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Working As a Commercial Project Manager

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others
  • Scheduling Work and Activities
  • Getting Information
  • $91,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Commercial Project Manager Do

Construction managers plan, coordinate, budget, and supervise construction projects from start to finish.

Duties

Construction managers typically do the following:

  • Prepare cost estimates, budgets, and work timetables
  • Interpret and explain contracts and technical information to other professionals
  • Report work progress and budget matters to clients
  • Collaborate with architects, engineers, and other construction specialists
  • Select subcontractors and schedule and coordinate their activities
  • Respond to work delays, emergencies, and other problems
  • Comply with legal requirements, building and safety codes, and other regulations

Construction managers, often called general contractors or project managers, coordinate and supervise a wide variety of projects, including the building of all types of public, residential, commercial, and industrial structures, as well as roads, memorials, and bridges. Either a general contractor or a construction manager will oversee the construction phase of a project, although a construction manager may also consult with the client during the design phase to help refine construction plans and control costs.

Construction managers oversee specialized contractors and other personnel. They schedule and coordinate all construction processes so that projects meet design specifications. They ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget. Some managers may be responsible for several projects at once—for example, the construction of multiple apartment buildings.  

Construction managers work closely with other building specialists, such as architects, civil engineers, and a variety of trade workers, including stonemasons, electricians, and carpenters. Projects may require specialists in everything from structural steel and painting to landscaping, paving roads, and excavating sites. Depending on the project, construction managers may interact with lawyers and local government officials. For example, when working on city-owned property or municipal buildings, managers sometimes confer with city inspectors to ensure that all regulations are met.

For projects too large to be managed by one person, such as office buildings and industrial complexes, a top-level construction manager hires other construction managers to be in charge of different aspects of the project. For example, each construction manager would oversee a specific phase of the project, such as structural foundation, plumbing, or electrical work, and choose subcontractors to complete it. The top-level construction manager would then collaborate and coordinate with the other construction managers.

To maximize efficiency and productivity, construction managers often perform the tasks of a cost estimator. They use specialized cost-estimating and planning software to allocate time and money in order to complete their projects. Many managers also use software to plan the best way to get materials to the building site.

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How To Become A Commercial Project Manager

Large construction firms increasingly prefer candidates with both construction experience and a bachelor’s degree in a construction-related field. While some individuals with a high school diploma and many years of experience in a construction trade may be hired as construction managers, these individuals are typically qualified to become self-employed general contractors.

Education

It is becoming increasingly important for construction managers to have a bachelor’s degree in construction science, construction management, architecture, or engineering. As construction processes become more complex, employers are placing greater importance on specialized education.

More than 100 colleges and universities offer accredited bachelor’s degree programs in construction science, building science, or construction engineering. These programs include courses in project control and management, design, construction methods and materials, cost estimation, building codes and standards, and contract administration. Courses in mathematics and statistics are also relevant.

More than fifty 2-year colleges offer construction management or construction technology programs. An associate’s degree combined with work experience is typical for managers who supervise smaller projects.  

A few universities offer master’s degree programs in construction management.

Those with a high school diploma and several years of relevant work experience may qualify to become a construction manager, although most are qualified to become self-employed general contractors.

Training

New construction managers are typically hired as assistants and work under the guidance of an experienced manager. This training period may last several months to several years, depending on the firm.

Work Experience

If the typical education is not obtained, practical construction experience is important for jobseekers, because it reduces the need for initial on-the-job training. Internships, cooperative education programs, and previous work in the construction industry can provide that experience. Some construction managers become qualified solely through extensive construction experience, spending many years in carpentry, masonry, or other construction specialties.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not required, certification is becoming increasingly important for construction managers. Certification is valuable because it can demonstrate knowledge and experience.

The Construction Management Association of America awards the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) designation to workers who have the required experience and who pass a technical exam. It is recommended that applicants for this certification complete a self-study course that covers the professional role of a construction manager, legal issues, the allocation of risk, and other topics related to construction management.

The American Institute of Constructors awards the Associate Constructor (AC) and Certified Professional Constructor (CPC) designations to candidates who meet its requirements and pass the appropriate construction exams.

