Project Manager Salaries: How Much Does a Project Manager Make?

Project management is an excellent career path for anyone to take. However, earning your certification is only a first step. After that you’ll need to choose a career path and stick with it. Luckily, there are plenty of options when getting started as a project manager.

Each job title available to you as a project manager comes with a different set of upsides. Salaries and job outlook are the biggest and easiest to see overall— consider data gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that show an average project manager salary over $80,000 for nearly 1.5 million project management professionals.

project manager high salaries

Interested in learning more about how much you can earn? Keep reading to learn more about project management salaries for different job titles:

IT Project Manager Salary

Anyone interested in applying their project management knowledge to IT may be in luck. There’s currently a great deal of work work for IT project managers. In fact, the job outlook for this position is expected to grow 11% in the next 10 years according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Salaries are also good for people with this position. Payscale reports that IT project managers make an average of $88k a year. Additionally, the best paying cities for this career are Washington DC, New York City, and Houston, Texas. On the other hand, the lowest paying city for IT project managers is Chicago, Illinois. 

Keep these statistics in mind when deciding where you want to work as an IT project manager and you should be able to avoid any unwelcome surprises!

“IT project managers make an average of $88k a year. Additionally, the best paying cities for this career are Washington DC, New York City, and Houston, Texas.”

project manager average salaries

Construction Project Manager Salary

Job outlook for construction project managers is comparable to the other branches of project management. Employment of construction project managers is expected to grow 11% by 2030— just like with IT project managers. Thanks to this, you can easily see how choosing this field can lead to great employment opportunities.

Salaries for construction project managers are slightly lower compared to other fields. Currently, their average annual salary according to Payscale is $75,693. High paying positions can be more easily found in New York City, Los Angeles, and Seattle. On the flip side, the lowest paying cities are Atlanta and Denver. Knowing this should help you choose where you want to work down the line.

Architectural Project Manager Salary

Architectural project management is the one area where the job market is below average. The BLS currently reports their expected employment growth to only be 4%; this is half of the average growth for all occupations. Clearly, it won’t be as easy to break into this field compared to the others.

Salaries for architectural project managers are fairly similar to construction management. This is likely due to the large amount of overlap between the two fields. Ziprecruiter currently reports their average annual project manager salaries as $75k a year. Many of the highest paying cities for architectural project managers are in California, including San Mateo, Berkeley, and Richmond. Keep that in mind if you live on the west coast— it may be worth moving for higher pay, but you need to consider the cost of living in these areas as well.

“Many of the highest paying cities for architectural project managers are in California, including San Mateo, Berkeley, and Richmond. Keep that in mind if you live on the west coast— it may be worth moving for higher pay, but you need to consider the cost of living in these areas as well.”

Entry Level Project Manager Salary

Now that you know about some of the specialized branches, it’s time to switch gears into more general information. This information serves as a great baseline to use when looking at salaries for project management branches that don’t have as much information online.

Those just starting out as project managers won’t make as much compared to people with more experience under their belts. Ziprecruiter states that the national average salary for entry level project management positions is $45,737 each year, or $22 an hour. Currently New York City and San Mateo, CA offer the highest starting salaries for project managers.

project manager salary

Assistant Project Manager Salary

Sticking with your position for a while can naturally see you moving up the ladder and getting a better paid position. Alternatively, you can leverage your work experience to find a position higher up in a different company. Becoming an assistant project manager will be the next step on your career path regardless of how you achieve it.

Here’s the good news— your new position as an assistant project manager will come with a wage increase. Payscale reports that assistant project managers make an average of $58,230 each year ($19.39/hour). Once again, all the highest paying jobs are in California and New York.

Senior Project Manager Salary

The last step of your career path will be working as a senior project manager. By this point you likely have over a decade of experience and a position that matches your skills. This quite naturally comes with a much higher annual salary compared to your earlier positions.

Anyone working as a senior project manager can expect an average yearly wage of over $100k a year. In fact, Payscale reports that the average salary for this position is $104,496 a year ($61.58 per hour). At that rate, you can easily live a comfortable life wherever you want.

“The last step of your career path will be working as a senior project manager. By this point you likely have over a decade of experience and a position that matches your skills. This quite naturally comes with a much higher annual salary compared to your earlier positions.”

Wrapping Up

After reading all this you should clearly see the opportunities project managers have available to them. However, there’s one extra thing you’ll want to keep in mind. Many of the highest paying cities have an equally high cost of living. Moving there may cause you to have less spending money overall. Payscale has a great tool to compare the cost of living for the area you’re in to where job offerings are. Use this to stay informed when looking for work and you should have a great time with your future career!


Project Manager Salary FAQs

Q: Can you make 100k as a project manager?

A: Yes! You certainly can, so long as you gather enough work experience. Senior project managers tend to make over $100k a year on average, but that number can be even higher depending on your experience level and where you live.

Q: Do you need a degree to become a project manager?

A: You don’t need a 4 year degree to become a project manager, but having one makes the process much faster and easier. Anyone interested in earning their Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI) must typically complete a 4 year degree and 3 years of work experience. However, those without a degree can instead apply with 5 years of work experience and CAPM certification.

Q: What is the highest paying project management job?

A: This largely depends on where you live, but typically the best paying position for project managers is senior project manager. People in this position earn over $100k each year.

Q: How do I become a project manager?

A: The easiest way to become a project manager is to earn your PMP certification. You must complete a 4 year degree and 3 years of work experience to get your PMP certification. After that, you need to apply for and pass the PMP exam. Additionally, keep in mind that you’ll need to complete continuing education requirements every 3 years.

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