How To Become A Project Manager In 2021: Schools, Salary, & Cost

You might have nurtured the desire to become a project manager, but you don’t know all you may require to have a successful career. That is why we are here to guide you on how to become a project manager, the school you can enroll in especially in the USA, the licenses you need to acquire to be a certified project manager in the USA and many more.

The major skills you must possess, if you want to learn how to become a PM is to have strong communication skills, effective leadership skills, and to be a problem solver.

A successful PM has the ability to overcome those unexpected challenges and deal with them on the go.

You want a career that will allow you to connect with and manage people of diverse character and temperament in a corporate organizational setting while attending to a variety of tasks almost at the same time, then this is the career for you- an executive assistantship.

However, projects with the highest success rate usually involve customers in the process. This is where truly effective project managers shine.

By bringing the team and the customer close together, a good project manager will effectively shorten the customer-service loop and gain a better insight into the customers’ needs.

So, just sit tight and read on. In this article, we are going to show you how to become the best project manager.

Before we continue, let’s go through the table of content below to get an overview of what the article entails.

Who Is a Project Manager?

A project manager is a professional in the field of project management. A project manager is a person who is organized, passionate, and goal-oriented who understand what projects have in common, and the strategic role in how organizations succeed, learn and change.

Project managers are change agents: they make project goals their own and use their skills and expertise to inspire a sense of shared purpose within the project team.

Also, They work well under pressure and are comfortable with change and complexity in dynamic environments.

What Does A Project Manager(PM) Do?

There are many things a PM does. it will be mentioned in this phase so that you can know the role of aPM.

Generally, PMs are responsible for planning, organizing, and directing the completion of specific projects for an organization while ensuring these projects are on time, on budget, and within scope.

Furthermore, there are other things a PM do, which are listed below:

1. Activity and resource planning:

Planning is instrumental in meeting project deadlines, and many projects fail due to poor preparation. First and foremost, good PMs define the project’s scope and determine available resources.

Also, Good PMs know how to realistically set time estimates and evaluate the team’s or teams’ capabilities.

2. Organizing and motivating a project team:

A lot of good project managers don’t get their teams bogged down with complex spreadsheets, long checklists, and whiteboards. Instead, they put their teams front and center. 

3. Controlling time management:

A Good project managers know how to set realistic deadlines, and how to communicate them consistently to their teams.

4. Cost estimating and developing the budget:

Also, a Good project managers know how to keep a project within its set budget. In other words, they  frequently review the budget and plan ahead to avoid massive budget overruns.

5. Ensuring customer satisfaction:

In the end of everything, a project is only a success if the customer is happy. So, a good project manager know how to maintain effective communication and keep the company’s clients up-to-date.

Check this How to Become a Business Analyst: Schools, Salary, Cost, Requirements

6. Analyzing and managing project risk:

The bigger the project is, the more likely there are to be hurdles and pitfalls that weren’t part of the initial plan. Hiccups are inevitable, But then they know how to avoid risks or at least minimize their impact.

7. Managing reports and necessary documentation:

Finally, experienced project managers know how essential final reports and proper documentation are. So, they present comprehensive reports documenting that all project requirements were fulfilled, even the project’s history, including what was done, who was involved, and what could be done better in the future.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Project Manager?

Well, there is a specific amount of time it takes to become a project manager, but it all depends on your level and education and the time frame in passing the state licensing exam and requirements will determine how long it will take you to become a project manager.

In the USA, there are two ways to qualify for the PMP(Project management professional) which requires 35 hours of education.

The first requirement includes a four-year degree, minimum 4,500 hours of work experience (about two and a half years in a full-time job), plus required project management education.

While, the second requirement includes a secondary degree, 7,500 hours of experience (about four years in a full-time job), plus the required educational training, which leads to getting the certifications.

In other words, the time it takes to become a project manager is 7-8 years.

How Much Does It Cost To Become A Project Manager In USA?

The typical cost to become a project manager is the amount you will spend on processing and obtaining your license and any other course the state mandates. The cost varies on the country you are located at. But, we can make an estimate.

So, to take this project management education which is PMP certification classroom training ranges from 500 USD to 3,500 USD in the USA.

While the project management education which is the online courses costs a lot less than regular classroom teaching, the prices vary between 200 USD and 500 USD.

Which Schools Can I Attend To Become A Project Manager?

