How To Become A Project Manager In Australia: A Complete Guide

Students want to know how they can become project managers in Australia and what qualifications they need.


Are you planning to pursue a career in project management? From finance to construction, project management is integral to most job positions across different industries.


Integrating project management strategies ensures high accuracy and quality and satisfies the client's expectations. Project management skills are also crucial for your academic success, mainly if you undertake management programs like MBA.


While you may know the importance of project management in a specific industry, starting a career can be confusing, especially when you need help figuring out where to start.


Read the post below to learn how to become a project manager in Australia, the qualifications and skills required for project management, the courses to study, the salary, what they do, and much more.



1. What Is A Project Manager?


A project manager is an individual who leads the projects and is in charge of creating a team with the necessary skills to effectively execute and deliver a high-quality project on budget and schedule.


Project managers may also be responsible for handling external projects on behalf of their clients or internal projects for their company. The perfect example of an external project is developing a new website for a client or constructing a new house. 


On the other hand, the example of an internal project may include upgrading the organisation's IT infrastructure or developing a new product.



2. Major Duties and Tasks of a Project Manager


  • Overseeing all stages of project management.

  • Motivate, mentor, and supervise project team members.

  • Prioritise project tasks.

  • Define the project's overall scope. 

  • Track and coordinate various projects throughout a project's life cycle.

  • Align multiple teams to ensure that deliverables are of high quality.

  • Establish effective communication.

  • Manage and set project expectations with internal and external stakeholders.

  • Manage billings and budgets. 

  • Obtain customer input.

  • Focus on customer satisfaction.

  • Maintain accurate daily timesheets and track work times.

  • Create a comprehensive project management plan to track project progress.

  • Evaluate team performance.

  • Handle projects through KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

  • Make sure team members get all the necessary information.

  • Develop professional business relationships.

  • Conduct daily stand-ups, project status meetings, and retrospective meetings.

  • Collaborate with other departments to ensure work is done correctly and meets all the demands.

  • Develop the project documentation and keep it up-to-date.

  • Make suggestions for project improvements.

  • Ensure project tasks are accurately reviewed and well-executed within the predefined scope.

  • Develop accurate forecasts for resource and revenue requirements.

  • Conduct training and workshops.

  • Follow up on the project's risks, progress, and opportunities regularly.

  • When required, notify and escalate concerns to the management.

  • Measure project performance using the right tools, systems, and techniques.

  • Serve as the primary customer contact for project activities.



3. Steps To Start A Career as A Project Manager


Here are some common steps you can follow if you are eager to start a career as a project manager:



Step 1: Talk To People


Gathering all the project management information is vital before starting a new career. You can do this by connecting with experts with project management experience. 


Talking to professionals will help you learn about the profession's fulfilling aspects and the challenges that come with it.



Step 2: Pursue an Online Course


Online project management courses save time and assist you with starting a successful career. Furthermore, such courses ensure that you cope with the challenges, gain essential knowledge, and get an introduction to the subject.



Step 3: Get A Graduate Degree In The Field


After learning the basics of project management, you can focus on getting a higher degree like a Master of Business Administration (MBA).


This will help you obtain more in-depth business knowledge and advanced expertise on the subject. Earning a degree will also help you get a better role in the field.



Step 4: Obtain More Certifications


You should always stay updated with your management skills as a project manager. One practical method is to earn more project management certifications, like the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, which adds to your competence.



Step 5: Register For National Accreditation


The final step is registering for national accreditation at AIPM (Australian Institute of Project Management). The registration requirements at the AIPM may vary, depending on the level you want to apply for.



4. What Qualifications Do You Need To Become A Project Manager in Australia?


At some stage of development, almost all businesses require a project manager. No matter your experience, having a relevant qualification will work in your favour when competing against other applicants.


The following project manager qualifications in Australia will help you advance your career:



  • Technical and Further Education (TAFE): The TAFE's Certificate IV in Project Management Practice offers an excellent start as it does not have any entry prerequisites. Also, it allows you to take up various job options like quality operator, estimator and scheduler, contracts officer, and project analyst or analyst.


  • Vocational Education and Training (VET): You can also choose to opt for a VET course, such as an Advanced Diploma of Program Management (BSB61218) or a Diploma of Project Management (BSB51415). Such courses help you learn project management basics and include more specialised material.


  • Short Courses: You can take a short course if you want to learn about a specific field of project management but do not want to commit to a full-time degree course. You can learn particular areas with short courses, including stakeholder engagement or leadership.


  • Undertaking a short project management course is also an excellent choice for those with a certain degree of experience in project management and who would like to gain further knowledge or expertise.


  • Higher Education: Another alternative is to undertake a Bachelor of Business (Management) or a Master's Degree in Project Management. These project management courses will give you a thorough grasp of the skills required to become a project manager.



