How to Become a Construction Project Manager

Project management is a critical part of the construction industry. Yes, believe it or not, there’s more to construction than driving nails and installing screws.

It is the project manager’s job to plan, schedule, oversee, and of course, manage every aspect of a construction project (that’s why we call it a project manager…). This includes procuring materials and equipment, negotiating with subcontractors, and keeping track of every minute—yet undoubtedly important—detail.

It’s certainly not the easiest job in the world, but it can provide tremendous satisfaction when you see your work bearing tangible results. If this sounds like something that appeals to you, then read on as we give an overview of what it takes to become a successful construction project manager!

Make Sure You Have a Thorough Understanding of the Responsibilities

Construction projects can be complicated, stressful, and daunting. There’s no winging a construction project. You need to have someone captaining the ship and keeping everything afloat—enter the construction project manager! 

Their job is to lead a team of workers, organizing all aspects of the build, enforcing timelines and deadlines, scheduling subcontractors, and faithfully managing budgets throughout the whole process.

It’s no easy feat, but with a clear eye for detail and excellent communication skills, the project manager (PM) makes sure that every building ends up strong and sound. If you want your project done right, it pays to think beyond bricks and mortar.

Take Courses and Receive Certifications

Taking construction management courses, obtaining relevant certifications, participating in construction management programs, and earning a college degree in business management are great ways to prepare yourself for becoming a PM. In this ever-changing world of innovative design technology and practices, staying ahead of the game means keeping up with the latest trends.

Those taking courses and obtaining certifications, such as OSHA 10, boom and forklift, structural welding, and CDL certifications, relevant to construction can gain strong foundations in industry standards, strategies, and technologies that will make them invaluable additions to any construction team. Plus, a piece of paper attesting to your skills is icing on the cake when applying for positions!

Complete an Internship with a Local Contractor

Most construction PMs worked in the field before ascending to their current position. It helps to have prior field management experience or mastered multiple trades or tasks. If you’re interested in gaining hands-on experience with a local contractor, then an internship is the perfect way to do it! Not only can you add an impressive line on your resume, but you get to see what real-world building looks like and sharpen your skills.

Plus, it’s an awesome networking opportunity: who knows how many contacts you could make among contractors and engineers? Thanks to interning, you can be one step ahead of the rest when starting on your future projects.

Network with People in the Construction Industry

Networking is an essential part of finding job opportunities in the construction industry. By connecting with knowledgeable experts and professionals, you can find out what openings are available and gain insights into career paths that may interest you. Through networking, you can also learn more about the employers who are offering jobs so you can decide whether they are a good fit for your skills and goals.

Don’t forget to broaden your scope! Reach out not only to experienced people in the construction industry but also to those who have connections to it, like friends or family members who have worked in other related fields. By drawing on these varied sources of information from the inside and outside of the field, you will be able to build a strong base of knowledge and make informed decisions about your career.

Research Job Postings, Attend Interviews, and Apply for Positions

When you’re looking for a job, it’s important to be diligent and take a strategic approach.

Firstly, research the job postings in your field of interest, as this will help determine your focus and which positions you want to apply for.

Secondly, prepare for interviews ahead of time; practice using positive language, articulating your strengths confidently, and asking questions that demonstrate interest in the position.

Finally, apply for several positions that suit what you’re looking for. Submit tailored cover letters and resumes that will compel employers to invite you to an interview. Doing all these steps with intention and careful organization is key to finding your ideal job.

Stay Up to Date on Industry Trends and Developments

Staying up to date on trends and developments within the construction industry is an important step for professionals who want to maintain their knowledge of the field. Keeping an eye out for new changes in materials, regulations, and tech advancements can give a clear advantage over other competitors who may be unaware of these updates.

It’s especially important to attend conferences and seminars related to the trade in order to get more detailed insight into any upcoming changes. Additionally, finding the time to read relevant periodicals or articles can help fuel valuable conversations with colleagues and customers alike. Taking this extra effort to stay informed shows a commitment to staying up to date in the ever-evolving construction industry.

Becoming a PM in the construction industry is no easy feat. It requires commitment and dedication to gain the necessary knowledge, experience, and certifications. You need to have superb communication skills, excellent leadership abilities, and a knack for solving problems. You must be disciplined, motivated, and professional. Does this sound tough? It is! Becoming a PM is not for everyone.

Networking with people in the industry, taking relevant courses and getting certifications, completing internships, researching job postings, and applying for positions will increase your chances of success.

Koehn Construction Services is a commercial construction company based in the Midwest that specializes in the design-build construction method. We understand that the right team needs to be in place for any given project, which is why we are always looking for talented professionals who have the inte-grit-y required to succeed in this industry!

If you think that you have what it takes to become a successful construction PM, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Call (620) 378-3002 or email We look forward to hearing from you!

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