Construction Project Manager

Construction project managers develop, oversee and budget commercial, residential and industrial building projects. Some project managers specialize in one type of construction. They may manage the entire project or be responsible for a specific aspect. One of their most challenging responsibilities involves hiring and supervising trade contractors for various elements of the building project including plumbers, carpenters and electricians.

Although construction project managers don’t typically complete any of the actual construction, they are ultimately responsible for the success of the job. They work in coordination with clients, architects, engineers, landscapers and building officials. Staying within budget and meeting construction deadlines are essential for successful construction project managers.

Some of the responsibilities of construction project managers include:

  • Communicate and work with the client about desired project results
  • Coordinate with architects and other professionals to design a building plan
  • Create a budget for the building project
  • Hire and oversee specialty trade contractors
  • Materials acquisition
  • Obtain appropriate permits and licenses
  • Insure that deadlines are met and the building project completed
  • Follow up with client about any post-construction concerns.

Construction Project Manager Degrees

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recommends that jobseekers desiring this career combine construction experience with a bachelor’s degree in a construction related field for the greatest success. BLS reports that for construction manager jobs, a bachelor’s degree in construction science, construction management, building science, or civil engineering, plus work experience, is becoming the norm.

While certification is not required, the BLS notes that there is a growing trend toward professional certification through organizations such as The American Institute of Constructors. Depending on the type of certification and organization, requirements for certification could include education, experience, a technical exam and/or self-study program.

Construction Project Manager Salary*

While this profession is expected to grow faster than average with a 17% growth rate, according to the BLS, job prospects are best for candidates with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Reliance on technology and more complex building projects create a need for more advanced construction project managers. The median annual wages for salaried construction managers in 2008 were $79,860 with non-residential projects tending to be more profitable than residential. This salary is calculated without including the salaries of self-employed project managers. With about 61% of construction project managers being self-employed, the salary could vary greatly among those entrepreneurs.

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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