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Posted On: January 8, 2018 by Henry R. Steele

The following article discusses the career path of Program Specialist. Learn about how to become one, education requirements, job duties, traits and qualities, national salary outlook as well as top national employers of Program Specialists.

Job Duties

Program specialists generally work in an organization’s executive team. They report directly to the CEO and hold responsibility for creating, implementing, and leading on programs. They must also regularly evaluate these programs, ensuring that they remain as effective as possible. Furthermore, they must keep records of this and report on it, including the use of 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 specialist are:

  • To manage budgets and write grants for programs, ensuring they are fully compliant with all regulations and laws
  • To assist the executive or leadership team to develop a strategic vision for the program, ensuring 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 specialist usually has at least a bachelor’s degree and several years of professional experience. Sometimes, a master’s degree is required.

Education Requirements

Normally, a program specialist 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 specialist. Indeed, professional experience is incredibly important, with the most senior program specialists 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 specialists 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 specialists 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

Minimum Education

Bachelor’s Degree

National Salary

The national average salary estimate for Program Specialist was $51,759. This number is estimated from over 1,211,024 employees, users past and present job advertisements from Indeed.com. This equates to an hourly salary of $26.96 and monthly of $4,313.

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$14,000

$124,000

Salary Distribution

Salary by State

The following section lists Program Specialist salaries in each state around the country. The figures are based on the total number of job postings through Indeed.com. For example, DC had the largest quoted salary of $79,060 while Rhode Island had the smallest quoted salary of $21,427.

Alaska Illinois North Carolina South Carolina
Alabama Indiana North Dakota South Dakota
Arkansas Kansas Nebraska Tennessee
Arizona Kentucky New Hampshire Texas
California Louisiana New Jersey Utah
Colorado Massachusetts New Mexico Virginia
Connecticut Maryland Nevada Vermont
DC Maine New York Washington
Florida Michigan Ohio Wisconsin
Georgia Minnesota Oklahoma Wyoming
Hawaii Missouri Oregon
Iowa Mississippi Pennsylvania
Idaho Montana Rhode Island
Alaska$63,671 Rank: 3rd

The average salary ranks 3rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, and Kodiak Island Borough School District.

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$14,000

$148,000

Salary Distribution
Alabama$55,611 Rank: 10th

The average salary ranks 10th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Homeland Security, Federal Government Jobs, U.S. Army, and University of Alabama.

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$14,000

$132,000

Salary Distribution
Arkansas$39,587 Rank: 34th

The average salary ranks 34th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Health and Human Services, University of Arkansas, and Arkansas Department of Health.

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$14,000

$81,000

Salary Distribution
Arizona$43,918 Rank: 27th

The average salary ranks 27th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like University of Arizona, Department of the Interior, Department of Veterans Affairs, and U.S. Army.

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$14,000

$92,000

Salary Distribution
California$66,727 Rank: 2nd

The average salary ranks 2nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Elk Grove Unified School District, Santa Ana Unified School District, Cisco, and County of Alameda.

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$18,000

$146,000

Salary Distribution
Colorado$47,006 Rank: 18th

The average salary ranks 18th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Veterans Affairs.

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$14,000

$112,000

Salary Distribution
Connecticut$60,201 Rank: 5th

The average salary ranks 5th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like State of Connecticut, UCONN Health Center, Department of Veterans Affairs, and University of Connecticut.

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$17,000

$128,000

Salary Distribution
DC$79,060 Rank: 1st

The average salary ranks 1st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department Of Housing And Urban Development, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Transportation, and Department of Education.

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$23,000

$169,000

Salary Distribution
Florida$36,165 Rank: 39th

The average salary ranks 39th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Orange County Public Schools (OCPS), Federal Government Jobs, Department of Veterans Affairs, and LegalShield.

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$14,000

$88,000

Salary Distribution
Georgia$25,612 Rank: 46th

The average salary ranks 46th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta Regional Commission, and Fulton County, GA.

