Program Manager Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

What Does a Program Manager Do?

Program managers oversee multiple related projects as part of larger programs. It is their responsibility to coordinate and manage resources across all projects in order to achieve program objectives. Technology, healthcare, and government are common industries where program managers may work.

To be a successful program manager, one must have excellent project management skills. This includes the ability to plan and schedule projects, as well as create and manage budgets. In addition to measuring and evaluating program outcomes, these managers ensure all projects align with program goals and objectives. It is also essential that program managers have strong leadership skills and communicate well with teams and stakeholders.

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National Average Salary

Program manager salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site

The average U.S. salary for a Program Manager is:


Program Manager Job Descriptions

Crafting the perfect job description may be the key to finding an exceptional program manager. To help you with your recruiting search, our team has put together some examples from past openings.

Example 1

A program manager oversees and coordinates all projects being developed in a company, making sure each project stays on schedule and stays aligned with company objectives. The main focus of a program manager’s work is to increase efficiency, develop longer term goals, and develop budgets for the company’s various programs and projects. Ultimately, the program manager is in charge of ensuring that projects will help the company meet longer term strategic goals. [Your Company Name] is hiring a highly-strategic program manager with at least five years of experience. Considered candidates will have excellent communication and leadership skills, as well as conflict resolution and organization skills.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Formulate, organize and monitor interconnected projects
  • Coordinate objectives across all projects
  • Lead and evaluate project managers and other staff
  • Develop and control deadlines, budgets and activities
  • Apply change, risk and resource management
  • Assume responsibility for the program’s people and vendors
  • Assess program performance and aim to maximize ROI
  • Resolve projects’ higher scope issues
  • Prepare reports for program directors

Education and experience

A bachelor’s degree in management or a related field is required for this position.

Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is strongly preferred.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Thorough understanding of project/program management techniques and methods
  • Excellent knowledge of performance evaluation and change management principles
  • Outstanding leadership and organizational skills
  • Strong knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite
  • Excellent problem-solving skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills

Preferred qualifications

  • Excellent written, presentation, and verbal communication skills
  • Develops appropriate communication strategy based on both the needs of the program and stakeholders
  • Proven ability to proactively collaborate and build relationships, take initiative, and creatively problem-solve
  • Ability to balance multiple priorities simultaneously and adapt to the changing needs of the business while meeting deadlines
  • Ability to work weekends and/or off-hours as necessary to meet client’s needs

Example 2

Summary job description

As an integral part of this program, ABC Company seeks an enthusiastic program manager to develop and coordinate the initiative’s growth and expansion in a way that instills equity and collaboration in every element. This position will lead the work to implement the initiative, including growing the network of organizations, agricultural service providers, and individuals participating in the work; guiding the training and work of four regional land access navigators; assisting with the transition of to a statewide resource for farmers, landowners, and agriculture service providers; and leading the development of strong land access and transfer education programs to aid farmers and landowners throughout the state. The successful candidate will shape the evolution of ABC Company.


  • Cultivate, facilitate, motivate, and coordinate strong relationships with and among a diverse network of partners participating in the ABC Company
  • Coordinate communications, programs, and events related to ABC Company
  • Provide training, direct assistance, and ongoing support to regionally located navigators
  • Connect farmland seekers, transitioning farmers, and non-operating landowners to regionally located navigators through electronic communications, phone calls, and in-person meetings
  • Assist navigators and partners in the development and implementation of statewide educational events and resources to reduce barriers to land access, ownership, and transition
  • Keep the ABC Company website up to date with statewide events, services, and resources, as well as with current property and farmland seeker postings
  • Ensure the values of diversity, equity, justice, and belonging are integrated into this initiative
  • Facilitate meetings with initiative partners
  • Represent ABC Company at public meetings, conferences, workshops, and trainings
  • Work collaboratively with staff and initiative partners to identify and secure funding support for this program
  • Work with Executive Director to develop annual program and budget goals
  • Participate in weekly staff meetings, staff member check-ins, project meetings, etc.
  • Other duties as assigned

This is not necessarily an all-inclusive list of job-related responsibilities, duties, skills, efforts, requirements, or working conditions and this job description in no way states or implies that these are the only duties to which will be required in this position. Management reserves the right to revise the job or require that other or different tasks be performed or assigned.


