Is a Project Management Degree Worth It?

project management degree worth it

Key Takeaways:

  • A project management degree can open doors to diverse career opportunities in today’s dynamic business environment.
  • Online project management programs offer convenience, while campus-based programs provide networking opportunities and hands-on experiences.
  • Evaluate factors like cost, flexibility, and program quality to make an informed decision on pursuing a project management degree.

Introduction

We’ve often been asked, “Is a project management degree worth it?” Our answer hasn’t changed – a project management degree can open doors to diverse careers in today’s dynamic business environment. 

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Then, there’s the question of, “What’s the best choice between on-campus and online project management degree programs?”. Online project management programs offer convenience, while campus-based programs provide networking opportunities and hands-on experiences. When making your choice, you should evaluate factors like cost, flexibility, and program quality to make an informed decision on pursuing a project management degree.

Project managers oversee the successful completion of projects. Their knowledge, skills and competencies are vital in the five major phases of project management, namely: 

  • Initiating where clients define the project’s parameters, budget and deliverables 
  • Planning, which involves defining the project’s scope, timeline, costs, and risks, including steps in mitigating them 
  • Executing is a phase that involves project execution based on the approved plan and programs. 
  • Monitoring, which involves tracking progress and making adjustments when necessary
  • Closing where the finished project will be delivered, evaluated and approved for acceptance 

While every project manager has a specialization, they must possess technical skills that can be used across industries. These hard skills include proficiency in project management software and Agile methodologies, risk and change management, financial and human resources management, and data analysis. 

Since project managers deal with a wide range of individuals, they must possess specific transferable skills, too. Communication, collaboration and critical thinking skills are a must, as well as analytical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making skills. 

When you realize the challenge of gaining the required hard and soft skills to become a successful project manager, you will appreciate the benefits of project management degree program completion. Of course, you can develop these skills through on-the-job training.

But, formal education and training, particularly a bachelor’s degree, are strongly recommended for many reasons. For one thing, you will gain the knowledge, skills and competencies that prospective employers look for in entry-level project management professionals. 

For another thing, your bachelor’s degree can be your springboard to earning more professional credentials for career advancement purposes. You can also get a master’s degree in project management.

Yet another benefit of earning a project management degree is the high salaries that project management specialists earn $95,370 in median annual wages (May 2022). Project managers with specialized competencies, extensive professional networks, and numerous clients can earn as much as $196,500 per year. 

Significance of Project Management Degrees in Various Industries

Project managers with formal education and training are sought-after professionals across diverse industries because of the benefits they bring to their employers’ or clients’ projects. 

  • On budget, on track and on-time delivery of projects 
  • Improved productivity among teams and departments 
  • More impactful project completion and outcomes 
  • Consistency in the quality of deliverables 
  • Effective and efficient use of resources, including capital, equipment and manpower 
  • Continuous improvement with lessons learned from past projects applied to current projects  

Project management specialists are also in high demand across different industries because of their ability to adapt to their working environment and adapt their competencies to every type of project. No wonder, then, that their services are sought-after in the construction, manufacturing, oil and gas industries, and more. 

For inspiration, you can check out project management degree success stories, too. 

Value of Pursuing a Project Management Degree

Aside from being a more competitive applicant for entry-level project management positions with a bachelor’s degree, its value also lies in the following opportunities for personal and professional growth. 

  • Networking opportunities are available for students in project management degree programs in numerous avenues, including workshops, seminars and classes.  
  • Leadership development opportunities are valuable in boosting your resume and, thus, your employability. You can, for example, participate in extracurricular activities and assume leadership positions in student organizations. 
  • Skills development opportunities are everywhere in a degree program, too, particularly your decision-making and problem-solving skills. You will also acquire an international, multidisciplinary, and multicultural perspective that will be useful in your career. 

Indeed, earning a project management degree will increase your value as a professional in the eyes of your peers and prospective employers. 

Campus-based Project Management Degree Programs

The next question is, “What’s your choice between online and campus-based project management programs?” 

Advantages of Traditional Campus-based Programs for Project Management

When it comes to benefits, on-campus programs are popular for the following reasons. 

  • The face-to-face interactions result in more peer-to-peer learning, collaboration and networking, as well as personalized attention from professors. You can receive immediate feedback for your work, too, from your peers and professors.
  • There’s more access to on-campus facilities, resources and services that contribute to enhanced learning experiences among students.
  • The structured curriculum and learning environment, with their set class schedules, encourage students to follow through on their studies.

You will also appreciate the hands-on learning opportunities, such as internships, projects, and field trips, together with your peers and professors in an on-campus program. 

Challenges Associated with Campus-based Project Management Programs

But on-campus programs aren’t for everybody either with these challenges. 

  • There’s limited flexibility with their fixed schedules, which working students and professionals won’t appreciate.
  • The geographical constraints and higher costs associated with on-campus programs are a barrier, too.

Students in on-campus programs face more distractions from extracurricular activities, too, although these are also vital for a well-rounded education.

Online Project Management Degree Programs

Then, there are the online project management degree programs that are also popular among traditional and non-traditional students. 

Benefits of Online Programs for Project Management Degrees

Such popularity can be attributed to the following factors. 

  • Accessibility is guaranteed because online programs allow students from all across the country to attend their classes.
  • Flexibility is also assured since online students can learn at their own pace and learn anytime, anywhere (i.e., asynchronous courses) or learn anywhere with their Internet-connected personal computers (i.e., synchronous classes).
  • Cost-effectiveness is usually a given because there’s little to no need to spend on commuting, housing and other costs associated with on-campus programs.

Hands-on learning and networking opportunities are also provided in online programs. 

Factors for Choosing a Reputable Online Project Management Program

Before taking on online project management education, you must carefully consider the following factors. 

  • Regional accreditation of the college or university 
  • Quality and rigor of the curriculum 
  • Credentials and expertise of the faculty members 
  • Student support services 
  • Technology support and resources 
  • Graduate outcomes 

Keep in mind that these factors are also applicable to on-campus programs. 

Comparing Campus-based vs. Online Project Management Degree Programs

When comparing online vs campus project management degree programs, affordability, flexibility and quality are the major considerations. 

Cost Comparison 

In a project management degree cost comparison, online programs usually come out the winner. On-campus programs usually have higher costs of attendance because of the higher tuition and fees, books and supplies, and housing and living costs. Students can also experience lost income to attend on-campus classes. Online programs, however, have more affordable tuition and fees – many programs even offer the same in-state and out-of-state tuition – and allow students to pursue employment. 

Flexibility Comparison

Online students agree that their participation in flexible project management degree programs means more opportunities to meet their personal and professional obligations. Many online programs even offer accelerated or self-paced learning that appeals to working professionals and adult learners. 

Quality of Education Comparison 

In terms of the quality of online project management degrees, we must say that these rival their on-campus counterparts. The best online programs have the same curriculum, academic standards, and faculty members as on-campus programs. 

Conclusion

Summary of Key Points 

So, is an online project management degree worth it? Yes, it is, but it’s also true for an on-campus degree. But for it to be worth it, you must be mindful of the affordability, flexibility and quality associated with your choice of a project management degree program. 

Encouragement for Readers

Once you earn your project management degree, you must leverage it in the best possible way. You should learn the knowledge, skills and competencies every successful project manager possesses, apply for project management jobs, and adopt an attitude of continuous learning.