A program lead is an individual who is in charge of a team that performs a certain purpose in an organization. Most program leads find their jobs in the technology and healthcare industries. Their role is to guide a group or team with the project's completion in mind. They help start a program and supervise it.

They oversee projects or tasks until their completion. They also help retain engagement throughout the entire process and give feedback to management. An example of a project that requires a project lead in healthcare is a drug trial focus group. They must have excellent communication skills, leadership skills, and program management skills.

According to the bureau of statistics, between 2018-2028, the job will grow by 80% producing 33,800 new jobs. The average salary is $36.1 per hour, translating to $75,081 a year. They need a bachelor's degree or a master's degree, although it is possible to become one with a high school diploma or GED with experience in the industry.

What Does a Program Lead Do

There are certain skills that many program leads have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed flexibility, physical strength and leadership skills.

Learn more about what a Program Lead does

How To Become a Program Lead

If you're interested in becoming a program lead, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 63.1% of program leads have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 11.0% of program leads have master's degrees. Even though most program leads have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become a Program Lead

Program Lead Career Paths

Average Salary for a Program Lead

Program Leads in America make an average salary of $100,727 per year or $48 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $171,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $59,000 per year.
Average Program Lead Salary
$100,727 Yearly
$48.43 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Program Lead

The role of a program lead includes a wide range of responsibilities. These responsibilities can vary based on an individual's specific job, company, or industry.Here are some general program lead responsibilities:

  • Serve as a key member of the program leadership team, ensuring successful program performance by ensuring conforming products
  • Lead cross-functional program teams to meet project schedule, cost, quality, durability, performance
  • Reporting to the regional vice president of strategy & planning, the director, strategic program lead is responsible for driving strategic programs

There are several types of program lead, including:

Group Leader


As they sang in "Peter Pan," we're following the leader. But this time, it's the group leader that we're following. Whether you're managing or training, the group you're leading is going to follow.

Group leaders make sure no group member is left behind. So you need to have great communication skills in order to relay clear instructions to the group. Those skills will also come in handy when you're training new employees.

Becoming a group leader is a great honor. That means you're in charge of a whole team. And honestly, there's nothing more honorable than being put in charge. Sure, it's a lot of responsibility, but we think you can handle it.

  • Average Salary: $100,480
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Recreation Leader


A recreation leader develops sports and recreational programs that are well suited for a company's client base. They schedule the use of facilities so that activities do not conflict with one another. They ensure the right equipment is ready for all activities and also ensures they are functioning properly.

Further duties include ordering supplies needed for certain activities and advertises the availability of certain activities in order to draw others in, overseeing other recreational staff members and volunteers, securing funding for special projects and events, evaluating the effectiveness of certain programs, and makes modifications to them as needed, adhering to safety protocols and ensuring that other participants do likewise.

Skills required for this position include teamwork, among others. They should also be familiar with a variety of different sports and activities and have a wide range of likes and interests. They should enjoy helping others develop physically, mentally, and socially and be able to foster a sense of pride and teamwork in others. Good supervisory skills and the ability to lead others easily are also essential. A high school diploma is sufficient to qualify for this role. They earn between $16,470 and $38,460 per year, which amounts to between $7.91 and $18.49 per hour.

  • Average Salary: $30,040
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Program Supervisor


The role of the program supervisor is to oversee and track the scheduling, pricing, and technical performance of company programs. He/She is in charge of helping in negotiating contracts and contractual changes. He/She supervises the preparations of proposals, plans, specifications, and financial conditions of contracts. Furthermore, he/she develops new business and expands product lines.

Also, he/she ensures adherence to master plans and schedules and develops solutions to program problems. Additionally, he/she suggests changes to improve the efficiency of processes. The program supervisor manages report workloads, performance reviews and oversees training and development.

For this position, you need a bachelor's degree in a related field with at least four years of related experience. You must be conversant with the operations of the translation and localization industry. You must possess leadership, organization, management, multitasking, analytical, negotiation, conflict resolution, and communication skills. These experts are paid around $50,533 per annum. Their salary falls between $33,000 and $77,000.

  • Average Salary: $45,460
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

States With The Most Program Lead Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active program lead jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where program leads earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Program Lead Jobs By State

RankStateNumber of JobsAverage Salary
4New York1,645$125,240
10New Jersey789$105,192
12North Carolina766$96,477
27New Mexico395$48,839
30South Carolina336$71,311
36New Hampshire205$103,224
37South Dakota205$77,734
40North Dakota159$80,721
41West Virginia152$112,542
48Rhode Island22$109,327

Program Lead Education

Program Lead Majors

16.1 %

Program Lead Degrees


63.1 %


13.7 %


11.0 %

Top Colleges for Program Leads

1. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition




2. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




3. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




4. SUNY Stony Brook

Stony Brook, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




5. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




6. Duke University

Durham, NC • Private

In-State Tuition




7. Howard University

Washington, DC • Private

In-State Tuition




8. SUNY at Albany

Albany, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




9. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition




10. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition




Top Skills For a Program Lead

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, 13.4% of program leads listed project management on their resume, but soft skills such as flexibility and physical strength are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Program Lead Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Program Lead templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Program Lead resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Program Lead diversity

Program Lead Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among program leads, 59.1% of them are women, while 40.9% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among program leads is White, which makes up 62.5% of all program leads.

  • The most common foreign language among program leads is Spanish at 66.1%.

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Best States For a Program Lead

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a program lead. The best states for people in this position are New York, Massachusetts, West Virginia, and Rhode Island. Program leads make the most in New York with an average salary of $125,240. Whereas in Massachusetts and West Virginia, they would average $115,816 and $112,542, respectively. While program leads would only make an average of $109,327 in Rhode Island, 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. New York

Total Program Lead Jobs: 1,645
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. Michigan

Total Program Lead Jobs: 1,665
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. West Virginia

Total Program Lead Jobs: 152
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Program Leads

How Do Program Leads Rate Their Jobs?

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Top Program Lead 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 leads and discovered their number of program lead opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Think Together was the best, especially with an average salary of $32,640. Boys & Girls Clubs of America follows up with an average salary of $45,791, and then comes CBRE Group with an average of $86,389. 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 lead. The employers include Boehringer Ingelheim, Snowflake Computing, and MassMutual

Most Common Employers For Program Lead

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
3The Dow Chemical Company$118,540$56.9944
5General Electric$117,364$56.4258
7CBRE Group$86,389$41.53104
9Boys & Girls Clubs of America$45,791$22.01299
10Wisconsin Youth$39,935$19.2046

Program Lead Videos

Becoming a Program Lead FAQs

How Do I Get A Job As A Program Manager?

To get a job as a program manager, a person should first have a bachelor's degree. Some employers may require a master's degree or other advanced credentials in their specific industry. Common degree programs for program directors include business administration, human resources, or communication.

How Much Do Program Leads Make?

Program leads make an average of around $80,000 annually. However, the average range is from $60,000 per year to over $100,000 in a year.

The salaries for program leads can vary depending on region, education, and experience level. Other than these two factors, salary expectations for program leads largely rely on experience level and developing skills that will make you valuable.

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