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$7.25

$29.65

Salary Distribution
Hawaii$45,759 Rank: 24th

The average salary ranks 24th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Federal Government Jobs, State of Hawaii, Hawaii Department of Education, and U.S. Army.

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$14,000

$99,000

Salary Distribution
Iowa$54,218 Rank: 12th

The average salary ranks 12th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Veterans Affairs, Hawkeye Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, and To The Rescue.

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$14,000

$142,000

Salary Distribution
Idaho$40,473 Rank: 33rd

The average salary ranks 33rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Idaho Department of Lands, IDAHO DEPT. OF LABOR, Kootenai County, and University of Idaho.

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$10.70

$34.20

Salary Distribution
Illinois$52,016 Rank: 14th

The average salary ranks 14th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Homeland Security, Tribune Company, U.S. Department of State, and Department of Veterans Affairs.

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$14,000

$112,000

Salary Distribution
Indiana$26,822 Rank: 45th

The average salary ranks 45th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Veterans Affairs, United States Department Of Defense, City Of Indianapolis and Marion County, and State of Indiana.

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$7.25

$21.20

Salary Distribution
Kansas$46,248 Rank: 22nd

The average salary ranks 22nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Army.

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$14,000

$112,000

Salary Distribution
Kentucky$43,996 Rank: 26th

The average salary ranks 26th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like University of Kentucky, U.S. Army, and Louisville Metro Government.

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$14,000

$94,000

Salary Distribution
Louisiana$46,572 Rank: 20th

The average salary ranks 20th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Veterans Affairs, Federal Government Jobs, State of Louisiana, and U.S. Army.

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$1,200

$8,600

Salary Distribution
Massachusetts$59,347 Rank: 8th

The average salary ranks 8th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Federal Government Jobs, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Labor, and U.S. Army.

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$15,000

$131,000

Salary Distribution
Maryland$49,704 Rank: 17th

The average salary ranks 17th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like State of Maryland, Department of Homeland Security, National Security Agency, and Department of Health and Human Services.

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$14,000

$126,000

Salary Distribution
Maine$43,450 Rank: 28th

The average salary ranks 28th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Human Services, Manpower, and Community Concepts, Inc..

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$18,000

$79,000

Salary Distribution
Michigan$21,427 Rank: 49th

The average salary ranks 49th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like David D. Hunting, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Labor, and U.S. Army.

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$7.25

$26.45

Salary Distribution
Minnesota$34,348 Rank: 42nd

The average salary ranks 42nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Minneapolis Public Schools, Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Air Force, and Metropolitan Council.

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$7.25

$36.20

Salary Distribution
Missouri$38,678 Rank: 36th

The average salary ranks 36th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Veterans Affairs, Missouri State University, High Aspirations Incorporated, and U.S. Army.

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$14,000

$94,000

Salary Distribution
Mississippi$34,931 Rank: 41st

The average salary ranks 41st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Mississippi State Department of Health.

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$14,000

$104,000

Salary Distribution
Montana$43,107 Rank: 30th

The average salary ranks 30th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like State of Montana.

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$14,000

$98,000

Salary Distribution
North Carolina$46,355 Rank: 21st

The average salary ranks 21st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like U.S. Army, Department of Veterans Affairs, UNC Charlotte, and University of North Carolina.

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$14,000

$100,000

Salary Distribution
North Dakota$43,431 Rank: 29th

The average salary ranks 29th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like North Dakota State Government.

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$14,000

$88,000

Salary Distribution
Nebraska$36,364 Rank: 38th

The average salary ranks 38th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like State of Nebraska and Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, Inc..

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$9.40

$31.70

Salary Distribution
New Hampshire$54,691 Rank: 11th

The average salary ranks 11th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Federal Government Jobs.

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$22,000

$101,000

Salary Distribution
New Jersey$59,369 Rank: 7th

The average salary ranks 7th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Transportation Security Administration, Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative, Rutgers University, and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

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$18,000

$123,000

Salary Distribution
New Mexico$46,599 Rank: 19th

The average salary ranks 19th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Air Force, and City of Albuquerque.

