The following article discusses the career path of Program Officer. Learn about how to become one, education requirements, job duties, traits and qualities, national salary outlook as well as top national employers of Program Officers.
Program officers generally work in an organization’s executive team. They report directly to the CEO and hold responsibility for creating, implementing, and leading programs. They must also regularly evaluate those programs, ensuring that they remain as effective as possible. Furthermore, they must keep records of this and report on it, including objective evaluation tools, research, and statistics, to the CEO.
They also have to keep their knowledge up to date on the field, creating programs that entice clients to participate. They must also ensure that the program is fully compliant with relevant rules, regulations, and laws, and also with the organization’s mission. It is a position of leadership, which means they also usually manage other employees that are involved in the program. Sometimes, recruitment, retention, and training are also part of their responsibility. Depending on their level of seniority, they may also manage other programs within the organization, focusing on finding funding sources and managing the overall budget.
Other job duties of a program officer are:
- To manage budgets and write grants for programs, ensuring that they are fully compliant with all regulations and laws
- To assist the executive or leadership team to develop a strategic vision for the program, while ensuring that the long and short term goals have been properly defined
- To build strong partnerships with business partners, affiliate organizations, and the general public
- To collaborate with and mentor other team members, including program directors and managers
- To manage the full programming operations of the organization, guiding, implementing, and developing new programs
Where We Work
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 367,600 computer and information systems managers in 2016. The largest employers of these professionals were:
- Computer systems design and related services: 22%
- Information: 11%
- Finance and insurance: 11%
- Management of companies and enterprises: 10%
- Manufacturing: 8%
How to Become
A program officer usually has at least a bachelor’s degree and several years’ professional experience. Sometimes, a master’s degree is required.
Normally, a program officer has a bachelor’s degree in a field relating to computer science as a minimum. This is particularly required if their programs focus on computer programs, which is usually the case. Knowledge of Management Information Systems (MIS) is particularly important.
Furthermore, a graduate degree is now commonly required. The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is the most popular degree. One of the reasons for this is because it requires professional experience, which further enhances the career prospects of the program officer. Indeed, professional experience is incredibly important, with the most senior program officers having as much as ten years experience in the field, although this does vary depending on the size and age of the organization they work for.
Program officers can be found in any element of the economy. As a result, they often also have additional certifications in fields related to their particular niche or industry. This is generally not a legal requirement, but it does increase job prospects and it demonstrates a commitment to excellence.
Traits & Qualities
The most effective program officers have the following traits to some degree or other:
- Strong analytical skills
- Excellent business skills
- Great communication skills both verbal and written
- Strong decision making skills
- Excellent leadership skills
- Great organizational skills
The national average salary estimate for Program Officer was $70,926. This number is estimated from over 171,724 employees, users past and present job advertisements from Indeed.com. This equates to an hourly salary of $36.94 and monthly of $5,911.
- Most Reported
Salary by State
The following section lists Program Officer salaries in each state around the country. The figures are based on the total number of job postings through Indeed.com. For example, Washington had the largest quoted salary of $94,048 while North Dakota had the smallest quoted salary of $41,845.
|Georgia||Montana||Oregon|Top 20 National Employers
According to Indeed.com, the following states had employers looking to hire a Program Officer. The quoted salary figure represents the average salary from all job postings by this employer.
|Employer Name||Location||Average Salary|
|Deputy Assistant Secretary for Finance Program Officer||DC||$146,067|
|US General Services Administration Program Officer||DC||$143,299|
|Department of Veterans Affairs Program Officer||DC||$138,066|
|National Science Foundation Program Officer||Virginia||$134,779|
|Department of Labor Program Officer||DC||$134,490|
|Department of Energy Program Officer||DC||$132,156|
|National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges Program Officer||Nevada||$128,340|
|Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Program Officer||Washington||$123,868|
|Michael & Susan Dell Foundation Program Officer||Texas||$123,029|
|Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Program Officer||Georgia||$122,301|
|U.S. Army Program Officer||Maryland||$122,243|
|U.S. Government Program Officer||Virginia||$116,548|
|U.S. Navy Program Officer||Virginia||$115,774|
|Jewish Federation of San Diego County Program Officer||California||$114,034|
|Wellspring Advisors Program Officer||DC||$111,574|
|National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Program Officer||Virginia||$110,007|
|Cal Alumni Association., Berkeley, CA Program Officer||California||$110,000|
|United States Department Of Defense Program Officer||Virginia||$109,993|
- Program Officer | U.S. Agency for International Development
- Program Officer – opensocietyfoundations.org
|Career Name||Average Salary|
|Health Information Management Manager||$72,216|
|Marketing Communications Manager||$70,119|