Students can most commonly pursue a certificate or master’s degree in project management and can find an online project management program fairly easily. Also, some of the schools have programs that are available on campus and online.

However, below are the list of schools that you can attend:

  • Boston University
  • Northeastern University
  • Stevens Institute of Technology
  • Lehigh University
  • The University of Texas at Dallas
  • University of Denver
  • Mississippi State University
  • University of Michigan
  • Missouri State University
  • Lasell College

PM Salary/Job Outlook In USA

Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including state, education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession.

So, based on the research made, the range of a PM salary in the USA falls between $66,137 to $88,822.

According to, the range of a project management director typically falls between $143,044 and $179,239. While the average salary of a Project Management Director salary in the United States is $161,181.

Also, according to the research made, there is a projection that there will be a 33% job growth for PMs between 2017 and 2027.

What Are The Steps/ Requirements To Become A PM?

To become a licensed project manager in the world and USA, there are specific licensing requirements, which include education and experience, application procedures, and renewal procedures.

In other words, it’s an exciting thing when you decide to become a project manager. So, As you move along in the project manager career path, there will be many opportunities for you to build your knowledge, get trained in specific disciplines and methodologies, and get a professional project management certification.

Below are detailed requirements on how to become a PM:

Step 1: Commit to becoming a project manager

Setting out to become a project manager begins with learning as much as you can from industry experts, and then starting on your career path with learning, training, and certification. 

In other words, it will be important for you to have an idea of the project management career path you want to pursue before you start, because of many PMs in many different industries, and in many different ways, of learning.

Step 2:  Decide which certification you will pursue

There are Two well-known PM certifications, the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, and the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM), are both offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI).

However, there are two difference between the two, which is that it’s possible to get a CAPM certification without project management experience, while the PMP certification requires at least 4,500 hours of experience.

So, someone with minimal experience might decide to pursue the CAPM certification first, then work as a PM until they qualify for the PMP certification.

And someone who already has years of informal project management under their belt might decide to go straight for the PMP.

Step 3: Begin your project management education

The hours of project management education required can be obtained in a variety of ways, but they must be completed before you sit for your exam.

However, PMI offers training through Registered Education Providers and PMI chapters across the world that will qualify you for CAPM and PMP certification.

Also, You’ll need to record all your education hours in the certification application, like when you took the class, what organization offered it, and what the subject matter was.

This will help you complete your application and avoid having to retake any forgotten or unrecorded classes.

Once you’ve completed, or are very close to completing your hours, you can begin studying for the exam.

Step 4: Prepare for and take your certification exam

For both the CAPM and PMP exams, you will need to study the entire Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide (PMBOK) published by PMI.

Also, to help you study for both exams, you can buy materials and study on your own, or you can purchase specific prep classes, depending on how you study best and what works for you.

In addition, the CAPM exam has 150 questions and can be taken online or in a designated testing center, and the PMP exam has 200 questions and must be taken in a testing center.

Step 5: Maintain your certification

Both certifications require holders to maintain them in different ways. 

You must pass the CAPM every five years to maintain your certification. The CAPM exam changes periodically, so it’s important to prepare well each time. 

While PMP certification requires you to complete 60 professional development units (PDUs) each year to maintain your certification.

So, continue learning, and avoid stagnation, and keep up in a dynamic field.

You can also check this Top 20 Diploma in Management Programs in the World

What Are Certificates Required For A Project Manager?

No matter the PM/IT role, a project management certification can add value to your role. Also, the most popular project management certifications will add value and help you hone your skills.

However, here are the top project manager certificates

  • Associate in Project Management
  • Certified Project Management Practitioner (CPMP)
  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
  • A Certified Project Director
  • BVOP Certified Project Manager
  • Certified Project Manager (CPM)Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)
  • CompTIA Project+
  • Professional in Project Management (PPM)
  • PRINCE2 Foundation/PRINCE2 Practitioner
  • Master Project Manager (MPM)
  • Project Management in IT Security (PMITS)
  • Project Management Professional (PMP)

Let’s take a look at some of them

#1. Associate in Project Management

The Global Association for Quality Management (GAQM), which administers the Associate in Project Management (APM) as well as a Professional in Project Management and a CPD certification is a global, not-for-profit certification body that offers credentials across a variety of IT specialties.

The APM program is designed for the entry-level project manager, or for those who want to start a career in the field. 

