Hands-on training or academic preparation in project execution and management is generally required to become a project management specialist. Often a bachelor's degree in a field related to the knowledge base of the area to be managed proves helpful. Those aspiring to this career track may also benefit from having obtained hands-on experience in using project management software. Some project management jobs may require special security clearances, or the signing of confidentiality agreements. The proven ability to manage teams and see a project through to completion may also be required to enter this career field.
Some form of hands-on project experience is typically considered necessary for those who wish to become a project management specialist. Experiences obtained through an internship or previous employment often prepare a person to understand the intricacies of shepherding a project through the various waylays and pitfalls that can occur. Such seat-of-the-pants experiences prepare those in project management to grasp the fundamentals of supervising personnel and processes in both physical and virtual environments.
Comfort and expertise in leading teams is valued as a preparation for successfully resolving the issues that may arise in meeting a production timeline. Experiences in team building and leadership exercises are often used to prepare for this job position. The art of synchronizing human resources and physical assets in a managed project, as well as ensuring an optimal information flow among team members, is taught in a number of academic programs. As a result, it is common for a project management specialist to pursue various academic courses in these areas to prepare for a career in this field. Courses in human resource management, and technological and social issues that may arise in distributed teams, also could provide a good foundation for this career path.
Some positions in this field require assurances of an employee's ability to keep confidential information. Secret or proprietary information may be at risk of exposure during various stages of the development process. As a result, a demonstration of trustworthiness is often expected of those who desire to become a project management specialist.
The same issue may be true in project management contract fulfillment for governmental agencies. A security clearance is sometimes required when working with government-sponsored projects, and employers may require a project management specialist to have one, or to provide other assurances that confidentiality will be maintained throughout the project. Training or aptitude in crisis management may also prove helpful preparation for a person who aspires to become a project management specialist. Careers in this area of expertise may be found across many technical areas.