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.

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 managerial skills, business skills and problem-solving skills.

Learn more about what a Program Manager does

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 66.5% of program managers have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 19.5% 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.

Learn More About How To Become a Program Manager

Program Manager Career Paths

Average Salary for a Program Manager

Program Managers in America make an average salary of $96,084 per year or $46 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $141,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $65,000 per year.
Average Program Manager Salary
$96,084 Yearly
$46.19 hourly

What Am I Worth?

How To Become a Program Manager
How To Become a Program Manager Career Overview

States With The Most Program Manager Jobs

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

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Program Manager Jobs By State

Program Manager Education

Program Manager Majors

26.1 %

Program Manager Degrees


66.5 %


19.5 %


9.2 %

Top Colleges for Program Managers

1. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition

2. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

3. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition

4. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition

5. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Private

In-State Tuition

6. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition

7. University of Washington

Seattle, WA • Private

In-State Tuition

8. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Private

In-State Tuition

9. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

10. University of Maryland - College Park

College Park, MD • Private

In-State Tuition

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, 11.5% of program managers listed project management on their resume, but soft skills such as managerial skills and business skills are important as well.

  • Project Management, 11.5%
  • Program Management, 11.0%
  • Oversight, 5.6%
  • Customer Service, 4.1%
  • Infrastructure, 3.3%
  • Other Skills, 64.5%

Choose From 10+ Customizable Program Manager Resume templates

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

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Program Manager Demographics

Program Manager Gender Distribution


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

  • Among program managers, 47.1% of them are women, while 52.9% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among program managers is White, which makes up 70.0% of all program managers.

  • The most common foreign language among program managers is Spanish at 46.8%.

Work Experience Programs For Program Managers

Virtual work experience programs replicate work at top companies and help you gain the skills to be successful when applying and working there. In only a few hours, learn the relevant tools necessary to complete a typical work day at that company. Virtual work experience programs are 100% free, open-access, and self-paced. No experience or application is required!

Corporate Analyst Development Program (CADP) Program

Company: JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Cost: Free

Duration: 4.25-5.75 hours

Wealth Management Program

Company: Goodbody

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Software Engineering Program

Company: Blackbird Australia

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-10 hours

Cyber Security Management Program

Company: ANZ Australia

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Software Development Program

Company: Standard Bank

Cost: Free

Duration: 4.5-5.5 hours

Process Design Program

Company: Accenture North America

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Public Health Policy & Management Program

Company: Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Developer Program

Company: Accenture Nordics

Cost: Free

Duration: 2-3 hours

Asset Management Program

Company: JPMorgan Chase

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6.5 hours

Getting Ready to Join the Workforce Program

Company: Standard Bank

Cost: Free

Duration: 4-4.5 hours

Online Courses For Program Manager That You May Like

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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, New Jersey, Washington, and New York. Program managers make the most in California with an average salary of $103,085. Whereas in New Jersey and Washington, they would average $95,411 and $93,447, respectively. While program managers would only make an average of $91,607 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. Rhode Island

Total Program Manager Jobs: 287
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. Washington

Total Program Manager Jobs: 3,252
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. California

Total Program Manager Jobs: 6,973
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Program Managers

How Do Program Manager Rate Their Jobs?

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Program Management - Taking The Lead. March 2020


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What do you like the most about working as Program Manager?

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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 was the best, especially with an average salary of $140,450. Amazon follows up with an average salary of $112,975, and then comes Google with an average of $147,694. 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 Medtronic, Silicon Valley Bank, and World Wide Technology

Most Common Employers For Program Manager

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
6General Electric$116,906$56.20223
7Northrop Grumman$115,172$55.37489

Program Manager Videos

Becoming a Program Manager FAQs

Program Director Vs. Program Manager

A program director is tasked with the daily running of the company as well as meeting any future goals through proper planning, while the program manager is tasked with overseeing the employees who are completing the required tasks.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Program Manager?

It takes 8 years of professional experience to become a program manager. That is the time it takes to learn specific program manager skills, but does not account for time spent in formal education. If you include the normal education requirements to complete a college degree, then it takes 11 to 13 years years to become a program manager.

Do Program Managers Get Paid Well?

Yes, program managers get paid well. Program managers tend to make salaries between $80,000 and $125,000 per year. As with any role, a program manager's salary is dependent on factors such as location, company, experience, and education.

Is Program Manager A Good Career?

Yes, program management is a good career. Many program managers enjoy their jobs because no two days are alike, and they can see their planning and hard work come to fruition.

Typically, program managers have high annual salaries, handle greater business challenges, have opportunities to mentor project managers, and opportunities for career growth.

What Does A Program Manager Do In The Government?

As a program manager in the government, you will supervise and implement programs designed by administrators, elected officials, or stakeholders. Your responsibilities can vary depending on the agency and can range from total supervisory duties to developing and executing program goals.

What Is The Difference Between A Program Manager And A Program Director?

The difference between a program manager and a program director is that a program director has a higher-level position with more responsibility. While a program manager typically oversees one program, program directors are responsible for all the programs within the organization.

What Is The Difference Between A Program Manager And A Project Manager?

The difference between a program manager and a project manager is that program managers focus on the overall strategy while project managers oversee the individual projects that help execute the strategy.

What Qualifications Do You Need To Be A Program Manager?

To become a program manager, you should have at minimum a bachelor's degree. Program managers should also have excellent communications skills, be organized, and have the ability to lead and work well under pressure.

Program Manager Vs. Product Manager

A program manager takes a lateral view of the organization and identifies interdependencies among projects, products, and strategic initiatives, while a product manager is forward-focused and looks at all of the elements needed to drive their products forward

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