Discover the lucrative and growing field of project management with potential for salaries reaching $116,000. Learn about the factors that impact your pay as a project manager such as education, experience, industry, location, and specialization.

Key Insights

  • Project Management is a growing field with 22 million jobs projected to be added by 2027, and the average salary for a Project Manager is around $116,000.
  • Education for project management varies, with some hiring managers preferring a Project Management Certification over a degree. Degree programs for project management are growing, with universities now offering both undergraduate and graduate options.
  • In the project management profession, experience is often valued more than a degree. Gaining experience can be accomplished through the workforce, volunteering, or through training programs such as those offered by Noble Desktop.
  • Project management salaries can vary greatly depending on the industry, with the Oil and Gas industry currently offering the highest average salary for Project Managers at over $150,000 per year.
  • The location of a project manager can also affect their salary. The states that pay Project Managers the most are New Mexico, Washington, New York, New Jersey, and Virginia.
  • Specialization within an industry or in a specific project management methodology, such as Agile or Scrum, can lead to higher salaries and faster career advancement.

A Project Manager is a professional who leads and manages projects. They are responsible for creating a project plan to establish goals and schedules, assigning tasks to team members, motivating the team to meet deadlines, communicating with clients or upper management, and managing resources. A successful Project Manager completes the project on time and within budget. 

Project Management is exploding as a field, with 22 million jobs added by 2027. Project Management is a hot career path, with demand growing much faster than other jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a Project Manager is around $116,000. That’s nearly twice as much as the national average for all occupations. 

With jobs growing exponentially and lucrative salaries, project management is a scorching career path. CNBC calls Project Management jobs “a way for people with non-technical backgrounds to earn lucrative tech paychecks.” Some companies have even begun seeking Project Managers for executive training as they typically possess excellent skills for a CEO or COO.

What Affects Your Pay as a Project Manager


Unlike most professional jobs, no specific degree is required to become a Project Manager. Many project management jobs require a Bachelor’s Degree. However, most hiring managers prefer a Project Management Certification over a college degree. 

Many Project Managers have a degree within their industry, such as construction science, art, or computer science. Some Project Managers major in Management or Business. Some programs offer paired majors in which the student can double-major in Management and a relevant industry field, such as Computer Science.

Project Management Bootcamp: Live & Hands-on, In NYC or Online, Learn From Experts, Free Retake, Small Class Sizes,  1-on-1 Bonus Training. Named a Top Bootcamp by Forbes, Fortune, & Time Out. Noble Desktop. Learn More.

As the field of project management has grown, so have degree options. Some universities now offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in Project Management. Here are a few examples of undergraduate options in Project Management: Towson University in Maryland has a Business Administration: Project Management and Business Analysis major. This program teaches project management software tools and incorporates PMI's Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). New Mexico State University offers a Bachelor of Business Administration in Project and Supply Chain Management. This degree includes the typical courses in a Management degree with additional courses focused on project management. 

These programs prepare students for the Certified Associate in Project Management Certificate exam. A CAPM Certification is equivalent to one of these programs in the Project Management industry. 

There is also a growing number of graduate degree programs in Project Management, especially those offered online. According to USC, most of their graduate program graduates in Project Management were already working in the field. 

Here are a few examples of graduate programs in Project Management. Penn State Global Campus offers an online Master’s Degree in Project Management and a 12-credit Graduate Certificate in Project Management. Boston University offers both an MS in Project Management and an MS in Computer Science with a specialization in IT Project Management. Lehigh University offers a concentration in Project Management as part of their MBA program. 

Senior Project Managers consider PMP certification superior to a Master's Degree because PMP Certification requires 7500 hours of leading real-world projects and specialized technical knowledge. 

Some schools offer training in Project Management Professional Certificates. For example, Noble Desktop is a coding, design, and business school that offers Project Management Certification training both live online and at their campus in Midtown Manhattan. They offer a pathway to CAPM Certification, which along with experience, is commonly considered equivalent to a Bachelor’s Degree. 


Project management is one profession in which experience is frequently preferred over a degree. Project Management degree programs are relatively new, and companies value real-world experiences and accomplishments in project management. Your experience managing projects will be more valuable than a degree.

One way to gain project management experience is in the workforce. You could apply to entry-level Project Manager positions or ask for assignments incorporating project planning or leading at your current job. If you’re a student, you might want to consider volunteering for an organization or creating your own project to manage. For example, you could organize friends to clean up a river bed or plan a charity fundraiser as your project. 