Some states require licensure for construction managers. For more information, contact your state licensing board.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Most managers plan a project strategy, handle unexpected issues and delays, and solve problems that arise over the course of the project. In addition, many managers use cost-estimating and planning software to determine costs and the materials and time required to complete projects.

Business skills. Construction managers address budget matters and coordinate and supervise workers. Choosing competent staff and establishing good working relationships with them is critical.

Customer-service skills. Construction managers are in constant contact with owners, inspectors, and the public. They must form good working relationships with these people and ensure their needs are met.

Decisionmaking skills. Construction managers choose personnel and subcontractors for specific tasks and jobs. Often, these choices must be made quickly to meet deadlines and budgets.

Initiative. Self-employed construction managers generate their business opportunities and must be proactive in finding new clients. They often market their services and bid on jobs, and they must also learn to perform special home improvement projects, such as installing mosaic glass tiles, sanding wood floors, and insulating homes.

Leadership skills. Managers must effectively delegate tasks to construction workers, subcontractors, and other lower level managers.

Speaking skills. Managers must give clear orders, explain complex information to construction workers and clients, and discuss technical details with other building specialists, such as architects. Self-employed construction managers must get their own projects, so the need to sell their services to potential clients is critical.

Technical skills. Managers must know construction methods and technologies, and must be able to interpret contracts and technical drawings.

Time-management skills. Construction managers must meet deadlines. They ensure that construction phases are completed on time so that the next phase can begin as scheduled. For instance, a building’s foundation cannot be constructed until the land is completely excavated.

Writing skills. Construction managers must write proposals, plans, and budgets, as well as document the progress of the work for clients and others involved in the building process.

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Commercial Project Manager Career Paths

Commercial Project Manager
Senior Project Manager
Director Of Construction
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Owner
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Vice President
Vice President-Project Management
12 Yearsyrs
Estimator Project Manager Construction Manager
Senior Project Manager Construction
13 Yearsyrs
Estimator Project Manager Vice President
Vice President Of Construction
11 Yearsyrs
Estimator Project Manager Operations Project Manager
Senior Operations Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Owner/Operator Facilities Manager
Senior Facilities Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Owner/Operator Construction Manager
Construction Area Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Owner/Operator Project Superintendent
Project And Field Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Project Manager Contract Project Manager
Contractor-Senior Project Manager
14 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Project Manager Project Director
Manager, Project Director
8 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Project Manager Program/Project Manager
Controls Project Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Development & Program Manager
Senior Development Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Manager Service Manager
Installation Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Principal Superintendent
District Commercial Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Facilities Manager Facilities Maintenance Manager
Facilities Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Facilities Manager Operations Project Manager
Regional Project Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Contract Project Manager Project Manager/Design Manager
Architectural Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Contract Project Manager Facilities Project Manager
Manager, Facilities Services
9 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Project Manager 3.5 years
Top Careers Before Commercial Project Manager
Owner 7.5%
Foreman 3.5%
Internship 3.0%
Manager 2.7%
Supervisor 2.6%
Top Careers After Commercial Project Manager
Owner 8.9%
Consultant 3.0%
Manager 2.4%
Principal 2.2%

Do you work as a Commercial Project Manager?

Average Yearly Salary
$91,000
Show Salaries
$63,000
Min 10%
$91,000
Median 50%
$91,000
Median 50%
$91,000
Median 50%
$91,000
Median 50%
$91,000
Median 50%
$91,000
Median 50%
$91,000
Median 50%
$131,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Union Bank
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
Hawaii
Avg Experience Level
3.5 years
How much does a Commercial Project Manager make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Commercial Project Manager in the United States is $91,295 per year or $44 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $63,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $131,000.

