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.
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.
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
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.
- Most Reported
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.
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|
|United States Department Of Defense||Alabama||$124,399|
|U.S. Department of Commerce||Maryland||$103,748|
|Department Of Housing And Urban Development||DC||$99,838|
|State of Maryland||Maryland||$99,330|
|Federal Government Jobs||Pennsylvania||$99,315|
|Department of Health and Human Services||DC||$99,047|
|Department of Transportation||DC||$98,410|
|Department of Homeland Security||Colorado||$94,584|
|Department of Education||DC||$94,295|
|Department of Energy||DC||$91,812|
|U.S. Coast Guard||DC||$91,676|
|United States Postal Service||DC||$91,647|
|Centers for Disease Control and Prevention||DC||$91,291|
|Elk Grove Unified School District||California||$90,974|
|Santa Ana Unified School District||California||$90,131|
- Guide for the Evaluation of Program Specialist Positions
- Health Program Specialist I – CA Jobs – State of California
|Career Name||Average Salary|
|Human Resources Generalist||$54,497|
|Personal Banking Manager||$51,369|
|Public Relations Manager||$51,303|
|Social Media Manager||$50,861|