Working as a Project Manager in Construction

While every job on a construction work site is important, project managers help make sure a building project actually gets completed. It’s a job where you get to combine your knowledge of the industry with the ability to help lead, motivate and inspire teams to work toward a shared vision. And, it’s a role that is only going to need more motivated individuals to step into it in the years to come with project management careers expected to grow 14% by 2026. 

So what’s it take to become a project manager and what does the day-to-day look like? Let’s break it down. 

What types of things will I be doing as a project manager?

As a project manager, you will already be very familiar with the building process, as well as the culture of construction. You will be the primary leader of a building project, responsible for planning and overseeing its progress along the way. No two days will be the same and you’ll use a variety of skills depending on the task at hand.

Typical tasks include blueprint reading, quality control, reviewing proposals, creating schedules for employees and project completion, and problem solving on a daily basis. 

How can I build a career path and become a project manager? 

The construction project management career is a mid-level management role. Because of that, you’ll most likely report to senior level management and already have a good amount of experience under your belt. Luckily, there are a variety of ways to initiate a career path to a project manager position including at a four-year college, a community or technical college, or a trade apprenticeship. 

Before becoming a project manager, however, this type of role typically requires at least 5-7 years of experience in the field. 

What skills are important to have as a project manager? 

  • Strong communicator 
  • Ability to effectively manage your own time
  • Great attention to detail
  • Strong problem-solver and the ability to bring creative thinking to a situation
  • Enjoy working with other people 
  • Natural leader 

How much money can I make?

In becoming a project manager, you can expect a solid salary. According to the averages, the 2019 Entry Pay for a project manager was $49,000 and the overall average pay was $78,000. This is far higher than the average salary across any U.S. job where that equals $53,924. 

What training is needed?

Becoming a project manager takes experience. Learn as much as possible about the industry through hands-on experiences such as internships, apprenticeships or entry-level positions. Seek out older professionals who work as project managers and ask to shadow them or meet with them about the path they built to become a project manager. Once you have five or more years in the field, you’ll be a great candidate for a project management position. You can even pursue certain certifications, such as the certified construction manager credential, to bolster your knowledge and help you be even more effective in your job. 

To learn more about becoming a project manager or other careers in the industry, check out the Build Iowa Career Center:

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