Organization: Global Association for Quality Management, Price: $300, Requirements: GAQM body of knowledge study and e-course; no formal education or experience requirements.

#2. BVOP Certified Project Manager

Business value-oriented principles (BVOP) is a newer, agile-based framework growing in popularity in the U.K. BVOP emphasizes business value in all project management activities and practices.

The BVOP Certified Project Manager is for senior practitioners with experience in both project management and people management. 

However, The exam includes questions from the project management, program management, and product management sections of the course materials.

Organization:, Price: $130, Requirements: No previous professional project management experience required; free study guides and preparation materials available online.

#3. A Certified Project Director

GAQM’s CPD certification is the credentialing body’s highest-level project management certification. 

It is designed for experienced project managers who are involved in directing multiple, complex projects and programs. 

However, the program focuses on managing, budgeting and determining scope for multiple projects, multiple project teams, etc.

The CDP program is only for those who have significant project management experience.

Organization: Global Association for Quality Management, Price: $300, Requirements: GAQM body of knowledge study and e-course, and candidates must be familiar with principles and methodologies of project management and pass the Professional in Project Management (PPM) or equivalent exam.

#4. A Associate in Project Management (Certified)

The Certified Associate in Project Management is the precursor to the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, administered by the Project Management Institute (PMI).

However, this certificate is for professionals without a college degree, or with only rudimentary project management experience, or for those who want to achieve their PMP certification step by step rather than all at once.

The CAPM is a stepping-stone to the more rigorous PMP.

Organisation: Project Management Institute Price: $225 for PMI members; $300 nonmembers Requirements: High-school diploma, associates degree or equivalent and at least 1,500 hours of project management experience or 23 hours of project management education.

#5. Project Management Professional(PMP)

PMP is the gold standard in project management certifications, the Project Management Professional certification is a rigorous test that covers completely everything you need to prove your knowledge and skill in managing the “triple constraints”: time, cost and scope.

The PMI is this credential’s parent organization, and works continuously with businesses and academia to ensure relevance for the certification.

Organization: Project Management Institute

Price: Computer-based exams: $405 for PMI members, $555 for non-members; paper-based exams: $250 for PMI members, $400 for non-members,

Requirements: Four-year secondary degree plus three years of project management experience, 4,500 hours leading and directing projects, and 35 hours project management education; or a high-school diploma, five years of PM experience, 7,500 hours leading and directing projects, and 35 hours of project management education.

Are There Online Degree for a Project Manager In US ?

Yes, there are a few online degree for a project manager in the US. We mean the accredited ones.

However, the demand for professionals able to manage complex projects has increased. That’s reflected in the lucrative pay for project management professionals.

  • Colorado State University-Global Campus
  • Bellevue University
  • Minnesota State University Moorhead
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Regis University
  • Charleston Southern University
  • Liberty University
  • Saint Louis University
  • Malone University
  • Saint Leo University

 Are There Online Courses In Project Management?

Yes, there are online courses in project management that is covering a variety of contemporary professions and disciplines. 

  • International Diploma in Project Management
  • Certificate in Project Management
  • Project Management Course
  • Project Management
  • Diploma in Project Management
  • Six Sigma Certificate Level 1
  • Six Sigma – Advanced Diploma Level 5
  • Diploma in Six Sigma Level 4
  • Six Sigma Certificate Level 3
  • Six Sigma Level 2
  • Project Management


In conclusion, a Project manager is a profession that has lots of skills, most importantly communication skills, effective leadership skills, and a problem solver. Also, is a good career choice if you have in mind to study it.

In addition, I believe the information in this article will help you to know how to become a project manager and other things.


A project manager is a person who is organized, passionate, and goal-oriented who understand what projects have in common, and the strategic role in how organizations succeed, learn and change.

Yes, Project Management is a good career choice.

1. Activity and resource planning
2. Organizing and motivating a project team
3. Controlling time management
4. Cost estimating and developing the budget
5. Ensuring customer satisfaction
6. Analyzing and managing project risk
7. Managing reports and necessary documentation

Here is the list of some certificate required for a manager:
1. Associate in Project Management
2. BVOP Certified Project Manager
3. Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
4. Certified Project Director
5. Certified Project Management Practitioner (CPMP)
6. Certified Project Manager (CPM)Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)
7. Master Project Manager (MPM)
8. Project Management Professional (PMP)



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