What the Job Demands
As the name implies, a construction project management position demands planning, implementing and evaluating the building projects, be it for the public or the private sector. Projects span a wide variety of structures from the residential homes to the commercial office buildings and industrial plants as well as the nation's infrastructure like roads, highways and bridges. Indeed, along with other occupations in the industry, construction project management work provides for a very important role in keeping our society functional in so many ways.
As a construction project manager, you will be expected to perform the following functions although it must be noted that this list is not all-inclusive:
* Participate in the selection of the construction workers from the apprentices to the master craftsmen
* Supervise the construction of the project from the beginning till the end, all while ensuring that the timetable and the budget are followed every step of the way.
* Coordinate with the other professionals - engineers and architects, for example - as well as the clients to ensure that project goals are achieved
You may be tasked to oversee the entire project or just one aspect of it. As such, working with other project managers is also a reality of the job.
As for other professional qualities, construction project manager jobs demand time flexibility, the ability to work effectively under pressure from deadlines and cost constraints, and the capacity to manage several tasks simultaneously. You must also have working knowledge of the engineering, architectural and other aspects of the construction work so that you are able to tie up everything together. Construction project management work also demands the ability to keep up with the changing technology in building and in computers.
But that is not all either. A construction project management position also requires personal traits like good leadership skills, good communication skills and good language skills. Keep in mind that you are not just dealing with materials and equipment but, more importantly, with people as well.
Where the Jobs Are
There are many places to find and apply for project management jobs in construction. You can be a salaried employee of a general contracting company in the private sector or a government employee with any of the public instrumentalities involved with national infrastructure. You may also be the construction project manager of a real estate property owner, which is increasingly becoming the path of choice for many professionals. Of course, you always have the choice of becoming self-employed. Your business can take on construction projects, big and small, with other professionals and skilled workers on board.
How to Get the Jobs
Unlike other skilled positions like carpenters, construction project manager jobs often require a bachelor's degree in related fields like construction science, construction management and building science as well as civil engineering. Of course, relevant training and work experience are necessary for construction project management work since you have to know almost every aspect of the building from the foundation to the roof.
However, it must be said that not all employers offering project management jobs in construction require a bachelor's degree. You will also find employers hiring professionals with just an associate degree in a related field coupled with years of practical experience in the construction trades. Thus, many project managers worked their way up the ladder by starting as licensed carpenters, going back to school for their associate degrees and then purveying their new knowledge.
Also, a construction project management position will often require the relevant certification, which can be secured from the American Institute of Constructors and the Construction Management Association of America. Said certification is granted after meeting the requirements and passing the examinations.
You will appreciate the pay and perks of a construction project manager, that's for sure. Median annual wages for 2008 was at $79,860 with managers employed by building equipment contractors earning the highest income at $81,590 per year.
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