What does a Program Manager do?

Program managers oversee interconnected projects that are complementary to one another and that ultimately build and contribute to larger, longer-term business objectives. Program managers outline a program’s strategy and its objectives and oversee a list of dependent projects that are needed to reach the program’s goals. They work with teams and instruct them on how to best implement their strategies and to measure the return on investment.

Program managers share the program’s strategy and objectives with an emphasis on its impact upon the business. As the overseers of multiple-project platform collaborations, they also define the independent projects that must be completed first in order to achieve the program's ultimate goals. While they are supervising groups of projects, they will also strategize, oversee, and coordinate various project products or other strategic initiatives that are programmed within a group of related projects. Program managers need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in business management.

What responsibilities are common for Program Manager jobs?
  • Manage teams across functional boundaries, both internal and external.
  • Develop, implement and evaluate strategic plans, goals and objectives.
  • Contribute to the production of program reports, materials, and content.
  • Oversee program plans and tracking of progress and changes.
  • Provide and communicate overall vision and direction for program.
  • Drive strategic roadmap both for product features, technology and overall business development.
  • Assist in the management and supervision of program staff.
  • Manage and complete assigned work plan objectives and projects on a timely basis.
  • Seek opportunities to make improvements to team efficiency and process.
  • Provide guidance and role modeling to all members.
  • Establish milestones and monitor adherence to master plans and schedules.
What are the typical qualifications for Program Manager jobs?
  • Bachelor's Degree or Graduate's Degree in business, computer science, engineering, or information systems or equivalent experience.
  • Demonstrated leadership and problem solving skills.
  • A critical thinker with strong attention to detail.
  • Strive for continuous improvement and prioritize time management.
  • Comfortable with planning and executing a budget.
  • Skilled with SQL and cloud programming.
EducationBachelor's Degree
Work/Life Balance
3.6 ★
Total Pay--
Career Opportunity
3.6 ★
Avg. Experience2-4 years

How much does a Program Manager make?

Confident
$89,477 /yr
Total Pay
$70,683
 /yr

Base Pay

+
$18,794
 /yr

Additional Pay

$89,477

 / yr
$47K$241K
Most Likely Range
Possible Range
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Program Manager Career Path

Learn how to become a Program Manager, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

L2
Program Manager
$89,477/yr
L3
L4
L2

Average Years of Experience

0 - 1
7%
2 - 4
38%
5 - 7
37%
8+
18%
Not including years spent in education and/or training
See Career Path

Program Manager Insights

Read what Program Manager professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
City of GoodyearCity of Goodyear
Recreation Leader
Jun 2, 2022

“Some of the best reasons to work with the City of Goodyear is the supportive and friendly staff.”

KarbonKarbon
Lead Program Manager
Apr 18, 2022

“Great place with to work and I am very happy with my decision to join.”

NetradyneNetradyne
Program Manager
Dec 10, 2021

“Great product based company to grow in your career with job security and the product is unique.”

University of British ColumbiaUniversity of British Columbia
Program Assistant
Dec 13, 2020

“Opportunities for Professional Development and Networking as a student or fresh grad is the best getaway from this position”

HCL TechnologiesHCL Technologies
Senior Program Manager
Jun 1, 2021

“nothing notable to say and its a very employee career oriented and friendly organization to work”

Vancouver Coastal HealthVancouver Coastal Health
Program Assistant- Mental Health and Substance Use
Feb 4, 2021

“Friendly staff who genuinely want to help you every step of the way from hiring to getting yourself started.”

Insight Technology SolutionsInsight Technology Solutions
Program Manager
Feb 4, 2022

“life balance and workplace climate are easily the best I've experienced in my career.”

City of San Marcos, CACity of San Marcos, CA
Recreation Leader
May 18, 2020

“Getting to work with kids was great and I enjoyed being able to help them have a fun summer.”

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Program Manager Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of program managers

A typical day for a program manager involves coordinating activities among several different projects. Each day, they work directly with team members, ensuring they stay on task and work well together. They also delegate and motivate team members while making sure the project is up to standard.

Program management job satisfaction is high, particularly for those who have strong leadership skills. Many program managers start as project managers where they work on one project at a time and move up to become program managers where they oversee several projects.

Yes, program managers earn quite a bit of money. The average annual base salary for program managers is $89,477 in the United States, depending on their location and years of experience. Those professionals who have more experience can earn up to $241,495 each year.

Working in program management does have its challenges, especially since certain projects can have problems and team members might be difficult to work with. Also, some projects can last almost indefinitely, so program managers might run the risk of burnout.

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