee construction projects from planning to completion, ensuring safety, timeliness, and budget adherence.

From finance and education to government and entertainment, the skills of a project management specialist are in high demand, making it a career choice with extensive opportunities.


How Do I Become a Project Management Specialist?

Becoming a project management specialist requires a combination of formal education, practical work experience, and specialized skills. Here's a detailed look at the steps you can take to start your career in this rewarding profession.

1. Obtain a Bachelor's Degree

A great first step on your journey to becoming a project management specialist is earning a bachelor's degree. This career path doesn’t require a specific degree, but higher education programs in business management, finance, supply chain and operations management, or project management can provide a solid foundation. 

2. Gain Work Experience through an Internship

Work experience is an essential aspect of building your career in project management. Internships open up great opportunities for hands-on experience, allowing you to see how project management works first-hand. An internship as a project coordinator will allow you to apply your academic knowledge, gain valuable industry experience, and make connections that could be beneficial in your future career.

3. Develop Project Management Skills

While completing your education and entry-level work experience, you should focus on developing the skills employers look for in project management professionals. These include strategic planning, risk management, quality control, and budgeting. Soft skills like leadership, communication, problem-solving, and negotiation are also incredibly useful in this line of work.

4. Get Certifications

Getting a project management certification can boost your credibility and make you more attractive in the job market. Consider getting the   (PMP) certification, provided by the Project Management Institute (PMI), which is a highly respected credential in this field. Other valuable certifications include Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM), and Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP).

Best Degrees for a Project Management Specialist


Supply Chain and Operations Management - B.S.

This online supply chain and operations management program will prepare...

This online supply chain and operations management program will prepare you for real-world experiences in business.

  • Time: 61% of graduates finish similar programs within 19 months.
  • Tuition: $3,575 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 36 courses in this program.

Skills for your résumé that you will learn in this program:

  • Project Management
  • Strategic Planning
  • Detail Oriented
  • Management
  • Leadership
  • Operations:

Finance – B.S.

This online finance program is career-focused so you will gain relevant...

This online finance program is career-focused so you will gain relevant industry skills.

  • Time: 62% of graduates finish similar programs within 24 months
  • Tuition: $3,575 per 6-month term
  • Courses: 41 courses in this program

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Management
  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Spreadsheets
  • Financial Analysis
  • Problem Solving

The competency-based model at WGU allows you to move as quickly as you can master the material, and do your coursework on your schedule. Flexibility is key with the B.S. in finance at WGU.


Business Management – B.S. Business Administration

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:...

Hone your business acumen and garner added respect:

  • Time: 61% of graduates finish within 19 months
  • Tuition: $3,755 per 6-month term
  • Courses: 40 total courses in this program

Skills for your résumé this program will teach you include: 

  • Business communication
  • Product development
  • Decision making models
  • Project management strategies
  • Budgeting for business

This online degree program is an excellent choice for kick-starting your organizational management career.


Leadership Certificate – School of Business

Enhance your résumé and take a step in your educational journey with the...

Enhance your résumé and take a step in your educational journey with the help of a leadership certificate from the School of Business.

  • Time: 4 months from start to finish.
  • Cost: $2,250 for the certificate.
  • Courses: 3 courses total in this program.

This program is for emerging leaders, however this program does not require a bachelor’s degree, and provides transferable credit towards a WGU degree program.

Whether you aspire to work for a Fortune 500 organization, a government agency, a non-profit organization, or a fast-paced start-up, this certificate can give you the keys to success in a variety of industries, including:

  • Finance and Banking
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • IT
  • Consulting
  • Nonprofit
  • Government

Supply Chain Certificate – School of Business

Boost your résumé and gain valuable experience with a supply chain...

Boost your résumé and gain valuable experience with a supply chain certificate from the School of Business.

  • Time: 6 months from start to finish.
  • Cost: $2,500 for the certificate.
  • Courses: 4 courses total in this program.

This program is designed for individuals who are ready to take their supply chain experience to the next level and become a front-line leader in their organization.

Whether you want to advance your career in this field, or you're just getting started, a supply chain certificate can help you be ready for your next career step. You'll be prepared to work in a variety of industries including: 

  • Startups
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • IT
  • Retail
  • E-Commerce

How Much Does a Project Management Specialist Make?


Project management specialists' salary varies depending on experience, industry, and location, among other factors. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for this profession is $94,500. Those at the very beginning of their career or in less competitive markets may earn around $49,750 per year. However, those who have considerable experience or are working in high-demand industries can earn $125,430 to $159,140 annually. 

What Is the Projected Job Growth?


Project management specialists’ jobs are projected to grow by 7% from 2022 to 2032, which is an optimistic outlook for future professionals in this field.  


What Skills Does a Project Management Specialist Need?

Project management specialists must possess a range of skills that facilitate effective project execution:

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills: These skills allow specialists to clearly convey project goals and manage team dynamics.
  • Budget management skills: Specialists must be adept at formulating and controlling project budgets to prevent overspending.
  • Planning and time management skills: These are essential for setting realistic deadlines, allocating resources, and keeping the project on track.
  • Organizational skills: These enable specialists to juggle multiple tasks and ensure all aspects of the project are coordinated.
  • Knowledge of Agile project management: Understanding Agile principles helps specialists adapt to changes and deliver projects more efficiently.
  • Leadership skills: Leadership is key to motivating team members, managing conflicts, and making critical project decisions.

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Interested in Becoming a Project Management Specialist?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this meaningful career.