Real Commercial Project Manager Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Commercial Project Manager Outotec (USA), Inc. Denver, CO May 15, 2014 $164,000
Senior Commercial Project Manager-Drilling General Electric Company-Infrastructure Houston, TX Dec 26, 2013 $111,800
Commercial Project Manager III Siemens Industry, Inc. Louisville, KY Aug 14, 2015 $101,000
Commercial Equipment Project Manager II The Coca-Cola Company Atlanta, GA Mar 18, 2016 $95,000 -
$124,000
Commercial Project Manager Philips Electronics North America Corporation Somerset, NJ Jul 21, 2015 $93,413
Commercial Project Manager IV Siemens Industry, Inc. Sacramento, CA Jan 15, 2012 $93,000
Project Manager, Commercialization Beauty Avenues, Inc. New York, NY Sep 13, 2010 $90,000
Cadiology & Critical Care Commercial Project Manager Md International Miami, FL Sep 22, 2009 $85,600
Commercialization Project Manager Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Sep 16, 2014 $83,600
HDA Project and Commercial Manager United Fluids Hydro LLC Houston, TX Nov 01, 2011 $82,909 -
$98,696
Commercial Project Manager Siemens Industry, Inc. TX Oct 01, 2012 $77,315
Commercial Credit Risk Analytics Project Manager BB&T Corporation Winston-Salem, NC Dec 09, 2016 $72,985
Commercial Credit Risk Analytics Project Manager BB&T Corporation Winston-Salem, NC Sep 12, 2013 $65,600

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Top Skills for A Commercial Project Manager

  1. Project Management
  2. General Contractors
  3. Safety Meetings
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided commercial concrete restoration project management and building inspection services for a Professional Engineer.
  • Position required interaction with commercial and residential customers, general contractors as well as state and city inspectors.
  • Conduct regular safety meetings and be up to date on all OSHA rules and regulations and enforcing as necessary.
  • Offered highly responsive customer service to contractors.
  • Offered clients a wide range of new construction and build-out services with a particular focus on design and energy efficiency.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Commercial Project Managers

  1. New Jersey
  2. Hawaii
  3. New York
  4. Massachusetts
  5. North Carolina
  6. Washington
  7. Connecticut
  8. California
  9. Maine
  10. Pennsylvania
  • (1,232 jobs)
  • (100 jobs)
  • (2,279 jobs)
  • (1,757 jobs)
  • (1,485 jobs)
  • (1,621 jobs)
  • (525 jobs)
  • (5,885 jobs)
  • (105 jobs)
  • (1,477 jobs)

Commercial Project Manager Demographics

Gender

Male

70.6%

Female

20.0%

Unknown

9.3%
Ethnicity

White

62.1%

Hispanic or Latino

15.0%

Black or African American

11.2%

Asian

7.8%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

30.6%

French

16.7%

Russian

5.6%

German

5.6%

Korean

5.6%

Italian

5.6%

Arabic

5.6%

Portuguese

2.8%

Chinese

2.8%

Greek

2.8%

Japanese

2.8%

Mandarin

2.8%

Carrier

2.8%

Hindi

2.8%

Dakota

2.8%

Bengali

2.8%
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Commercial Project Manager Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

19.5%

Pennsylvania State University

6.5%

Drexel University

5.7%

American University

5.7%

Arizona State University

4.9%

Virginia Commonwealth University

4.9%

Georgia State University

4.9%

DePaul University

4.9%

Iowa State University

4.9%

University of Maryland - College Park

4.1%

Purdue University

4.1%

University of Denver

4.1%

Michigan State University

3.3%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.3%

University of Florida

3.3%

San Jose State University

3.3%

University of Washington

3.3%

Kennesaw State University

3.3%

University of South Alabama

3.3%

Sam Houston State University

3.3%
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Majors

Business

31.5%

Finance

8.8%

Construction Management

7.7%

Project Management

6.1%

Management

6.0%

Accounting

4.2%

Mechanical Engineering

3.8%

Marketing

3.8%

Electrical Engineering

3.3%

Architecture

2.9%

Computer Science

2.7%

Political Science

2.5%

Graphic Design

2.3%

Communication

2.1%

Civil Engineering

2.1%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

2.1%

Engineering

2.1%

Law

2.1%

Interior Design

1.9%

Economics

1.9%
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Degrees

Bachelors

43.6%

Other

23.1%

Masters

19.2%

Associate

7.4%

Certificate

4.0%

Doctorate

1.4%

Diploma

0.9%

License

0.3%
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Updated May 19, 2020