How The 10 Most Common Federal Jobs Benefit From Project Management Certifications
The term “project” has different interpretations in different professional domains. Academically leaning organizations engage in research projects, while agencies working directly with the public may undertake welfare projects. There are infrastructure and construction projects like the Hoover dam and the Transcontinental Railroad with a massive influence on American history.
In contrast, we can also call a small office migrating from on-site data storage to the cloud a “project.” So project is a fluid term, and project management certifications are far richer in context than many people perceive them to be. These certifications can benefit more than just the people in key management positions and offer advantages to a much broader array of professionals. This includes (but is not limited to) the top ten jobs with the highest federal employee count.
Project management certifications and relevant training can be instrumental for RNs or even LPNs that are viable candidates for nursing management and healthcare administration roles (temporary or permanent).
Since VA is one of the largest federal employers of nurses and it’s constantly introducing new programs to facilitate veterans (often with budgetary restraints), experienced nurses trained in the best project management practices can prove valuable.
They are well-versed in patient care and understand the ground realities of departments like the VA and HHS and programs like Medicare and Medicaid. So when their expertise is enhanced with project management training and leveraged to improve, modify, and execute new programs, they can come up with practical solutions and suggest impactful changes.
Miscellaneous Administration and Program
The jobs falling under Miscellaneous Administration and Program category are mostly administrative in nature and require analytical, interpersonal, and communication skills at all levels and project management skills at all except entry-level positions. This is a direct overlap for federal employees in MA&P roles, but even if we look past it, almost everyone in an administrative role can benefit from project management certifications.
Project management training helps enhance skills like the efficient use of resources, preparing practical solutions with available resources, communication, teamwork, and research, all of which can help someone in an administrative role.
Project management training and certifications can help compliance inspectors connect to various federal agencies and departments by offering them a different perspective. If they understand how the businesses they are inspecting would approach individual tasks or a complete project, they may have a better chance of detecting irregularities and identifying flaws.
Compliance inspectors trained in project management can better educate people in the implementation of compliance standards. This is especially useful when the government is introducing new compliance standards for an industry.
Manager and Program Analyst
Program analysts assess and advise their departments regarding the efficiency of different programs executed under the department’s umbrella. Even though these programs may have broader scopes than individual projects, the core principles are the same.
These analysts have to trace a program’s efficiency from a financial, resource, and time cost perspective and evaluate its impact by tracking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and its adherence to the goals defined in the original scope of the program.
Thus training and certifying these analysts in project management can equip them with the knowledge and skills that will have a direct (positive) impact on the role they are performing.
Information Technology Manager
IT is an ever-evolving field, and an IT manager has to oversee and run new projects on a regular basis. These projects may include overhauling digital security, introducing and implementing new tools, moving everyone in an agency to the cloud, etc. All these projects come with typical time, budget, and skill constraints, and project management knowledge can help IT managers get around these constraints in a constructive manner.
Another benefit would be the cultivation of in-house project management and execution skills instead of relying upon third-party vendors and dealing with additional red tape and higher costs. IT managers well-versed in project management can also help improve the overall digital literacy of the federal workforce by introducing and executing new learning and training initiatives by utilizing available resources.
Unlike externally introduced training programs, the ones managed by in-house IT managers are less likely to be disruptive to routine operations and may offer greater knowledge retention.
Criminal investigators can benefit from certain aspects of project management certifications, but not all. Attention to detail is a trait required by both criminal investigators and successful project managers.
Diligent documentation, which is a skill that can be augmented by project management training, can help investigators prepare air-tight cases. The ability to respond to rapidly changing circumstances is a project management skill that can definitely help a criminal investigator.
Considering these tangential overlaps, it’s easy to deduce that standard project management certifications may not benefit criminal investigators much, but specially designed training in this domain can be quite advantageous.
Miscellaneous Clerk and Assistant
Most miscellaneous clerk and assistant jobs require two things, understanding and adhering to predefined protocols and procedures and running numbers, both of which can be enhanced with project management training and certification. Federal employees in this domain, especially if their scope of responsibility is beyond specific technical work and clerical assistance, can become more efficient with project management training. They can learn to see the big picture, Identify numerical discrepancies (beyond clerical errors), and discover insights that may be helpful for programs, agencies, and departments.
Even if we look past the discipline of legal project management and stick to the more traditional elements of a general attorney’s job, i.e., prosecution, legal advice, preparing administrative orders, project management certification can be beneficial. It can help them efficiently utilize the resources on hand, including manpower, time, budget, etc. It may also assist them in learning to prioritize more impactful cases and legal matters, allowing them to do more while divesting the same amount of time and resources.
Medical officers, including the ones that are directly working with patients (in the VA), can greatly benefit from comprehensive project management training and certification. It can help them better manage the people under them, improve their leadership skills, make them more resource-conscious, and augment their administrative skills. Medical officers trained in project management can also spearhead new programs and initiatives on a more granular level, which are likely to be more effective than overreaching generic programs designed with minimal knowledge of the ground realities.
Medical Support Assistant
Medical support assistants are mostly engaged in clerical and administrative work and can greatly benefit from project management training. Even if they are not the ones running a program or don’t have a leadership role in a project, an understanding of how projects are supposed to be run and managed is likely to improve their job performance. An appreciation for the greater scope of the project/programs they are part of, including various VA programs where most medical support assistants are employed, can also result in more dedication and emotional investment.
Project management certifications, unless they are too generic or highly specific to an industry or role, can offer substantial benefits to most federal employees. For some roles, the benefits might be significant enough to warrant achieving and maintaining a professional certification in project management. But for most roles, well-designed project management training programs will be enough to achieve the requisite benefits.