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$14,000

$106,000

Salary Distribution
Nevada$59,714 Rank: 6th

The average salary ranks 6th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like City of Henderson, NV and State of Nevada.

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$21,000

$117,000

Salary Distribution
New York$50,197 Rank: 15th

The average salary ranks 15th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Homeland Security, Mental Health, Office of, New York State Civil Service, and HRA/DEPT OF SOCIAL SERVICES.

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$14,000

$125,000

Salary Distribution
Ohio$22,099 Rank: 47th

The average salary ranks 47th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like ViaQuest, U.S. Air Force, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Ohio State University.

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$7.25

$24.45

Salary Distribution
Oklahoma$40,545 Rank: 32nd

The average salary ranks 32nd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Air Force, Department of the Interior, and U.S. Army.

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$14,000

$92,000

Salary Distribution
Oregon$35,904 Rank: 40th

The average salary ranks 40th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Veterans Affairs, City of Portland, Oregon, Gervais School District, and Girl Scouts of the USA.

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$7.25

$38.65

Salary Distribution
Pennsylvania$43,091 Rank: 31st

The average salary ranks 31st among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Federal Government Jobs, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Department of Homeland Security.

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$14,000

$111,000

Salary Distribution
Rhode Island$21,427 Rank: 48th

The average salary ranks 48th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like U.S. Navy, Narragansett Council, Boy Scouts of America, and Boy Scouts of America.

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$7.25

$16.90

Salary Distribution
South Carolina$46,158 Rank: 23rd

The average salary ranks 23rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Boys & Girls Clubs of America, U.S. Department of State, Department of Veterans Affairs, and U.S. Army.

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$14,000

$132,000

Salary Distribution
South Dakota$38,035 Rank: 37th

The average salary ranks 37th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Veterans Affairs, Black Hills Special Services Cooperative, and South Dakota State Government.

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$9.95

$29.90

Salary Distribution
Tennessee$27,033 Rank: 43rd

The average salary ranks 43rd among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like City of Murfreesboro, TN, Department of Veterans Affairs, Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County, and SHELBY COUNTY GOVERNMENT.

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$7.25

$27.10

Salary Distribution
Texas$56,292 Rank: 9th

The average salary ranks 9th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, and Texas Department of Transportation.

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$1,700

$9,000

Salary Distribution
Utah$26,995 Rank: 44th

The average salary ranks 44th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like U.S. Air Force, Air Force Acquisition, Federal Government Jobs, and Department of Veterans Affairs.

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$7.25

$25.55

Salary Distribution
Virginia$61,951 Rank: 4th

The average salary ranks 4th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like United States Department Of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Commerce, and Transportation Security Administration.

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$14,000

$145,000

Salary Distribution
Vermont$38,899 Rank: 35th

The average salary ranks 35th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Department of Homeland Security, State of Vermont, and Spherion.

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$10.25

$32.70

Salary Distribution
Washington$50,040 Rank: 16th

The average salary ranks 16th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like Public Buildings Service, Department of Transportation, Sound Transit, and Department of Homeland Security.

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$1,800

$7,400

Salary Distribution
Wisconsin$44,270 Rank: 25th

The average salary ranks 25th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like School District of Cudahy – Rec Department, House of Hope Green Bay, Inc., Department of Veterans Affairs, and University of Wisconsin–Madison.

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$22,000

$70,000

Salary Distribution
Wyoming$53,270 Rank: 13th

The average salary ranks 13th among states in the country. There were also job openings from employers like State of Wyoming.

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$26,000

$90,000

Salary Distribution

Top 20 National Employers

According to Indeed.com, the following states had employers looking to hire a Program Specialist. The quoted salary figure represents the average salary from all job postings by this employer.

Employer Name Location Average Salary

Learn More

Related Careers

Career Name Average Salary
Henry R. Steele
Henry R. Steele
Managing Editor
Henry is Managing Editor of BusinessStudent.com. He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.Follow on Twitter.com

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