How To Make $100,000 a Year as a Project Manager

OK, so we’re fast approaching February. Our resolutions are shot for the most part. But there’s one lots of us make that could be attainable: earn more money. How about $100,000 a year? says it has four key insights to earn $100,000 a year. There’s just something about a six-figure salary that sounds enticing. Plus, there’s the bragging rights of it making you among the top 20 percent of income earners. (The article says $360,000 annually puts you in the top 1 percent.)

OK, as the article points out, there is more than just bragging rights when you earn $100k. (Plus – you really shouldn’t be bragging about your salary, at least not to co-workers.) “Once you reach the six figure income level, you are likely to have staff to manage. That means you have the challenge (and rewards) of developing people.

“Further, a six figure income means you have developed significant career capital. You will have more and more options to choose your projects and increase your satisfaction,” the article says. In other words, the more you make, the more in control you typically are.

There’s some good advice in the article that moves beyond the standard apply for better jobs and network to find out who is paying more. The first suggestion (of four) is do your research. As the article points out, “You need to start by discovering the best opportunities and capabilities of six figure project managers. Fortunately, the Project Management Institute (PMI) has taken the guess work out of earning a high income. It says the four factors that affect project manager compensation are:

Work Experience
Project Complexity
When it comes to work experience, these observations are made:

For Early Career Project Managers: If you have less than 10 years of experience, reaching the $100,000 salary will be challenging.
For Mid To Late Career Project Managers: In many industries, ten years of experience starts to open new experiences. A successful PM with a record of accomplishments should be making this much after 10 years.
With respect to education, you have to be a believer and be what is considered an enthusiastic achiever. “This elite group regularly looks for educational experiences to develop their skills and knowledge. They regard their PDU requirements to maintain the PMP certification as a minimum, rather than a maximum,” the article says.

How does your industry impact your earnings? According to the article, “The Top 5 Industries That Pay Top Project Manager Salaries

Consulting: $125,000
Resources (Agriculture, Mining etc): $122,000
Pharmaceuticals: $120,000
Aerospace: $117,000
Engineering: $113,000
The article says to use this information to consider switching industries. “You might be in a declining industry. Or your industry may simply not place a high value on project management. In either case, advancement to a higher project manager salary will be easier if you switch to an industry where your contribution is likely to be valued,” is a good observation.

Project complexity is the fourth and final element to boosting your take-home pay to more than $100,000. “By any measure, our world is becoming more complex. Despite these challenges, organizations and companies are determined to improve and make changes. That’s why your ability to manage complex projects impacts your potential earnings,” the article says.

Want to make more money? Tackle projects that are larger in scope is the solution. “To reach a $100,000 income, you need to take on projects with large budgets. As a rule of thumb, I would suggest focusing on projects with budgets over $1 million. Of course, you will need to tailor this concept to meet the parameters of your organization,” the article adds.

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