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Average Salary
$64,144
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
5%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
33,935
Job Openings

Program Director Careers

A program director is a senior position that requires ample experience and knowledge in the field. The person who takes this role is responsible for managing the long-term activities of an organization that sells professional services, as opposed to manufactured goods.

A program director develops and implements the programs of an organization or institution after thorough research and preparation. He or she will define the goals of the program, create the budget, and a work plan setting up deadlines and milestones to create a realistic plan, to optimally achieve the objectives of the program.

Managers of different departments provide reports on the processes under their supervision, and the program director considers the results of these when making decisions. The program director is essentially responsible for the success of the program, so this position is not for the faint of heart.

What Does a Program Director Do

Producers and directors create motion pictures, television shows, live theater, commercials, and other performing arts productions. They interpret a writer’s script to entertain or inform an audience.

Duties

Producers and directors typically do the following:

  • Select scripts or topics for a film, show, commercial, or play
  • Audition and select cast members and the film or stage crew
  • Approve the design and financial aspects of a production
  • Oversee the production process, including performances, lighting, and choreography
  • Oversee the postproduction process, including editing, special effects, music selection, and a performance’s overall tone
  • Ensure that a project stays on schedule and within budget
  • Promote finished works or productions through interviews, advertisements, and film festivals

Large productions often have associate, assistant, and line producers who share responsibilities. For example, on a large movie set an executive producer is in charge of the entire production, and a line producer runs the day-to-day operations. A TV show may employ several assistant producers to whom the head or executive producer gives certain duties, such as supervising the costume and makeup team.

Similarly, large productions usually employ several assistant directors, who help the director with tasks such as making set changes or notifying the performers when it is their time to go onstage. The specific responsibilities of assistant producers or directors vary with the size and type of production they work on.

Producers make the business and financial decisions for a motion picture, TV show, commercial, or stage production. They raise money for the project and hire the director and crew. The crew may include set and costume designers, film and video editors, a musical director, a choreographer, and other workers. Some producers may assist in the selection of cast members. Producers set the budget and approve any major changes to the project. They make sure that the production is completed on time, and they are ultimately responsible for the final product.

Directors are responsible for the creative decisions of a production. They select cast members, conduct rehearsals, and direct the work of the cast and crew. During rehearsals, they work with the actors to help them more accurately portray their characters. For nonfiction video, such as documentaries or live broadcasts, directors choose topics or subjects to film. They investigate the topic and may interview relevant participants or experts on camera. Directors also work with cinematographers and other crew members to ensure the final product matches the overall vision.

Directors work with set designers, costume designers, location scouts, and art directors to build a project’s set. During a film’s postproduction phase, they work closely with film editors and music supervisors to make sure that the final product comes out the way the producer and director envisioned. Stage directors, unlike television or film directors who document their product with cameras, make sure the cast and crew give a consistently strong live performance. For more information, see the profiles on actors, writers and authors, film and video editors and camera operators, dancers and choreographers, and multimedia artists and animators.

Although directors are in charge of the creative aspects of a show, they ultimately answer to producers. Some directors also share producing duties for their own films.

How To Become a Program Director

Most producers and directors have a bachelor’s degree and several years of work experience in an occupation related to motion picture, TV, or theater production, such as an actor, film and video editor, or cinematographer.

Education

Producers and directors usually have a bachelor’s degree. Many students study film or cinema at colleges and universities. In these programs, students learn about film history, editing, screenwriting, cinematography, and the filmmaking process. Others major in writing, acting, journalism, or communication. Some producers earn a degree in business, arts management, or nonprofit management.

Many stage directors complete a degree in theater and some go on to receive a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. Classes may include directing, playwriting, set design, and acting. As of May 2015, the National Association of Schools of Theatre accredited more than 180 programs in theater arts.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Producers and directors might start out working in a theatrical management office as a business or company manager. In television or film, they might start out as an assistant or another low-profile studio job.

Advancement

As a producer’s or director’s reputation grows, he or she may work on larger projects that attract more attention or publicity.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Producers and directors must coordinate the work of many different people to finish a production on time and within budget.

Creativity. Because a script can be interpreted in different ways, directors must decide how they want to interpret it and then how to represent the script’s ideas on the screen or stage.

Leadership skills. A director instructs actors and helps them portray their characters in a believable manner. They also supervise the crew, who are responsible for the behind the scenes work.

Time-management skills. Producers must find and hire the best director and crew for the production. They make sure that all involved do their jobs effectively, keeping within a production schedule and a budget.

