Construction Project Managers (CPMs) are specialized project managers who assist in the design, contracting and construction of new and rehabilitative building projects. CPM's work to implement efficient building practices that span a project from design to completion. As more cost-conscious construction practices come into the market, effectively trained construction project managers are experiencing a surge in demand.
The construction project manager is the ultimate authority on the development and completion of a construction project. Generally, a CPM spends his or her time overseeing the project and hiring and approving work completed by subcontractors as well as negotiating contracts and developing a budget and a timeline for the completion of the project. If issues arise with contractors or permitting, the CPM is responsible for resolving those issues with either the subcontractors or government officials. These professionals also work as a liaison between the construction team, architects, designers and the owners and stakeholders of the project to facilitate communication, decision-making and problem-solving.
According to 2012 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the field is projected to grow 14% through 2020. The redevelopment of urban areas, as well as a need for cost savvy CPMs who are familiar with new eco-friendly building techniques may help drive the need for an additional 86,600 projected CPM jobs created through 2020.
According to the BLS, the 2012 median annual salary was approximately $82,790. The most lucrative positions tend to be on large urban or suburban projects that have multiple phases and have CPM's with more than five years of experience. CPMs who have a Bachelor's Degree may earn a higher salary and have greater opportunities than those who have no degree or an Associate's Degree. Engineers or architects who have an MBA or other business administration and financial management skills may also have the opportunity to work on the largest projects with higher earning potential.
Construction Project Managers can have a variety of job responsibilities on a daily basis. CPMs generally begin working on a project well before any actual construction takes place. Beginning in the early development stages, CPMs not only help to plan the project itself, but work to coordinate the different services that will be needed as well as develop and maintain the working budget. As the project begins, they take an active role in supervising the progress of each stage of the construction, planning for each phase prior to its start.
Construction Project Managers typically require a broad background in both construction techniques as well as design, engineering and business administration skills. Having a minimum of an associate's degree in combination with a five-year span of experience may offer the opportunity to gain an entry level CPM position. There are many online construction project management programs that can assist new CPM's in gaining the background and knowledge to operate their projects effectively and efficiently. Online CPM programs can provide cutting-edge knowledge in project management procedures and can offer opportunities to network and improve a CPM's skill base as they pursue more lucrative positions.
If you are the type of person who enjoys the challenges of managing numerous teams to arrive at a single end result, and you have a knack for numbers and scheduling, consider a career as a construction project manager.