Disclaimer Note: The content in is blog is just for informational purposes ONLY. We ARE NOT licensed, certified, or a party/entity to provide help in going into this profession. Please refer to your state’s board on current processes for where and how to become a project manager in construction.
An integral role in the construction industry, project managers oversee an entire construction site from start to finish. From project planning to budget to supervision, project managers make all important decisions about any construction activities on site.
At OnePointe Solutions, we’ve been working with construction project managers across the country for years. Through our collaborations, we’ve designed and manufactured quality laboratory, industrial and commercial furniture, from plastic laminate cabinets, custom laboratory casework, ESD workbenches, and epoxy resin countertops for various applications.
When it comes to their jobs, we strive to create amazing products for modern project problems.
Some project managers handle a myriad of projects, including the construction of public, residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. Additionally, project managers may serve as the primary liaison between a construction firm and its clients.
To ensure essential tasks are completed on time and within budget, project managers need to coordinate all daily tasks before performing work on any project.
Here, we are going to discuss the importance of a project manager in construction, including the necessary qualifications, certifications, licenses, and average salary range.
Do you wish to become a construction project manager? Let’s review what it takes to break into this particular role.
Job Description: Project Manager
Construction project managers, also known as general contractors, manage an overall construction project. Before managing a project, general contractors must collaborate with construction estimators to compile a bid.
Bids will include an itemized list of project necessities, including materials, tools, equipment, labor, and more.
The bidding process teaches construction managers how to navigate possible issues during construction, such as additional financing. To understand scheduling and once a bid is accepted, construction managers coordinate schedules, purchase and rent materials, and hire subcontractors for the job site.
Let’s say a bid was accepted for a daycare center and the project manager came to us to purchase the necessary furniture.
For this kind of facility, we would manufacture plastic laminate cabinets or powder-coated metal cabinets for storage and organization of supplies in the center. Each option can be configured from several dimensions, colors, styles, and finishes along with being easy to maintain and durable for the day-to-day duties in the center.
In addition, we would manufacture custom tables for the employees and children to do activities on and supply classroom cabinets, cubbies for kids to store their belongings, and proper seating for employees in each room of the daycare center.
Last but not least for the countertops and work surfaces, we would provide either plastic laminate, solid surface, quartz, granite, maple block, stainless steel, or epoxy resin countertops, depending on the needs of the project. Each option is easy to care for, can be customized to fit specific sizes and brings the whole center together.
At OnePointe Solutions, for virtually any job we can help.
Moving on to project manager, work preferences, some will work on-site, but others hire on-site managers for daily tasks. Regardless, all need to monitor safety and efficiency on a construction site.
Construction managers oversee the following:
- Crew safety
- Equipment and site safety
- Permits and street closures
- Anticipating weather conditions and scheduling accordingly
- Enforcing quality and safety standards
Special Skills & Qualifications
Just like any industry, special skills are beneficial in construction. Although special skills are often innate, one can acquire more through work experience.
Ideal skills and qualifications for general contractors may include:
- Ability to read building plans and blueprints
- Building/construction skills
- Excellent time management and organizational skills
- Attention to detail
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills
- Budget and purchasing experience
- Comfortable working with new people
- Able to learn quickly and in stressful situations
- Concern for the wellbeing of others and a touch of perfectionism
Qualifications to Become a Project Manager
To become a construction project manager, one first needs to determine what type of general contractor’s or specialty trade license to obtain in their home state.
By following all state and local regulations, including education requirements, professional industry experience, certifications, and required licenses, one has the potential to become a top-level construction manager in the industry.
So, what will it take for someone to become a key project manager in the construction field? Let’s review.
While there are many ways to venture into the construction industry, construction project managers continue to be essential to both the field and building sites. Depending on the state, some aspiring project managers can become licensed in their area by simply being 18 or older and obtaining a high school degree or equivalent.
However, nowadays, construction managers in various states must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in specialized areas such as construction management, architecture, construction science, or engineering before obtaining an official general contractors’ license at the state or local level. Several universities even offer construction management programs at the master’s level.
Many universities offer specialized bachelor’s degree programs with courses specific to the construction industry, including project management, architecture, construction methods, interior design, construction materials, cost estimation, and more. Finally, for aspiring project managers who instead want to oversee small-scale projects, consider relevant work experience and an associate’s degree from a 2-year college program within construction management or construction science.
