Turn Your Military Experience into a Career in Project Management

Project management skills

Did you know that if you are a military veteran, you likely have the project management skills to start a career within the civilian workforce?

Military veterans have project management skills

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI) ®, “Leading cross-functional teams to ensure accomplishment of mission objectives (strategic leadership skill), managing budgets and scheduling activities (technical skills), and conflict mediation and performance appraisal (soft skills), are all key proficiencies military veterans and project managers share.”

Mark Langley, PMI® President and CEO
Mark Langley, PMI® President and CEO

According to PMI® President and CEO, Mark A. Langley:

“Many veterans have project management experience—just under a different name. The challenge is in the translation and repackaging of their skill sets so that hiring managers spot their skills. Mission-related often translates to ‘projectized,’ and the government and military are highly projectized environments, which make many veterans a natural fit for the project management world.”

“[After] a career in the Marine Corps…I moved into a Marine Communication field and my career progressed rapidly. I earned my PMP® certification, top-secret clearance, and began my Master’s in technical project management. Over the past three-plus years, my pay has increased by US$21,000, and I have earned valuable experience leading three successful projects that were delivered early, under budget, and with complete requirement satisfaction.”

– USMC, now a Project Engineer*

What does the profession look like as a whole?

The Project Management Institute® describes the future of the career to hold “outstanding opportunity for job and career growth at substantial salary levels”. As a matter of fact, the research done by the Anderson Economic Group for PMI® indicates that they expect an increase of almost 22 million new jobs between now and 2027, leading to an 8.5% increase of employment in the project management profession.

As far as the salary goes? The average annual salary of a project manager in the Tampa Bay area alone is about $85,000 per year, according to Burning Glass.

According to PMI®, the average salary (within the private sector) in the United States nationally is even higher, coming in at an average of $105,000.

What credential in project management is right for you?

To kick-start a career in project management, veterans can apply for any number of the eight certification options that PMI® offers, so long as it matches their qualifications and experience.

Here is an overview of the PMI® Certifications, according to the PMI® Veterans Brochure:
  • The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® certification demonstrates your understanding of the fundamental knowledge, terminology and processes of effective project management.
  • The Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential is the most important globally — recognized and independently validated credential for project managers; perfect if you have demonstrated experience and competence in leading project teams.
  • The PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)® credential has become a competency of critical importance to project management. Becoming certified as a business analysis (BA) expert can move your career in a fresh direction while opportunities for BAs are on the rise.
  • PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® formally recognizes your knowledge of agile principles and your skill with agile techniques. As our fastest growing certification, its impact on your career will be tangible.
  • There are four additional certifications and credentials: Program Management Professional (PgMP)®, Portfolio Management Professional (PfMP)®, PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)® credential; and PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)® credential; all of which you can learn more about at pmi.org/certification.aspx.

The St. Petersburg College Workforce Institute currently offers exam prep courses for the PMP and CAPM certification exams, which are geared to help professionals earn the knowledge and PMI educational hours they need in order to sit for and pass one of these two exams.

These courses are non-degree seeking, which means they are open to the public (no college application required! Just go to our website and sign up).

Not quite ready for a certification exam or looking to earn your degree in Project Management? SPC also has a degree certificate within the College of Business that focuses on project management.

If you’re interested in learning more about any of the project management courses offered by SPC, please contact the Workforce Institute at workforce@spcollege.edu or (727)341-4445.



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