If you're weighing career options, you might want to consider the rewarding and lucrative field of project management. Yes, it is hard work, and it does require project management training and certification, but the benefits make it well worth it.
Here are the top five highest-paying project management salaries in North America and what you need to know about each role before deciding if it is the best option for your career.
SEE: Project manager resume template: A framework for highlighting your skills and achievements (Tech Pro Research)
Director of a Project Management Office (PMO)
Annual median salary: $140,000 US
A PMO Director is an executive leadership and oversight role that is responsible for a company-wide PMO strategy, the service delivery establishing and managing the PMO's resources, workload, and all portfolio, program, and project management activities. Additionally, project management processes, policies, and standards, as well as operational excellence, fall within the scope of this role.
The 10th edition salary guide by the Project Management Institute (PMI) shows that the median (national average) salary for this role is $140,000, with the 75th percentile falling at $164,680 annually and $116,000 for those in the 25th percentile.
Annual median salary: $134,000 US
Portfolio Managers are responsible for planning, monitoring, and reporting on all company-wide projects. This high-level role interfaces with the executive team, program managers, and project managers to ensure that all projects are executed successfully in alignment with strategic goals. The Portfolio Manager is not directly involved in the day-to-day details of individual projects, but rather takes on an oversight, planning, coordination, collaboration, and reporting role. The median salary for Portfolio Managers is $134,000, with the 75th percentile coming in at $158,000 annually and $110,000 for those who fall within the 25th percentile.
Annual median salary: $121,650 US
Program Managers look after the day-to-day initiatives that result from programs including budgeting, monitoring progress, reporting, and the setting of policies, processes, and controls. They ensure that all projects align with program guidelines and that the resources are allocated and utilized efficiently at a program level. Program Managers also ensure that the required deliverables of the projects within purview meet with the program goals. The annual median salary for a Program Manager sits at $121,650 annually, with those in the 75th percentile making $142,000 and those within the 25th percentile grossing $102,000.
SEE: Quick glossary: Project management (Tech Pro Research)
Project Manager III
Annual median salary: $110,000 US
Project Manager III is sometimes called an Internal Project Manager or a Senior Project Manager. This role is responsible for managing every facet of a project to make sure it is executed within scope. The Project Manager III collaborates with, coordinates, and updates the Program Manager, project sponsor(s), and other stakeholders about relevant details and progress throughout the lifecycle of a project. The median salary for a Project Manager III is $110,000, with the 75th percentile coming in at $127,000 annually and $93,000 for those who fall within the 25th percentile, just shy of a six-figure salary.
Project Management Consultant
Annual median salary: $115,000 US
Project Management Consultants work with companies in an advisory capacity to plan and lead teams throughout a project's lifecycle. They coordinate and communicate with stakeholders to identify, develop, and implement company-wide best practices. In many cases, Project Management Consultants juggle more than one project at the same time. The annual median salary for a Project Management Consultant is $115,000, with those in the 75th percentile making $140,000 and those within the 25th percentile grossing $90,000.
Considering that in 2018 the median household income in the US is estimated to be approximately $60,000, Project Management can be a very financially rewarding career option.
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Moira Alexander is the Founder of PMWorld 360 Magazine and Lead-Her-Ship Group, and a project management and digital workplace columnist for various publications. Moira has 20+ years in business (IS&T) and project management for small to large businesses in the US and Canada. To find out more about Moira, go to www.pmworld360.com and www.leadhershipgroup.com.