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Average Salary
$64,144
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
5%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
33,935
Job Openings

Program Director Career Paths

Top Careers Before Program Director

Top Careers After Program Director

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Program Director

Program Directors in America make an average salary of $64,144 per year or $31 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $111,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $37,000 per year.
Average Salary
$64,144

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
Atlanta, GA
Salary Range53k - 129k$83k$83,300
Washington, DC
Salary Range54k - 125k$82k$82,339
Baltimore, MD
Salary Range53k - 122k$81k$80,720
New York, NY
Salary Range52k - 117k$79k$78,613
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range53k - 106k$75k$75,338
Houston, TX
Salary Range45k - 109k$70k$70,373
$37k
$129k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Scottsdale Community College
Nursing Program Director
Nursing Program Director
Scottsdale Community College
Scottsdale Community College
03/31/2021
03/31/2021
$45,89803/31/2021
$45,898
Enviromental Programs Director
Enviromental Programs Director
Ada County Highway District
Ada County Highway District
03/31/2021
03/31/2021
$58,73903/31/2021
$58,739
Trio Program Director P
Trio Program Director P
Eastern Florida State College
Eastern Florida State College
03/30/2021
03/30/2021
$50,00003/30/2021
$50,000
Hamilton County
JFS Program Director-Family Resource Director)
JFS Program Director-Family Resource Director)
Hamilton County
Hamilton County
03/29/2021
03/29/2021
$68,03703/29/2021
$68,037
Kelly Services
Programs Director (Nonprofit Organization)
Programs Director (Nonprofit Organization)
Kelly Services
Kelly Services
03/28/2021
03/28/2021
$70,00003/28/2021
$70,000
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Program Director Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Program Director. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write a Program Director Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Program Director resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

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Program Director Demographics

Gender

female

55.4 %

male

39.8 %

unknown

4.7 %

Ethnicity

White

71.6 %

Hispanic or Latino

11.7 %

Black or African American

7.3 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

56.8 %

French

11.9 %

Portuguese

3.9 %
See More Demographics

Program Director Education

Majors

Business
15.5 %

Degrees

Bachelors

57.0 %

Masters

19.8 %

Associate

8.9 %

Top Colleges for Program Directors

1. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

2. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

3. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

4. Maine Maritime Academy

Castine, ME • Public

In-State Tuition
$13,478
Enrollment
979

5. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

6. California State University - Bakersfield

Bakersfield, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$7,309
Enrollment
9,142

7. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Public

In-State Tuition
$9,808
Enrollment
13,990

8. Villanova University

Villanova, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,308
Enrollment
6,819

9. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Public

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

10. Bentley University

Waltham, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$49,880
Enrollment
4,177
See More Education Info
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Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Program Director

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 12.5% of program directors listed procedures on their resume, but soft skills such as creativity and leadership skills are important as well.

Best States For a Program Director

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a program director. The best states for people in this position are Georgia, Alaska, Maryland, and New York. Program directors make the most in Georgia with an average salary of $82,554. Whereas in Alaska and Maryland, they would average $82,292 and $80,073, respectively. While program directors would only make an average of $77,767 in New York, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. District of Columbia

Total Program Director Jobs:
379
Highest 10% Earn:
$163,000
Location Quotient:
1.97
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. New York

Total Program Director Jobs:
2,042
Highest 10% Earn:
$154,000
Location Quotient:
1.39
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Georgia

Total Program Director Jobs:
1,133
Highest 10% Earn:
$168,000
Location Quotient:
0.96
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Program Director Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ program directors and discovered their number of program director opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that YMCA of Greater Indianapolis was the best, especially with an average salary of $35,186. YWCA USA follows up with an average salary of $42,287, and then comes Boy Scouts of America with an average of $38,089. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a program director. The employers include Bon Secours Health System, Acadia Pharmaceuticals, and Emory University

1. YMCA of Greater Indianapolis
3.6
Avg. Salary: 
$35,186
Program Directors Hired: 
333+
2. YWCA USA
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$42,287
Program Directors Hired: 
180+
3. Boy Scouts of America
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$38,089
Program Directors Hired: 
176+
4. CampCo
4.1
Avg. Salary: 
$57,927
Program Directors Hired: 
175+
5. IBM
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$165,829
Program Directors Hired: 
154+
6. Dungarvin
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$43,563
Program Directors Hired: 
150+

Program Director Videos