Another way to gain experience is through training. For example, Noble Desktop’s project management courses include guided training in hands-on, real-world projects. They also help students earn hours toward a CAPM certification. 


Salaries and qualifications for Project Managers vary by industry. Some industries pay Project Managers significantly higher salaries than others. For example, the Oil and Gas industry currently offers the highest average salary for Project Managers at over $150,000 per year. 

Here are some of the average salaries for Project Managers from different industries:

  • Aerospace $140,000
  • Pharmaceuticals $130,000
  • Resources $130,000
  • Consulting $125,000
  • Information Technology $125,000
  • Engineering $116,000
  • Government $115,000
  • Legal $110,000
  • Financial Services $110,000
  • Education $95,000

Manufacturing and Construction

A Construction Project Manager manages construction projects in an industry expected to add nearly 10 million jobs by 2027. Texas A&M University reports that their Construction Science graduates typically start with a salary of around $65,000, which is less than the nearly $100,000 average salary of Construction Project Managers. A degree can be helpful, but it doesn’t guarantee a higher salary in this industry.

Construction as an industry has been remarkably resistant to adding tech. Construction companies report difficulty finding Construction Project Managers who integrate tech into their workflow. However, as a part of its $2 trillion Infrastructure and Jobs Act, the United States Government allocated over 100 million for developing digital construction technologies. Construction Project Managers who integrate technology, automation, and AI into their workflows may soon see higher salaries and more demand. Particularly those who use technology to increase job site safety and reduce project risk.

Aerospace and Defense

Aerospace and Defense are considered one industry since 14% of all Aerospace projects are commissioned by the United States Military and Department of Defense. There are nearly 3 million jobs in the Aerospace and Defense industry with an average salary 81% higher than the national average. For example, the average salary of a Project Manager at NASA is $140,000 per year. 

Industry reports indicate that a massive number of professionals in this industry will be retiring soon, making qualified Aerospace Project Managers a rarity and leading to even more lucrative salaries in the future. Degrees are more common in this industry than for Project Managers in other industries. 

The top states for Aerospace Project Managers are California, Washington, Texas, Arizona, and Connecticut. Prior work experience in the Defense industry may be required. 


Healthcare Project Managers oversee projects for healthcare organizations, pharmaceutical companies, or medical supply companies. For example, a Healthcare Project Manager might oversee the building of a new wing of a hospital, create a plan for increasing emergency response or handle hiring healthcare workers. 

PMI estimates over 6 million new jobs in Healthcare Project Management by 2027, an industry expansion of over 12%. These roles typically require work experience in the healthcare industry and certification. The average salary for a Healthcare Project Manager is around 100,000 per year

IT and Software

Information Technology (IT) and Software Project Managers often command higher salaries than Project Managers in many other industries. For example, the average salary for a Software Project Manager is around $125,000 per year because they also need more specialized knowledge, such as programming languages, software development skills, and technical expertise. 

Many IT and Software Project Managers are required to have a relevant degree, such as Computer Science or Management. However, experience and certifications are preferred for all project management positions. 


A Finance Project Manager commands an average salary of over $50 per hour or nearly $110,000 per year. Project Manager jobs in Finance are expected to grow by over 16% by 2027. Finance Project Management is a hot career path, with over 100,000 jobs added in the next five years. 

It is more common for Finance Project Managers to have degrees than in other industries: around 70% of Finance Project Managers have a Bachelor’s Degree, and 25% have graduate degrees. Those degrees are typically in Business, Finance, or Economics. 


According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics, the ten states that pay Project Managers the most are New Mexico, Washington, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Alabama, California, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Illinois. Project Managers in New Mexico make nearly $125,000 per year. Project Managers in Illinois, the tenth state on the list, earn an average salary of $105,000.

Wisconsin is currently experiencing the fastest growth in project management jobs, with a 40% increase from 2021 to 2022. 

The states with the lowest pay for Project Managers are Arkansas, South Dakota, Montana, West Virginia, and Hawaii. The average salary for a Project Manager in Arkansas is nearly $73,000 a year. A Project Manager in the lowest-paying state still earns $20,000 more than the national average. 

Average salaries in industries may also vary by location. For example, Project Managers in Manufacturing make around $150,000 in California and $80,000 in Montana. IT Project Managers in Delaware earn an average of $105,000, while IT Project Managers in Vermont make $70,000 annually.

