According to Payscale.com, over 4,900 construction project managers report making between $48,400 and $105,698 per year. Pay depends on experience and skill set, but construction project managers are often able to find work in most cities across the country and around the world once they obtain the appropriate work history and education, and often a construction project management certification.
What is Construction Project Management?
Construction project management is not the same thing as construction management. A construction manager often acts in a supervisor role, leading a team of people to complete a job on time and within budget. A construction project manager has the same goals, but he or she is typically more involved in the processes and organizational aspects of a construction job, working with the site manager and other critical team members to ensure work is done correctly, in the right order, and according to specifications.
Construction project managers help bid on projects by compiling appropriate requirements and aligning costs in a data-centric way that helps contractors or construction companies bid with accuracy. Once projects are won, project managers help manage schedules, resources, and implementation both on and off-site. Some common skill sets for construction project management include AutoCad knowledge, contract negotiation, CPM Scheduling, time and quality management, safety management, and cost management.
Why Seek a Construction Project Management Certification?
As companies in all types of industries deal with growing costs and a continuous need to drive improvements and a competitive edge, they turn increasingly to project managers to lead teams toward success. PMs in any field are trained to help teams save money while leveraging improvements for big bottom-line results. When you can save construction firms and contractors money and help them get projects completed safely, with quality, and within time and budget requirements, then you are valuable. That translates into higher pay, job security, and a path to other careers, including engineering or executive construction management.
Types of Construction Project Management Certifications
Before stepping forward onto your construction career path, though, education and training is important. How you go about becoming a project manager in construction depends on where you are today: are you just out of high school and looking for a college degree program, or do you have years of building and construction experience and want to take the next step in your career?
Online or Classroom Certification
An online certification lets you obtain your Project Management Professional (PMP) certification or Planning & Scheduling Professional (PSP) with an emphasis in construction quickly and without required general studies classes. Most online certification programs concentrate on project management skills and tools, tying those into a specialized field where applicable, so this is a good option for someone who already has experience in construction and wants to add new skill sets to his or her resume. Some community colleges also offer a careers study certification for construction project management. A certificate program is a fast way to boost education credentials for broader job prospects.
An associate’s degree in construction management or other relevant programs might be the right choice if you have limited experience on the job and you want to jump-start your career. Associate’s degrees usually take up to two years to complete and will require some general classwork in addition to construction and project management related courses. Even with an associate’s degree, if you want a project management job, you might need the PM certification too.
If you know you want to own your own construction company or move up to an executive level one day, then a bachelor’s degree is probably going to be required at some point. You can start with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in construction management, but you might also consider engineering or even business degrees depending on your ultimate goals. Someone with a relevant bachelor’s degree and experience in construction might be offered a project management job if they can demonstrate relevant PM skills, even if they don’t have a formal construction project management certification.
Training for Construction Software Tools
Regardless of the educational route you take toward construction project management certification, you’ll need to know how to use a variety of niche-specific tools. Project management software, such as Primavera P6, is one such tool. Individuals who are looking for project management work in the construction industry can usually find online learning opportunities for such software, and it’s a good idea to keep up with new tools even if you are experienced in construction project management. The world of construction is full of opportunities, either at home or around the world. Enjoy the journey.