Construction Project Manager

Career Information

Business people reading blueprints in quarry
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A project manager oversees construction projects. He or she hires and supervises specialty trade contractors. Project managers may also be called construction managers, construction superintendents, and construction foremen.

Employment Facts

There were 551,000 project managers employed in 2008.

Educational Requirements

In the past project managers usually rose through the ranks after years of working as carpenters, masons, plumbers or electricians. Now, many employers prefer to hire people who have earned a bachelor's degree in construction science, construction management, building science or civil engineering.

Other Requirements

In addition to a college degree, to become a project manager one also needs work experience. It can be obtained through an internship, a co-op experience or through paying jobs in the industry. One must have good oral and written communications skills, strong interpersonal and decision-making skills, and the ability to multi-task. Since things don't always go as planned, a project manager must be able to work well under pressure.

Advancement Opportunities

Certification of project managers isn't required, but it can be a valuable asset. Voluntary certifications are available from two professional associations: the American Institute of Constructors and the Construction Management Association of America.

Job Outlook

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects job growth in this field to be faster than average through 2018.

Earnings

Project managers earned a median annual salary of $82,330 in 2009.

Use the Cost of Living Calculator at Salary.com to find out how much a project manager currently earns in your city.

A Day in a Project Manager's Life

On a typical day a project manager's tasks may include:

  • Scheduling the project in logical steps and budgeting time required to meet deadlines.
  • Conferring with supervisory personnel, owners, contractors and design professionals to discuss and resolve matters such as work procedures, complaints, and construction problems.
  • Preparing contracts and negotiate revisions, changes, and additions to contractual agreements with architects, consultants, clients, suppliers, and subcontractors.
  • Preparing and submitting budget estimates and progress and cost tracking reports.
  • Interpreting and explaining plans and contract terms to administrative staff, workers, and clients, representing the owner or developer.

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Construction Manager, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/construction-managers.htm (visited December 6, 2010).
Employment and Training Administration, US Department of Labor, O*NET Online, Project Manager, on the Internet at http://online.onetcenter.org/link/summary/11-9021.00 (visited December 6, 2010).