Construction Project Manager: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a construction project manager. Get a quick overview of requirements - such as job duties and degree programs - to find out if this is the career for you.

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Construction project managers work in many areas of development and are responsible for overseeing a building project from start to finish. Their duties include hiring laborers and negotiating contracts, and it is also their responsibility to obtain all permits for a building site.

Essential Information

Construction project managers supervise construction projects from beginning to end, ensuring that projects are completed within time and budgetary constraints. An understanding of the construction business and the ability to work under deadlines in a fast-paced environment are important for career success. Work experience in the industry is one of the most important requirements for entering this career field, though bachelor's degrees are becoming increasingly common. Many construction project managers also pursue certification, though this is optional.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Construction-related work experience; voluntary certification available
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 5% (all construction managers)
Average Salary (2015)* $97,510 (all construction managers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Construction Project Manager Job Description

Construction project managers control the time, cost and quality of construction projects, from residential, commercial and industrial buildings to roads, bridges and schools. They plan and coordinate all aspects of the construction process, including hiring contractors and working with engineers, architects and vendors. A single manager might oversee an entire construction project, or multiple managers might oversee specific aspects of a larger project. Managers can be self-employed or be employees of construction management companies, developers or property owners. In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that construction managers earned, on average, $97,510 annually. Construction management jobs were anticipated to grow 5% from 2014-2024, also according to the BLS.

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Construction Project Manager Duties

Managers might begin their jobs by determining the scheduling of different phases of a project based on established deadlines. They often negotiate contracts with architects, vendors, contractors and other workers. The securing of building permits and licenses and delivery of materials and equipment to construction sites also might be issues that must be addressed initially.

As a project continues, construction managers typically confer with supervisors or other managers to monitor construction progress, including worker productivity and compliance with building and safety codes. Because they must ensure that a project is completed according to schedule, managers must resolve problems that arise due to inclement weather, emergencies or other issues that may cause delays.

Construction Project Manager Requirements

Increasingly, construction project managers are expected to have a bachelor's degree in a construction-related field, such as building science, construction management or civil engineering, as opposed to just having industry experience. However, years of construction experience still is needed for entry into this profession and can be gained through working as an intern, craftworker or supervisor on a construction job.

For those seeking increased career opportunities, earning a master's degree in a construction-related field could open the door to jobs at large construction firms. Also, earning voluntary certification might improve one's marketability. The American Institute of Constructors offers the Associate Constructor (AC) and Certified Professional Constructor (CPC) certifications, while the Construction Management Association of America offers the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) credential.

It is becoming more common for construction project managers to have a bachelor's degree in a discipline related to their career, such as construction management or building science. In addition to a postsecondary education, it's essential for these managers to have a few years of work experience in the construction industry. A master's degree can be beneficial when seeking career advancement.

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