How to Become a Commercial Drywall Project Manager

Jul 20, 2018

Research the requirements to become a commercial drywall project manager. Learn about the job duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a career in drywall project management. View article »

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Video Transcript

Should I Become a Commercial Drywall Project Manager?

A commercial drywall project manager, also known as a project or construction manager, is responsible for overseeing drywall installation in commercial buildings. They may also select and hire drywall installers and tapers. Commercial drywall project managers may learn the craft of drywall installation and taping through on-the-job training or an apprenticeship.

Construction managers, including commercial drywall project managers, work at least full-time schedules, with overtime and on-call hours common. Many are self-employed. Work environments include a main office, field office, and on the construction site, overseeing the installation of drywall into new and refurbished buildings. The median annual salary for construction project managers was $73,079 as reported by Payscale.com in January 2016.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Varies; undergraduate degree may be preferred
Degree Field Construction management, building science, or a related field
Experience Varies; 5+ years may be required
Certification Voluntary professional certification available
Key Skills Physical strength, initiative, and stamina; decision-making, managerial, and communication skills; familiarity with document, project management, accounting, and word processing software; knowledge of drywall tools including putty knives, saws, trowels, lifts, and hand sprayers
Salary (2015) $73,079 (median for all construction project managers)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, CareerBuilder.com job postings (February 2013), O*Net Online, Payscale.com

The education requirements to become a drywall project manager vary. An undergraduate degree in construction management, building science, or a related field may be preferred. Experience requirements also vary, but at least five years of related experience may be required. Voluntary professional certification is available. Skills needed include physical strength; initiative; stamina; decision-making, managerial, and communication skills; familiarity with document and project management; proficiency with accounting and word processing software; and knowledge of drywall tools, including putty knives, saws, trowels, lifts, and hand sprayers.

Steps to Become a Commercial Drywall Project Manager

Let's look over what steps have to be taken to become a commercial drywall project manager.

Step 1: Gain Experience in the Drywall Field

Many people entering the drywall trade gain the necessary skills through informal on-the-job training as installers or tapers. Some aspiring drywall professionals complete union- or association-sponsored apprenticeship programs. A drywall and taper apprenticeship may consist of 2,000 paid on-the-job training hours and 144 classroom hours each year for up to 3-4 years.

Step 2: Earn a Degree

Some construction managers only have a high school diploma and years of professional experience. However, it's becoming important for all construction managers to obtain a bachelor's degree in areas like engineering, building science, or construction management. Programs like these offer courses in project administration, estimating, drafting, and scheduling. In some cases, coupling experience with an associate's degree may be sufficient for a construction management position.

Success Tip

Obtain certification. Students who are roughly 12 months away from completing a construction management bachelor's program can pursue the Associate Constructor (AC) credential offered by the American Institute of Constructors. After successfully passing a certification exam, students must provide proof of graduation in order to obtain the AC credential. Applicants with at least four years of experience in construction, four years of education in construction, or a mix of both may qualify as well.

Step 3: Obtain a Commercial Drywall Project Manager Position

Many employers require drywall project managers to have at least five years of experience in the field. With a combination of experience and education, applicants can look for available positions with general contractors, building contractors, and drywall contractors that work in the commercial building industry.

Step 4: Earn Construction Management Certification

With four years of construction management experience and a bachelor's degree in a relevant field, individuals are qualified for the Certified Construction Manager (CCA) credential offered by the Construction Management Association of America. Applicants must provide proof of education and experience, as well as two professional references. Completion of an exam is required as well.

Step 5: Maintain Certification

The AC credential is valid for two years. Professionals who hold that certification must pay a $75 annual maintenance fee; they also need to submit a report detailing their work and continuing education experiences over a 2-year period. The CCA credential must be renewed every three years; there is a $200 re-certification fee, and individuals must complete a certain number of professional development hours during that time.

To become a commercial drywall project manager, you'll need to gain experience in the field, earn a bachelor's degree, and obtain certification.

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