5. What Are Different Project Management Jobs In Australia?


As you develop a project management career, consider the industry you want to work in. Remember, becoming an expert in your chosen field will help you move up the ladder and achieve senior management positions.


Here are the top three industries you can consider when applying for project management roles in Australia:



Construction and Infrastructure


The construction and infrastructure industries are the first things that come to mind when discussing project manager positions in Australia.


A project manager works with everyone in the construction and infrastructure industry, including subcontractors, engineers, and architects, to complete the project successfully.


Suppose you choose to work in this industry. In that case, you must possess a high level of risk management and planning skills and a thorough understanding of legal requirements and building regulations.



Information Technology


Most project managers work for traditional construction and infrastructure companies. However, many others are looking for profitable career options in rising industries like Information Technology (IT).


Working in the IT field might mean delivering projects directly to your employer. You may work in several areas, like network upgradessoftware development, creating IT strategies, and integrating new technologies.


In addition to the project management courses you have completed, you might have to study IT or an equivalent course, depending on the IT company you are applying to.



Business Improvement and Transformation


If you are searching for a career other than in Information Technology, consider Business Improvement and Transformation, which usually has a high project completion rate.


Becoming a Business Improvement specialist will enable you to apply your skills in many industries, including hospitality, finance, entertainment, and health. So whether it comes to opening a restaurant or developing a mobile app, a highly qualified Project Manager is required to oversee the project and ensure its success.



6. What Skills Are Required To Become A Project Manager in Australia?


Productive and profitable project management requires project managers to possess a particular skill set that allows them to address the work at hand. These are soft skills and hard skills. Let's check them out:



Soft Skills


Project managers possess the following soft skills:



  • Decisiveness: Indecisiveness can hinder managing projects. Constructive decision-making skills are essential to assess the options available and make the right choices, from framing the correct strategy to taking inputs and taking proper steps at the right time.


  • When the project progresses, ideal decision-making includes the following: identifying the issue with the involvement of all team members, weighing all possible solutions, exploring each solution, taking the right course of action and looking back to learn from the choices made.



  • Good Communication Skills: Quality communication can prove to be the animating force of a project. Clarity and precision in expressing and receiving thoughts and ideas are crucial in project management.


  • Project managers use various mechanisms and plans of action to enhance team members' communication skills and attain a smooth flow of communication with clients, vendors, collaborators, shareholders, associates, and financiers of the project.


  • Exceptional communication skills include functional efficacy in writing, speaking, active listening and reading, and interpreting and apprehending gestures, non-verbal signs, body language, voice pitch, and voice tone.


  • Effective communication builds trust and cordial relationships and improves transparency and feedback among project participants.



  • Leadership Ability: For a team to work effectively, the project manager must be a dynamic leader, playing a visionary, guide, and problem-solver role.


  • Project managers must resolve conflicts and keep members motivated, encouraged and enthusiastic towards achieving the desired goal(s). They do this while effectively strategising, communicating, and delegating the tasks to the right person and getting them accomplished within the specified time.


  • Time Management: All projects have a specific deadline. Project managers must achieve tasks on time within the defined period. They must plan and control a schedule, analyse the activities, set a sequence, and be proactive in gauging the resources and hitting the target date.


  • There should be sufficient buffer time between assignments for managing risks and confronting unforeseen situations to distribute resources accordingly.



Hard Skills


Here are a few hard skills that you require for successful project management:



  • Technical Proficiency: To start a project in the desired course and bring it to fruition, the project manager must be appropriately skilled in the determined field. Furthermore, to provide vision, guidance, motivation or support to the team, the project managers need command expertise and command over the assigned project.


  • Expertise in Budgeting: In every project, the project manager must ensure that the budget is manageable. Using limited financial resources is vital to keep a project within budget. Thus, the project manager needs a stronghold over Mathematical calculations, financial management and spreadsheets to control the costs and reallocate the available resources accordingly.


  • Managing Possible Risks: Besides supervising resources, controlling budget and time management, a project manager has to manage anticipated risks with unprecedented circumstances. Project management involves foreseeing the possibility of a catastrophe and executing crisis plans to meet any emergency.


  • Data Awareness: At the onset of each project, several key performance indicators, i.e. KPIs, are chosen. These serve as yardsticks that are standardised and tracked through the project's entirety to assess the development and eventually analyse if the project leads to its suited output.


  • Project managers must acknowledge and survey the particulars while communicating the data essentials to the team members and the project's main stakeholders.



7. How Much Does A Project Manager Earn in Australia?


According to Payscale, Australia's average project manager salary is between AU$65,000 AND AU$160,000 per year. The entry-level project manager salary in Australia is more than AU$90,000.


The salary may vary depending on the location, type of project, and experience level. Furthermore, the roles that improve the compensation for this profession include Engineering Design, Operations Management, Contract Management, and Change Management.


Now that you know everything about becoming a project manager in Australia, you are ready to secure a job in any sector requiring project management services.


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