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Project Manager: Career Information


Two hard-hat workers with lots of cranes in the background.
Christian Lagereek/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Job Description - Project Manager:

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 - Project Manager:

There were 551,000 project managers employed in 2008.

Educational Requirements - Project Manager:

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 - Project Manager:

In addition to a college degree, to become a project manager one also needs work experience. This can be obtained through an internship, a co-op experience or through paying jobs in the industry. One must have 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 - Project Manager:

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 - Project Manager:

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

Earnings - Project Manager:

Median annual earnings of project managers were $82,330 in 2009.

Use the Salary Wizard 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 negotiating 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.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, Project Manager, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos005.htm (visited December 6, 2010).
Employment and Training Administration, U.S. 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).

Should You Become a Construction Project Manager? Take a Quiz to Find Out.


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