Candidates must have 3+ years of experience in a field focused on agriculture, environment, conservation, or food systems. Candidates with higher education and no experience will not be considered for this position. Candidates with only experience and no higher education are strongly encouraged to apply.

The candidate must be

  • Passionate with an eagerness to learn more about farming, farmland access, and farmland transfer issues
  • Experienced in building and managing collaborations
  • Excellent at communicating including a high level of comfort regularly interacting with a diverse audience of farmland owners, farmers, agricultural service providers, and other industry professionals
  • Deeply committed to building an inclusive farmland access movement in Illinois
  • Experienced in technical assistance, education, or community engagement
  • Equipped with strong research, writing, and data analysis skills, and the ability to convert high level concepts into understandable information
  • Willing to learn, outgoing, organized, and energetic
  • Capable of managing projects independently and as part of a team
  • Able to use standard Windows computer programs and Google Suite tools, as well as able to work with web platforms like Drupal
  • Able to occasionally work in the evenings or on weekends, as well as travel throughout Illinois
  • Able to remain in a stationary position for the majority of a workday

Depending on the candidate, remote work may be considered. Candidate must be based in (State).

Example 3

General statement of duties:

Manage staff and day to day operations at ABC Company locations. Develop programming to facilitate and support recovery. Provide Therapy services to ABC Company clients in need of treatment services.

Essential responsibilities:

  • Develops, implements and evaluates program goals and objectives, ensure the quality of service delivery to the community through monitoring and supervision
  • Facilitate intakes and make decisions about clients entering the recovery housing program
  • Program coordination with referral sources including Portage County courts, JFS, MHRBs, etc.
  • Develop and implement new programming
  • Recruits, hires, trains, supervises, and evaluates shift staff, peer support workers, therapists and case managers and oversees staff development and training
  • Completes assessment, diagnosis and treatment for clients in need of services, following licensure standards
  • Attend staff and clinical meetings
  • Builds financial and in-kind supports for program through local resource development and community education. Oversees all solicitations and acceptance of donated goods and services to program. Adequately acknowledges donors
  • Complete required reports according to program and agency reporting requirements in a timely manner
  • Ensure program goal achievement and assists in creating and maintaining a positive program image in the community
  • Develop and maintains ongoing collaboration with partner agencies
  • Maintains shelter buildings, equipment, supplies, and grounds
  • Represent agency on service provider networks, coordinating bodies, and in the general community
  • Comply with agency policies and procedures, COA regulations, federal and state requirements, and educational/certification/registry requirements
  • Other duties as assigned


  • Knowledge of family, community, and human service issues, organizational functioning and operations
  • Valid Ohio Driver’s License and ability to meet agency requirements for driving insurability
  • Must be able to meet agency requirements for criminal back ground check (Sate Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigation)
  • Supervisory knowledge.
  • The Program Manager is required to have the following skills with a general client population, interview methods, individual and group therapy methods, knowledge and techniques for treatment of addictions
  • Capacity for collecting, organizing, and reporting data in order to reach valid conclusions
  • Skills in crisis intervention and emergency services

Minimum educational/licensure requirements:

  • Graduate degree in counseling or other related field. Appropriate licensure in the State of (State), LICDC, LSW, LPC, LISW, LPCC, and Psychologist

Minimum experience requirements:

  • Specific training and experience in substance abuse treatment

Example 4

The purpose of the navigation program is first and foremost to direct clients to the appropriate resource that best fits their needs and to guide them in the process for connecting to that service, whether it is on-site, at another location of ABC Company, or at another agency. The manager of the navigation program will be in charge of managing that process so that it is as helpful and easy for the client as possible. This position will manage the staff who fulfill this function. Another aspect of the position is safety at the XYZ Campus. The manager will address training for staff so that diffusion of difficult and crisis situations is achieved. In addition to these aspects, the navigation program will assist clients by engaging with them to prevent homelessness and to promote planning toward stability.

Success in this position means that clients are directed appropriately, that a service is scheduled or connected to quickly, and that the client understands and is comfortable with the process. Success means that clients are treated with care and that difficult situations are diffused so that all – clients and staff – are as safe and comfortable as possible.