In the construction industry, having relevant work experience is vital, particularly in a state that may not require formal education for the role.
If you are an aspiring general contractor and able to acquire entry-level experience, you will gain further insight into the construction industry and have an advantage in learning key management techniques. To gain more experience, consider shadowing a licensed, senior-level general contractor to learn how to confront countless obstacles on a job site.
You may also consider internships, apprenticeships, or specialized education courses to gain more professional construction experience.
Not only will obtaining more practical construction experience prepare you for taking a potential technical exam and enduring an extensive licensing application process, but you may no longer need a lot of on-site training at your first general contracting job. By gaining exposure to different areas in the construction field, you will soon discover that entry-level experience is key to the learning process.
Again, an entry-level construction manager who acquires plenty of initial experience before starting a project may not require as much on-site training. However, entry-level construction managers usually begin as assistant managers, working underneath an experienced senior-level manager.
Depending on the job site, construction firm, and the like, the length of a typical training period will vary.
Additionally, many construction managers specializing in electrical work, plumbing, masonry, and more will likely undergo a separate training period.
Certifications are not typically required for a project manager license but are crucial for proving that one has obtained significant professional knowledge and hands-on work experience within the construction industry.
For more information about certifications that project managers can obtain, research existing organizations such as the Construction Management Association of America and the American Institute of Constructors. The Construction Management Association of America offers the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) certification to general contractors who obtain relevant work experience and pass a required technical exam.
The American Institute of Constructors offers the Associate Constructor (AC) and Certified Professional Constructor (CPC) to those who pass the required exams and follow all requirements.
Additionally, many construction managers in certain areas of the United States consider obtaining their LEED credentials. LEED credentials are awarded to construction managers that complete special training courses about sustainable building practices and principles.
LEED is also offed to those who follow LEED requirements, resources, and processes in their building practice. LEED certification exams are offered by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).
You do not need relevant work experience to take the exam, but you will need some level of professional experience to become a LEED Accredited Professional.
Individual Licensing & Registration
License types vary state by state. Some states have an extensive application process to obtain a general contractor’s license, while other areas have a rather straightforward process.
For more information about the required construction licenses in your area, contact your state licensing board or visit their official website.
While there is not a license specifically for construction project managers, it can be beneficial to obtain certain licenses for specialty trades, if applicable. For instance, aspiring engineers may consider applying for a Professional Engineer (PE) license to obtain special approval in the engineering sect.
Finally, be sure to pay associated fees that may accompany your license type.
Business Licensing & Registration
In most states, construction firms with employees will need to register for a business license and follow all of the state requirements.
Business registration requirements often include:
- Registering through the state’s Secretary of State
- Registering for tax identification numbers, licenses, or permits
- Registering for several business taxes, including sales and use tax (seller’s permit), income tax withholding, and unemployment insurance tax through the state’s Department of Revenue
- Obtaining workers’ compensation insurance coverage to protect business employees, either commercially, on a self-insured basis, or through the state’s insurance program
- Obtaining and proving a surety bond and liability insurance coverage
If you’re interested in starting a general contracting business, check out our guide below:
Average Construction Manager Salary and Benefits
As of November 2021, the national average salary of a construction manager is $115,836, but the range falls between $100,174 and $132,360. Depending on state regulations, as well as one’s industry experience, education, certifications, and special skills, construction manager salaries may vary.
Explore local resources for your state’s wages to determine an average salary target for construction managers located in your area.
Do You Want to Become a Project Manager?
As you gain hands-on entry-level experience and research the specific application process for becoming a licensed project manager in your state, you need to consider the obvious. Will this particular role suit your wants and needs within the construction industry?
Common traits that fit the role of project manager may include:
- A strong interest in entrepreneurship
- A willingness to lead projects
- A passion for managing and building teams
- A strong decision-maker
- A risk-taker
- A passion for the outdoors
- Effective communications skills
- Effective time management skills
Need Help with Your Project?
If you’re a construction manager and have an upcoming job, we can help. If you need epoxy resin countertops, stainless steel cabinets, plastic laminate casework, a custom table, or something in between, give us a call at (866) 222-7494 to speak with a project consultant or fill out our online contact form today.