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Working as a Program Manager

A program manager is someone who is able to clearly articulate the program's strategy. In addition, they're constantly evaluating projects that are needed to reach the program's goals.

A super important skill for you to have in this position is definitely communication. If you can't communicate to other people than forget it. Or work on it. Which you'll be able to do while you're in college because program managers need a bachelor's degree.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a program manager. For example, did you know that they make an average of $47.55 an hour? That's $98,897 a year!

What Does a Program Manager Do

There are certain skills that many program managers 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 analytical skills, customer-service skills and leadership skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a program manager, we found that a lot of resumes listed 26.9% of program managers included project management, while 7.5% of resumes included procedures, and 4.4% of resumes included oversight. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the program manager job title. But what industry to start with? Most program managers actually find jobs in the technology and manufacturing industries.

How To Become a Program Manager

If you're interested in becoming a program manager, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 41.2% of program managers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 38.6% of program managers have master's degrees. Even though most program managers have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a program manager. When we researched the most common majors for a program manager, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or master's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on program manager resumes include associate degree degrees or doctoral degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a program manager. In fact, many program manager jobs require experience in a role such as project manager. Meanwhile, many program managers also have previous career experience in roles such as senior project manager or manager.

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Average Salary$98,897

Program Manager Jobs

Program Manager Career Paths

Top Careers Before Program Manager

Top Careers After Program Manager

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 Manager

Program Managers in America make an average salary of $98,897 per year or $48 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $141,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $69,000 per year.
Average Salary
$98,897

Best Paying Cities

Average Salary
Salary Range86k - 162k$118k$118,428
Salary Range73k - 136k$100k$100,076
Salary Range73k - 136k$100k$100,020
Salary Range71k - 133k$97k$97,404
Salary Range72k - 128k$96k$96,323
Salary Range66k - 133k$95k$94,590
$53k
$162k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Sustainability Program Manager
Sustainability Program Manager
Summit County
Summit County
10/31/2020
10/31/2020
$64,23010/31/2020
$64,230
MGR Reliability Programs (Comed North REG Proj & Reliability Engineering)
MGR Reliability Programs (Comed North REG Proj & Reliability Engineering)
Exelon
Exelon
10/31/2020
10/31/2020
$50,00010/31/2020
$50,000
Public Disclosure Program Manager #26
City of Seattle-Seattle Information Technology Department
City of Seattle-Seattle Information Technology Department
10/31/2020
10/31/2020
$93,31010/31/2020
$93,310
Schneidermans Furniture
Interior Design Program Manager
Interior Design Program Manager
Schneidermans Furniture
Schneidermans Furniture
10/31/2020
10/31/2020
$50,00010/31/2020
$50,000
Apac Program Manager
Apac Program Manager
University of Arkansas
University of Arkansas
10/30/2020
10/30/2020
$35,56810/30/2020
$35,568
See More Recent Salaries

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Program Manager Demographics

Gender

male

51.1%

female

45.0%

unknown

3.9%

Ethnicity

White

70.8%

Hispanic or Latino

12.2%

Black or African American

8.0%

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

46.8%

French

13.1%

German

5.7%
See More Demographics

Program Manager Education

Majors

Degrees

Bachelors

41.2%

Masters

38.6%

Associate

6.7%

Top Colleges for Program Managers

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

Tuition and fees
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

2. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA

Tuition and fees
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

3. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Tuition and fees
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

4. Boston University

Boston, MA

Tuition and fees
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

5. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA

Tuition and fees
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108

6. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

Tuition and fees
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

7. University of Washington

Seattle, WA

Tuition and fees
$11,207
Enrollment
30,905

8. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX

Tuition and fees
$10,610
Enrollment
40,329

9. New York University

New York, NY

Tuition and fees
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

10. University of Maryland - College Park

College Park, MD

Tuition and fees
$10,595
Enrollment
30,184
See More Education Info

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Program Manager

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a Program Manager

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, 26.9% of program managers listed project management on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and customer-service skills are important as well.

Best States For a Program Manager

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a program manager. The best states for people in this position are California, Rhode Island, West Virginia, and New Jersey. Program managers make the most in California with an average salary of $110,387. Whereas in Rhode Island and West Virginia, they would average $103,257 and $101,242, respectively. While program managers would only make an average of $100,274 in New Jersey, 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. California

Total Program Manager Jobs:
8,228
Highest 10% Earn:
$190,000
Location Quotient:
1.43
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. Rhode Island

Total Program Manager Jobs:
157
Highest 10% Earn:
$180,000
Location Quotient:
0.99
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. New Jersey

Total Program Manager Jobs:
1,359
Highest 10% Earn:
$175,000
Location Quotient:
0.99
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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Program Manager 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 manager. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

At Zippia, we went through countless program manager 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.

Learn How To Write a Program Manager Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless program manager 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.

View Detailed Information

How Do Program Manager Rate Their Jobs?

Zippia Official Logo

5.0

Program Management - Taking The Lead. March 2020

5.0

Zippia Official LogoProgram Management - Taking The Lead. March 2020

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Top Program Manager 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 managers and discovered their number of program manager opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Microsoft Corporation was the best, especially with an average salary of $124,093. Amazon follows up with an average salary of $44,668, and then comes IBM with an average of $84,673. 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 manager. The employers include Tesla, Science Applications International ., and Leidos

1. Microsoft
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$124,093
Program Managers Hired: 
5,551+
2. Amazon
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$44,668
Program Managers Hired: 
1,064+
3. IBM
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$84,673
Program Managers Hired: 
794+
4. Cisco Systems
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$113,155
Program Managers Hired: 
769+
5. Google
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$127,289
Program Managers Hired: 
753+
6. HP
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$88,383
Program Managers Hired: 
677+

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Recently Added Program Manager Jobs

Updated October 2, 2020