Project Manager Salary: Your 2023 Guide

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Project managers are responsible for planning and executing projects—a critical role in any business. It’s a well-paying career with room to advance into even higher-paying positions.

[Featured Image] A project manager is in business casual clothing and is facing her two coworkers while holding a tablet.

Let’s take a closer look at how much project managers typically make, as well as some of the factors that can influence your salary.

How much do project managers make?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a median US salary as of 2021 of $94,500 for project management professionals, with the bottom 10 percent earning a median of $49,750 and the top 10 percent $159,140 [1].

All salaries listed are for the US.

Factors that impact project manager salary

Your cash compensation in this field ultimately depends on a variety of factors. If you’re looking to maximize your paycheck, consider these components of the pay equation.

Education

As in many industries, higher education can often yield higher pay. The majority of project managers—68 percent—have a bachelor’s degree and 14 percent hold a master's degree [2]. Reported salaries go up along with degree level.

  • Four-year college degree: $102,588

  • Master’s degree: $114,821

  • Doctoral degree: $121,387

In addition to enhancing your earning potential, earning a higher degree might also make you more competitive in the job market. By earning a business-related degree, such as a Master of Business Administration, you can build the leadership skills companies are looking for and open up the possibility of moving into executive management in the future.

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Business Foundations

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Certification

Earning a project management certification can help validate your skills and experience to employers. This can sometimes translate into a higher salary. Among the professionals in the US surveyed by Project Management Institute, the median salary for those holding a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification was $25,000 more than those without [3]. 

While the PMP is certainly a highly-respected credential, it’s not the only one. You can also get certified in project management methodologies, like Agile, Scrum, or PRINCE2, or earn an industry-specific credential, like the CompTIA Project+ for information technology (IT) project managers.

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Google Project Management:

Start your path to a career in project management. In this program, you’ll learn in-demand skills that will have you job-ready in less than six months. No degree or experience is required.

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Average time: 6 month(s)

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Skills you'll build:

Organizational Culture, Career Development, Strategic Thinking, Change Management, Project Management, Stakeholder Management, Business Writing, Project Charter, Project Planning, Risk Management, Task Estimation, Procurement, Quality Management, Project Execution, Coaching, Influencing, Agile Management, Problem Solving, Scrum, Effective Communication

Read more: 12 Project Management Methodologies: Your Guide

Years of experience

Generally speaking, the more job experience you have, the more you can expect to earn. Luckily it doesn’t take long for experience to start translating into more money. 

According to Glassdoor, project managers with one to three years of experience earn an average base salary of $74,011 in the US, while professionals with 10-14 years of experience can earn $95,696 (as of December 2022).

Job title

You’ll find several roles in this career field. While your position might correspond to your seniority and level of experience, this is another way to look at typical salaries. According to the PMI Salary Survey, these alternate job titles pull in the following median annual salaries:

  • Project management specialist: $84,500

  • Project management consultant: $120,000

  • Program manager: $127,100

  • Portfolio manager: $140,000

  • Director of project management: $145,000

Here’s a similar breakdown of average annual US base salaries, based on Glassdoor data as of December 2022:

Industry

The industry you choose to work in can have a significant impact on your salary. While there are project managers working in a wide range of fields, these are among the highest paying (according to the PMI Salary Survey and Glassdoor):

Highest-paying industries

Earning Power: Project Management Salary Survey [4]Glassdoor (December 2022)
Consulting project manager base salary$132,500$98,716
Resources, energy, utilities project manager base salary$101,254$71,771
Pharmaceuticals project manager base salary$130,000$78,925

Other common industries

Earning Power: Project Management Salary SurveyGlassdoor (December 2022)
IT project manager base salary$120,000$94,141
Government project manager salary$115,000$85,837
Healthcare project manager salary$108,319$92,862
Construction project manager salary$107,659$87,139

Location

In many industries, including project management, where you live can impact how much money you make. Data from job posting site ZipRecruiter indicates that project management jobs in the San Francisco Bay, Boston, and New York City areas tend to have the highest annual salaries. 

When thinking about location, it’s important to take into consideration cost of living as well. The areas that correspond to the highest pay—often major cities—tend to come with higher living expenses.

As companies continue to digitize employee interaction and collaboration—a trend accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic—there may be more opportunities for online positions that allow you to work from anywhere. Companies like Amazon, HubSpot, Oracle, Twilio, and UnitedHealth Group have already begun hiring remote project managers.

As companies continue to digitize employee interaction and collaboration—a trend accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic—there may be more opportunity for online positions that allow you to work from anywhere.

Team and company size

The size of your organization (and the size of the team you manage) can also play a role in how much you earn each year. In general, the larger the team, the higher the median annual salary for project managers. According to PMI, those working in teams with fewer than five members reported a median salary of $105,000, while those with 20 or more brought in $130,000.

Project management methodology

While less significant than the other factors we’ve discussed, the project management methodology you work with could also impact your pay. For example, PMs who responded to the PMI Salary Survey who use Extreme Project Management techniques tended to earn more than those who used Agile, Lean, and Waterfall techniques.

It’s important to remember that methodologies and techniques often depend on the industry, company culture, and type of project.

Next steps

If you’re interested in a career in project management, start building a foundation of job-ready skills through the Google Professional Certificate in Project Management. These six courses can help prepare you for an entry-level role, and upon completion, you can apply directly with Google and some 130 other employers.

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professional certificate

Google Project Management:

Start your path to a career in project management. In this program, you’ll learn in-demand skills that will have you job-ready in less than six months. No degree or experience is required.

4.8

(72,532 ratings)

966,912 already enrolled

BEGINNER level

Average time: 6 month(s)

Learn at your own pace

Skills you'll build:

Organizational Culture, Career Development, Strategic Thinking, Change Management, Project Management, Stakeholder Management, Business Writing, Project Charter, Project Planning, Risk Management, Task Estimation, Procurement, Quality Management, Project Execution, Coaching, Influencing, Agile Management, Problem Solving, Scrum, Effective Communication

Article sources

1

US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics, https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes131082.htm." Accessed December 15, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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