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Become A Project Manager/Design Manager

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Working As A Project Manager/Design Manager

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others
  • Scheduling Work and Activities
  • Getting Information
  • $87,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Project Manager/Design 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 Project Manager/Design 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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Project Manager/Design Manager Career Paths

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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Project Architect 5.3 years
Design Supervisor 5.0 years
Design Manager 3.9 years
Project Designer 3.0 years
Top Careers Before Project Manager/Design Manager
Designer 11.7%
Internship 5.7%
Draftsman 3.7%
Architect 3.0%
Top Careers After Project Manager/Design Manager
Designer 6.9%
Owner 4.9%
Consultant 3.8%
Architect 3.6%
Principal 2.7%
Manager 2.4%

Do you work as a Project Manager/Design Manager?

Project Manager/Design Manager Demographics

Gender

Male

59.8%

Female

31.0%

Unknown

9.2%
Ethnicity

White

60.0%

Hispanic or Latino

16.8%

Black or African American

10.6%

Asian

8.6%

Unknown

4.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

46.0%

French

8.4%

Portuguese

7.9%

Italian

6.4%

German

4.0%

Mandarin

3.5%

Russian

3.5%

Carrier

3.5%

Korean

3.0%

Chinese

3.0%

Japanese

3.0%

Hindi

1.5%

Arabic

1.5%

Croatian

1.0%

Persian

1.0%

Polish

1.0%

Swahili

0.5%

Turkish

0.5%

Marathi

0.5%

Gujarati

0.5%
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Project Manager/Design Manager Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

10.1%

Fashion Institute of Technology

8.0%

University of Houston

5.9%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

5.3%

University of California - Berkeley

5.1%

Iowa State University

5.1%

Michigan State University

4.8%

Ohio State University

4.6%

Savannah College of Art and Design

4.6%

University of Texas at Austin

4.6%

Pratt Institute-Main

4.6%

Auburn University

4.4%

University of Washington

4.4%

Purdue University

4.4%

Arizona State University

4.2%

University of Colorado at Boulder

4.2%

University of Georgia

4.0%

University of Arizona

4.0%

Syracuse University

3.8%

University of Florida

3.8%
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Majors

Architecture

17.6%

Graphic Design

11.5%

Interior Design

11.3%

Business

10.8%

Drafting And Design

7.4%

Mechanical Engineering

4.4%

Civil Engineering

4.3%

Fine Arts

4.2%

Project Management

3.8%

Construction Management

3.1%

Environmental Design

2.8%

Electrical Engineering

2.5%

Communication

2.4%

Landscape Architecture

2.4%

Computer Science

2.3%

Marketing

2.3%

Management

2.2%

Engineering

1.8%

Urban Planning

1.6%

Education

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

45.7%

Masters

18.1%

Other

17.7%

Associate

12.2%

Certificate

4.3%

Doctorate

0.8%

Diploma

0.8%

License

0.2%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$87,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$55,000
Min 10%
$87,000
Median 50%
$87,000
Median 50%
$87,000
Median 50%
$87,000
Median 50%
$87,000
Median 50%
$87,000
Median 50%
$87,000
Median 50%
$138,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Caspers
Highest Paying City
San Jose, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
3.8 years
How much does a Project Manager/Design Manager make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Project Manager/Design Manager in the United States is $87,923 per year or $42 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $55,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $138,000.

Real Project Manager/Design Manager Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Manager of Project Design & Performance Pacific Utility Inc. Downey, CA Dec 06, 2010 $292,180
Manager of Project Design & Performance Pacific Utility Inc. Downey, CA Dec 01, 2010 $292,180
Project Manager Design Lumium Design Santa Clara, CA Mar 16, 2016 $153,483
Project Design Manager ROVI Corporation San Carlos, CA Oct 19, 2016 $150,467
Designer Project Manager TLG International Los Angeles, CA Jun 04, 2012 $145,047
Designer/Project Manager TLG International Los Angeles, CA Sep 08, 2012 $145,047
Designer Project Manager TLG International Los Angeles, CA Oct 02, 2012 $145,047
Project Manager, Design Fireeye, Inc. Milpitas, CA May 18, 2016 $145,000 -
$155,000
Project Manager, Store Design Sequoia Group Holdings LLC New York, NY Dec 24, 2012 $120,000
Manager, Project Design and Performance Belectric, Inc. Newark, CA Oct 01, 2010 $116,000
Project Manager, Structural Design DPR Construction, A General Partnership San Jose, CA Sep 09, 2016 $113,000
Project Manager, Structural Design DPR Construction, A General Partnership Palo Alto, CA Sep 09, 2016 $113,000
Project Manager, Design & Construction Genentech, Inc. South San Francisco, CA Dec 29, 2016 $84,906 -
$136,500
Mixed Signal Layout Design-Project Manager Infotech Enterprises America, Inc. San Diego, CA Aug 16, 2014 $83,866
Mask Layout Design-Project Manager Infotech Enterprises America, Inc. San Diego, CA Aug 20, 2014 $83,866
Project Manager, Architectural Design MR Architecture & Decor, P.C. New York, NY Oct 19, 2010 $80,000
Project Manager, Architectural Design MR Architecture & Decor, P.C. New York, NY Feb 01, 2011 $80,000
Project Manager, Planning and Design The University of Chicago Chicago, IL Oct 31, 2014 $80,000
Project Manager-Tool Design Advantage Technical Resourcing, Inc. Raynham, MA Jan 12, 2015 $78,600
Mixed Signal Layout Design-Project Manager Infotech Enterprises America, Inc. San Diego, CA Aug 16, 2014 $71,219
Mask Layout Design-Project Manager Infotech Enterprises America, Inc. San Diego, CA Aug 20, 2014 $71,219
Project Manager, Fixtures Design Polo Ralph Lauren New York, NY Aug 23, 2009 $70,000
Project Manager, Multimedia Design Local Projects LLC New York, NY Sep 15, 2013 $70,000
Designer/Project Manager Western States Fire Protection Sacramento, CA Sep 15, 2015 $67,243
Project Manager/Architectural Designer Yogurtland Franchising, Inc. Anaheim, CA Sep 14, 2012 $66,387
Project Manager, Architecture & Design Randall E. Stofft Architects, P.A. Delray Beach, FL Oct 05, 2007 $66,000

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Top Skills for A Project Manager/Design Manager

  1. Project Management
  2. New Construction
  3. CAD
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided project management and review of personnel related to architectural production of construction documents for commercial and retail space.
  • Designed and implemented remodeling and new construction projects to satisfy project requirements.
  • Prepared design documents using AutoCAD software.
  • Assist RBC project managers with solicitation of general contractors for construction projects that included development of project schedules and bid evaluation.
  • Direct awesome customer service, investigate and resolve customer grievances, survey customer experiences and apply feedback to improvements in organization.

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Top 10 Best States for Project Manager/Design Managers

  1. Delaware
  2. California
  3. New Jersey
  4. Rhode Island
  5. Connecticut
  6. Massachusetts
  7. North Carolina
  8. Alaska
  9. Wisconsin
  10. New York
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  • (5,650 jobs)
  • (1,155 jobs)
  • (122 jobs)
  • (502 jobs)
  • (1,655 jobs)
  • (1,363 jobs)
  • (59 jobs)
  • (506 jobs)
  • (2,214 jobs)

Top Project Manager/Design Manager Employers

Jobs From Top Project Manager/Design Manager Employers

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