Learn About Government Project Manager Jobs
Starting a career in the federal government can mean many things, depending on the route you take. The public sector is growing, and if you enter government work for the right reasons it can become a career path of continual advancement. Working for the federal government offers advantages that the private sector almost certainly doesn’t; not least of all, job security and benefits. Those reasons alone are often why people enter the public sector. With Northern Virginia’s proximity to government agencies like NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense, it’s not hard for job seekers to get their foot in the door. There are numerous opportunities within a short distance.
For those with strong organizational, management, and creative skills, a government project manager job may be the perfect avenue to explore. The opportunity to oversee large-scale projects that incorporate multiple departments is often extremely rewarding, and in government can be fulfilling beyond career motivations as well. Whether you’ve got project manager experience yet or not, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of the job description so you know what to expect.
Is there a demand for project managers?
A project manager goes far, far beyond just a job title—it’s someone who encompasses many different skills in a government agency, and has to be equipped to handle larger-scale projects across numerous departments and teams. Because of this, the job of a project manager has been in high demand as of late, with the Project Management Institute projecting a 33 percent increase in job growth through 2027. That’s 22 million jobs, meaning there’s a growing need in various industries for the unique qualifications that project management requires.
The demand for project management roles in the federal government specifically is also growing exponentially, with demand for those roles increasing faster than average due to major projects and investments in things like infrastructure. Simply put, there’s never been a better time to seek out a career path as a project manager or program manager in the government.
What does a project manager do in government?
The job of a project manager in government is often all-encompassing, but the day-to-day of the job depends greatly on the type of project you’re overseeing, and even what government agency or organization you’re working in. For example, if you’re working on infrastructure projects, the kinds of things you’ll do as a construction project manager will be different than if you’re working on a project, as a technical project manager, that has to do with cybersecurity initiatives. But at its core, a full-time or part-time project manager will be responsible for a wide variety of managerial tasks on a project team.
These tasks include handling the logistics of the project, communicating and delegating things to various departments and teams, having a firm grasp on every nuance and detail of the project enough to communicate effectively, managing deliverables, organizing and keeping track of objectives and milestones, overseeing risk management, and even being in charge of quality assurance. Specifics of those responsibilities often change depending on the project at hand, but in government, the project manager is ultimately the person putting their management skills and organizational experience to the test on a very large scale every day.
What qualifications do I need to be a project manager?
Like many government positions, a project manager job is one that often requires many different qualifications and skills. More often than not, candidates should have a Bachelor’s degree at minimum in project management, public or business administration, or a similar field that lends itself to the title. Depending on whether the job is entry-level or more involved, at least two years of prior experience is required in most cases.
And in many situations, these qualifications become more stringent because a PMP (Project Management Professional) certification is required. Those certifications aren’t accessible without at least 4,500 hours of project management experience, plus 35 hours of project management education. However, a CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) certification doesn’t require experience and education and is a great way to get started towards a PMP.
Both a PMP and a CAPM are available through the Project Management Institute.
Breaking it down, generally, a project management role will likely entail the following qualifications:
- 2+ years of experience
- U.S. citizenship
- Bachelor’s Degree in project management or business administration
- PMP certification
Soft skills are also important, as they are in all types of roles, whether it’s human resources or management. Perhaps the most important competency you should have as a project manager is the ability to collaborate well with team members. When you have a project plan in place, especially in a government agency, delegating and working closely with others is going to be a key aspect of the day-to-day. You’ll ultimately be responsible, as a project manager, for maintaining the right kind of work environment for your team, so these skills are immeasurably important.
How would I apply for a project manager position?
If you fit the description of a project manager, and are ready to apply for a US government project manager job, what awaits you is a career path that is often fulfilling and always interesting. With a salary range that has the average government project manager earning upwards of $118,000 per year, plus solid benefits and job security, government project management is an in-demand field that can pay off.
Like any job search, you may not always know where to begin. But applying for a project manager position is easy—just search “project manager” in the search field on our site and find the roles that stand out to you. When you click on a job listing you’re interested in, you can find all the relevant details, and from there you’ll go to the source site for the job listing where you can apply. Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia are great home bases for government project management positions, and finding openings all in one place couldn’t be simpler. Whether it’s in Arlington, Washington, D.C., or Fairfax, there’s no shortage of job postings that can kickstart your career as a project manager in the U.S. government.