Project Management Jobs and Career Opportunities

Last updated: May 26, 2020

Are you considering a career in project management, but think you’re limited to roles in tech, engineering, or construction? While those three industries have been the foundational fields for project managers, you’ll find your career options are wide open now, with challenging roles for generalists and specialists in creative, governmental, and science-based industries. You never know where you might find project management jobs and career opportunities, so let’s job-hunt!


The Basic Skills of Project Management

Before we sample the fields you might find fascinating as a project manager, let’s do a quick refresher on the knowledge base every project manager needs. Even if you’re a mid-level job-hunter, you might like a reminder of the highlights as you spiff up your résumé. According to the Project Management Institute, project managers are goal-oriented change agents who use “their skills and expertise to inspire a sense of shared purpose within the project team.” Project management requires flexibility. You will constantly shift gears, from overseeing big-picture workflow concerns to following up on the details of regulatory protocols, from managing a team to reporting progress to your bosses, from navigating complex political concerns to confirming a delivery of paper towels. Project managers must be organized, adaptable, enthusiastic, and savvy.

 

Your tasks could include any or all of the following:

  • Scope management
  • Time management
  • Budget management
  • General management
  • Negotiation
  • Communication
  • Team building
  • Lifecycle management
  • Product management

 

Beyond seeking candidates with strategic competence, recruiters will focus on your leadership qualities, prior experience, planning, people skills, and communication. To land project management jobs, training and credentials are indispensable.

male construction worker looking up project management jobs

Fields You Never Considered for Project Management

Across industries, career prospects and compensation for project managers remain solid. According to a study by PMI, demand for project managers is expected to grow 33 percent across 11 countries by 2027. In its salary survey published January 22, 2020, PMI reports even better news for project managers. Of its 32,000 survey respondents, 72 percent enjoyed a compensation increase in the previous 12 months. In the United States, the median salary reported was $116,000.

 

If you find this data makes a compelling argument for launching or accelerating your project management career, let’s find compelling fields you might not have known are in need of entry-level and mid-career project managers, with sample job titles from recent postings on Indeed.

 

Amusement Parks, Zoos, and Museums

If it appeals to you to work behind the scenes at some of the happiest places on earth, consider the booming industry of themed attractions. The world’s 25 most popular amusement parks in 2015 hosted 236 million visitors, so it’s big business. Theme parks offer challenging work for a project manager. Building and maintaining theme parks demands meeting tight timelines, managing stakeholders with diverse interests, and staying in the lead with technology. You can consider staff positions or jobs with firms that support theme parks, zoos, theatrical productions, aquariums, and water parks. Possible job perk: A roller coaster ride after your midday meeting.

 

Sample entry-level job titles:

  • Construction coordinator
  • Digital project manager
  • Project integration intern
  • Design management intern
  • Assistant aquarium project manager
  • Assistant facilities manager

 

Sample mid-career job titles:

  • Construction project manager
  • Engagement project manager
  • Entertainment construction project manager
  • Exhibit project manager
  • Project controls manager
  • Retail construction manager

male and female worker looking up project management jobs and career opportunities

Media, Television, and Film

If you want to play a pivotal role in the production of television, radio, film, and streaming services, consider a project manager position in media. You’ll oversee budgets, schedules, and staff in a studio, production headquarters, or on location. Often called production managers, media project managers have a range of expertise from accounting to studio management to talent management. Your work my bridge the gap between creatives (actors, directors, writers) and administration (finance, human resources, vendors, distribution network). Possible job perk: Seeing the results of your hard work on the big (or little) screen.  

 

Sample entry-level job titles:

  • Creative project assistant
  • Assistant streaming project manager
  • Multimedia project manager
  • Data analyst for media seller/project manager

 

Sample mid-career job titles:

  • Post-production project manager
  • Creative project manager
  • Senior technical project manager
  • Growth project manager
  • Product design manager
  • Programming project manager

 

Aerospace  

If you’re ready to take on the rocket science of project management, consider a career in the aerospace industry. It comes close to fulfilling that childhood dream of becoming an astronaut, but even if you don’t work as a project manager for NASA, there are defense contractors, companies launching satellites to provide high-speed internet to every corner of the globe and weather forecasting for the military, manufacturing firms supplying flight missions with their equipment, high-tech factories building spacecraft, and laboratory enterprises doing invaluable research, just to name a few support fields. Most jobs in the zero-gravity space demand STEM degrees and advanced training, plus project management certification and security clearance. Possible job perk: Getting to drop the word “payload” into watercooler chitchat.

 

Sample entry-level job titles:

  • Program manager, aerospace manufacturing
  • Aerospace project manager
  • Junior project manager
  • Project scheduler, aerospace
  • Research and development deputy project manager

 

Sample mid-career job titles:

  • Avionics project manager
  • Modular launch project manager
  • Aerospace program manager
  • Master production scheduler
  • Program manager of space resilience and survivability 

 

Environment

If you are focused on sustainability and the protection of air, water, land, and wildlife, consider a career as an environmental project manager. Often working for or with regulation agencies, you will often visit project sites, coordinate with stakeholders, and oversee compliance, budgets, construction and maintenance. In addition to government agencies, your work could take you to nonprofits, utilities, manufacturing, or natural resources management. Research is important to most project managers working in sustainability, as is a background in STEM coursework. Many positions require technical experience, for example, in mining, clean energy, pollution remediation, or specific habitat expertise. Possible job perk: Saving the planet.

 

Sample entry-level job titles:

  • Associate project manager, clean energy
  • Nuclear project manager
  • Field project manager
  • Ecological project manager
  • Conservation project manager
  • Environmental permitting project manager
  • Restoration project manager, operations

 

Sample mid-career job titles:

  • Renewable energy project manager
  • Experiment project manager
  • Asbestos senior project manager
  • Habitat restoration project manager
  • Principle project manager, engineering design
  • Third party logistics project manager

 

Pharmaceuticals

If you’re interested in improving wellness and quality of life across the world, consider a career as a pharmaceutical project manager. You will work closely with physicians, scientists, and marketing professionals as new medicines and treatments are tested, monitored, brought to market, and promoted. Pharmaceutical project managers often deal with compliance issues and legal standards, analyzing reports, managing documentation, and monitoring progress. This field offers a double challenge if you’re also developing skills in process improvement, as pharmaceutical companies are looking for smart ways to deliver their products to doctors, hospitals, and the public. This is a good field for specialists with backgrounds in biology, chemistry, research and development, sales, operations, and compliance. Possible job perk: Helping to find a cure for cancer or the coronavirus or the common cold.

 

Sample entry-level job titles:

  • Pharma project manager
  • Project manager, clinical R&D
  • Pharmacy compliance project manager
  • Stability project management specialist/scientist
  • Project coordinator/pharmacist intern
  • Bio/pharmaceutical project manager trainee

 

Sample mid-career job titles:

  • Clinical project manager
  • Associate director, program management, cancer research
  • Operational excellence project manager
  • Bioanalytical project manager, vaccine sciences
  • Regulatory affairs project manager
  • Biopharma program manager
  • Project manager, manufacturing

coworkers exploring project management jobs and career opportunities

Certification from USF Can Help You Land the Job

If you’re ready to become a project manager or make a power move to the next level in project management career, USF’s Project Management courses will give you the skills to prepare for Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification. All our project management courses are now live-online.

 

Ready to take charge of your project management career?

Register Now