Project Management is booming all over the globe. According to PMI, China, India, Brazil, Japan, and the UK are all experiencing significant growth in Project Management jobs. For example, China has added over 1 million Project Manager jobs over the past decade. Shanghai is frequently ranked as a top city for Project Managers: billions of dollars are currently being invested in “megaprojects” that need competent, experienced Project Managers. 


Specialization can impact a Project Manager’s salary. The most common kind of specialization is within an industry. For example, a Project Manager who works in the Oil and Gas industry earns a higher average salary than in other industries at $145,000 per year. 

Gaining project management experience in a specialized industry can lead to a higher salary. Michael Chan is a PMP Certified Project Manager with over 15 years of experience in the telecom industry. In an interview with PMI, Mr. Chan shares that his work experience in “the very specialized industry” of Telecom has led to “companies often willing to pay above market price.” Chan also credits specialization with helping his career advance faster. He recommends that Project Managers take proactive steps to gain specialized experience and learn how to “market their specialized skills.” 

Professional organizations, such as PMI and The American Society for the Advancement of Project Management (IPMA), offer opportunities to network with other Project Managers and professional development opportunities to develop a specialization further. For example, PMI has Specific Interest Groups (SIGs), which provide networking and professional development within Project management specializations. PMI SIGs include Aerospace, Environmental Management, Women in PM, Manufacturing, New Product Development, IS and Information Management, Design, Procurement, and Construction. 

M.J. Hall, the vice-chair for professional development in PMI’s Aerospace SIG, says that most professional Project Managers were already working in their industry before becoming Project Managers. He says the key to a high salary is selecting an industry that interests you.

There are other ways to specialize as a Project Manager, including training in a specific project management methodology, such as Agile or Scrum. Agile Project Managers and Scrum Masters are Project Managers who specialize in leading projects using the Agile or Scrum methodologies. Both earn lucrative salaries and are in the top 10 high-earning Project Manager job titles. 

Pay Range for Project Managers

The average annual salary for a Project Manager in the United States is around $116,000, including entry-level positions. Project Managers with specialization in specific industries and certifications tend to make more. For example, the average annual salary for an IT Project Manager is around $100,000 per year and around $125,000 a year for a Software Project Manager. A Construction Project Manager makes an average salary of around $90,000 per year. 

The Project Management Institute (PMI) conducted a salary survey of Project Managers in 2021. They found that PMP Certification led to a 16% increase in median salary.

Construction Project Managers $95,260. Architectural and Engineering Project Managers $145,000. 

Highest-Earning Job Titles for Project Managers

PMO Consultant $130,000-190,000. 

A Project Management Office (PMO) sets and maintains project management standards for an organization. A PMO consultant will assist this department in planning, strategizing, organizing, staffing, and leading projects. 

Project Executive $123,000-186,000

A Project Executive is the leader of the company’s project management team. They typically focus on strategic planning, organizational priorities, and high-level staffing. This role typically requires 10-15 years in project management.

Change Management Consultant $102,000-166,000

A Change Management Consultant leads employees through organizational changes to avoid disruptions in productivity. They typically work as a consultant who travels to work with clients onsite.

Project Director $60,000-142,000

A Project Director is responsible for all project management at an organization or company, which might include staffing project teams, overseeing multiple project budgets, and managing a team of Project Managers. 

Senior Project Manager $92,000-$138,000

A Senior Project Manager may supervise Junior and Mid-level Project Managers working at a large company. Or, they might be a Project Manager who is further along in their career. Often, they will oversee different departments. For example, a Senior Project Manager at a large company might oversee the IT Project Manager and a Construction Project Manager. 

PMO Project Manager $96,000-$132,000

A PMO Project Manager oversees a Project Management Office, a department that manages organizational-wide project standards. For example, the PMO might decide which methodologies will be used to complete projects across departments. 

Scrum Master $98,000-$131,000

A Scrum Master leads project teams using the Agile Project Management methodology. They manage all communication and collaboration between team members to ensure a successful project. A Scrum Master does not lead the team; they facilitate collaboration within the team. 

Financial Project Manager $83,000-$128,000

A Financial Project Manager works as a Project Manager within the Finance industry. Or, this person could be in charge of financial projects within an organization. 

Agile Project Manager $94,000-$128,000

Agile Project Managers use Agile methodology to work on software development projects. 

Supply Chain Project Manager $75,000-$117,000

A Supply Chain Project Manager typically oversees projects to obtain raw materials in the Manufacturing industry.