You don’t need a degree in project management to be a project manager and although one will provide you with useful knowledge, you’re unlikely to go straight into a role as a project manager post-graduation.
Whatever your educational background, you’ll likely start off in a junior role and work your way up. As you gain experience you may want to study some professional qualifications to enhance your knowledge and skills.
There are a wide range of qualifications available from both the Association for Project Managers (APM) and the Project Management Institute (PMI) which are both highly respected and globally recognised institutions.
Project management qualifications are available from absolute beginner level, so you’ll definitely be able to find a level that suits you.
You can also study more specialised qualifications such as the PRINCE2 courses which train you to be an accomplished practitioner of the globally-recognised PRINCE2 project management method.
A slightly different qualification route you can take is to become an apprentice. At the moment, there are two apprenticeship standards for project management: Level 4 Associate Project Manager and Level 6 Project Manager.
At Level 4 you’ll be working in a junior role such as Junior Project Manager or Associate Project Manager whereas the Level 6 is a degree apprenticeship and will allow you to work in more senior roles like Project Manager.
To get a job in project management it will be beneficial to have experience in managing resources, costs or budgets. If you have proven experience in a leadership role or manage people in any capacity, you can also use this to your advantage when getting into the project management field.
Even if you have no formal work experience in these areas you can still find a way to demonstrate these skills. If you’ve ever done any voluntary work for a charity or for a club or society that involved planning events or projects, you can use this experience to prove you have the necessary skills.
Joining a professional body such as the APM or the PMI as a student member can also be a great way to look for opportunities to gain work experience. You’ll be able to network and keep up to date with the latest opportunities through other members, events and industry publications.