Architectural Project Manager: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an architectural project manager. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

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An architectural project manager splits their time between the office and field, discussing with clients and ensuring the completion of projects. They oversee each step of the construction process. Voluntary certification for these managers is available and may be a considerable asset given the slow job growth estimated for this profession.

Essential Information

Architectural project managers oversee all aspects of the design and construction process of a building project, from developing and reviewing building plans to making sure a project meets environmental and zoning standards. An architectural project manager must usually hold a professional degree, such as a Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch), which typically takes five years to complete. In addition, new employees to this field must complete a period of supervised training before taking the Architect Registration Exam (ARE) for state licensure. Someone who enjoys construction, design, project planning, and management may find this to be an interesting career field.

Required Education Bachelor of Architecture degree
Other Requirements Successful completion of the Architect Registration Exam for state licensure
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 2% (for architectural and engineering managers)
Median Salary (2016)** $69,911

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com

Job Description for Architectural Project Managers

Architectural project managers typically are involved in most, if not all, aspects of construction projects. These professionals consider many factors as they help architectural projects involving commercial, industrial or residential buildings reach completion. Most architectural project managers spend a significant portion of their time consulting with clients in an office setting. However, they also visit construction sites, where they interact with engineers, contractors and construction personnel.

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Architectural Project Manager Duties

From site preparation to building completion, architectural project managers oversee elements of the design and construction processes. Part of this preparation includes developing, organizing and reviewing building plans, as well as preparing construction contracts for general contractors. Architectural project managers also can take part in interviewing and hiring contractors for proposed projects. As they consult with clients, these professionals generally include a cost estimate based on equipment, materials and labor requirements.

Architectural project managers must ensure that construction projects meet environmental, safety, structural, zoning and aesthetic standards. They determine and schedule different stages of the building process according to client needs. During construction site visits, they monitor progress and ascertain whether phases of the construction process are in compliance with building plans and project deadlines. After building completion, project managers may provide additional services for expansion and relocation projects.

Requirements for Architectural Project Managers

Many employers require project managers to possess a relevant, professional degree, such as the Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.). A B.Arch. program typically takes five years to complete, and students take coursework in architectural design, building systems, architectural history, general physics, construction management and professional practices. In addition to obtaining a relevant degree, these professionals must complete a period of supervised training before taking the Architect Registration Exam (ARE) for state licensure.

Certification for architectural project managers is voluntary, but it may demonstrate competency and experience to prospective clients. This certification can be obtained through the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards for candidates who meet education, training and licensure requirements.

Architectural project managers also must be able to balance technical skills and creative aptitude in a fast-paced environment. They must be familiar with architectural standards, engineering practices, building ordinances and blueprints in order to communicate effectively with clients and co-workers.

Employment Outlook and Salary

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment of architectural and engineering managers will grow by 2% from 2014-2024. The BLS also reported that the median salary for this field was $132,800 as of May 2015. PayScale.com data from October 2016, however, indicates that the median salary for architectural project managers is $69,911.

Architectural project managers work with clients to turn their architectural needs into reality, overseeing every detail from design to completion. A bachelor's in architecture is the most common degree for this profession, and a prerequisite for state licensure. These professionals must be able to work in a fast-paced environment and have strong communication abilities, as well as the appropriate technical skills, to succeed in their field.

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