Essential duties/responsibilities

  • Commitment to mission, values, and ethos of the agency and the animation of those foundational principles in the programming and services provided to people in need, our partners, and the community as a whole
  • Responsible for making sure that all navigation staff are trained in de-escalation, trauma informed care practices, and are fluent in our crisis protocol
  • Lead navigation staff in homelessness diversion activities, to include problem solving with clients and utilizing available tools which may include things like bus passes, some type of financial assistance, and other types of assistance
  • Lead navigation staff in working with clients in a trauma informed way in order to promote planning toward greater stability
  • Respond to situations and behaviors where safety is a concern in an appropriate way, as when clients become aggressive or threatening
  • Manage documentation of incidents that occur on campus
  • With management staff, identify and own objectives related to the agency strategic plan that involve the navigation function
  • Provide supervision for staff, including individual and group meetings. Ensure staff meet or exceed performance standards
  • Ensure that procedures are documented, shared, and understood by the team and other staff as needed
  • Provide an effective means of reporting, monitoring services, and the maintenance of appropriate records, files, and reports that are consistent with areas of responsibility
  • Maintain accurate monthly and annual statistical reports of program data and outcomes
  • Supervise all data management functions and outcomes reporting. Manage the way that HMIS is used for the navigation function so that it is accurate, consistent, in line with objectives, and reportable to the dashboard with the help of the Income & Relief Services director


  • Advanced proficiency in Spanish and fluency in English (verbal and written), or proficiency in another language spoken by immigrants in the region covered (location) is a plus

Work environment

  • Interacting with vulnerable and at risk populations introduces stressors including but not limited to erratic or volatile behaviors or outbursts, and potential for secondary trauma from listening to other people’s financial and personal problems
  • A majority of the assigned duties are performed in an office environment
  • The employee is subject to both inside and outside environmental conditions
  • Reasonable accommodation can be made to enable people with disabilities to perform the described essential functions of this position

Desired skills and experience

  • H.S. diploma/equivalent. Bachelor’s degree in human services field, business, or education preferred
  • Experience with and knowledge of de-escalation best practices
  • Experience as a supervisor at the team or departmental level preferred
  • Experience working with socioeconomically disadvantaged populations
  • Experience working with people experiencing mental illness
  • Demonstrated self-starter and ability to work independently with little supervision
  • Demonstrated ability to apply culturally appropriate skills in interactions with clients, co-workers, volunteers, partner agencies, and other community members
  • Excellent communication (verbal and written), problem solving, listening, and interpersonal skills, with the ability to form and maintain positive work relationships
  • Understanding of how the work of ABC Company upholds Catholic social teaching and willingness to represent ABC Company within agency guidelines
  • Ability and willingness to work within the established structure of ABC Company
  • Occasional evenings and weekends are required to accommodate meetings and special events

Candidate Certifications to Look For

  • Program Management Professional (PgMP). This certification requires candidates to have a proven track-record in both project management and program management before applying to take the exam. The test is 170 questions long. Once certified, candidates will need to complete 60 professional development units every three years to keep up their certification. Although the exam is tough, this certification gives them extra credibility that will help them advance their careers. 
  • Certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt™ (ICGB™). This certification offered by the IASSC is recognized internationally and proves a candidate’s knowledge of advanced Lean Six Sigma Methodology to coordinate teams and improve performance. The three-hour exam is 100 questions long and requires a score of 70% or higher to pass.

Sample Interview Questions

  • What is your approach to planning and implementing programs?
  • What is the best way to ensure that all projects within a program are aligned with its goals and objectives?
  • When developing a budget for your program, what steps do you take to ensure its accuracy and realistic nature?
  • Describe a time you managed a project that didn’t go to plan. What did you learn from that experience? How would you have handled it differently now?
  • What strategies do you use to ensure that resources are effectively allocated among multiple projects within a program?
  • When it comes to program management and evaluation, how do you keep up-to-date with industry trends?
  • How do you evaluate program success, and how has your evaluation data led to changes in your programs?
  • What metrics are typically used to determine program success?
  • What strategies have you used to address risks to program success?
  • When did you have to work collaboratively with teams and stakeholders to achieve a program goal?
  • How do you define and document goals for the programs you oversee?

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