Can You Be a Construction Project Manager With No Degree?

Published Categorized as Project Management
Construction Project Manager

If you’ve always been interested in building things, you might consider going into construction. However, construction jobs don’t necessitate a degree. Therefore, do you need a degree to work in higher-level positions, like becoming a construction project manager? 

You can be a construction project manager with no degree. However, you’ll need more years of experience than degree graduates as they have more theoretical knowledge. Lacking a degree will also limit the number of projects you receive as clients might specify they only want degree holders.

To learn more about what a construction project manager does and if it’s possible to be one without a degree, keep reading! 

Do Construction Project Managers Need Degrees?

Construction project managers don’t need degrees, but most companies will only hire you if you have approximately 10 to 15 years of experience. 

This is only possible through a gradual career progression from working as a construction worker to becoming a supervisor and then a construction project manager. 

On the other hand, it’s possible for degree holders to be offered a managerial position immediately, even if it isn’t the construction project manager. This is because they have the theoretical knowledge from their degrees that you lack. 

Even if you have connections in the construction industry, most companies will only be willing to give you an entry-level job if you have no experience. 

Once you have an entry-level job in this field, you need to ensure that you display enough passion for it so that someone is willing to mentor you to help you work your way up to earn that management position. 

How To Become a Construction Project Manager

You can build your career to the level of a construction project manager if you do the following:

  • Work for a construction company
  • Ask questions
  • Find a mentor
  • Get qualifications

Let’s look at these points in a bit more detail. 

Work for a Construction Company

Nobody will hire you to be a construction project manager without prior experience, even if you have a degree. 

Being a manager isn’t just about working numbers. You need to know about what’s happening on the ground to direct your workers to perform according to client requirements. 

In addition to this, you’ll need to have great interpersonal skills to direct your co-workers when you become a manager. To gain this experience, you’ll need to work with a contractor. 

There are two types of firms, these are:

  • Large firms. Working with large firms will give you a structured thinking process that’ll help you throughout your life. 
  • Small firms. Smaller firms tend to give you a creative and flexible approach to solving problems as they might not have the staffing or resources that a larger firm has. 

Ask Questions

Being inquisitive is an important trait to have. You should be asking questions about why things are done a specific way and if the techniques you’ve learned on the job are universal. 

This will also let you learn specific techniques about hammering or digging better, and you’ll be able to progress faster in your role. 

Find a Mentor

Before becoming a construction project manager, you need to work with someone who has already learned the ropes so you can learn from them. 

After gaining some experience, you should try out for the role of an assistant construction project manager. This will let you tail a construction project manager to learn the skills that companies want from you. 

Get Qualifications

Although it’s possible to become a construction project manager without a degree, it’ll take longer compared to someone that has one. 

Thus, you should pursue a construction management degree or civil engineering degree. These degrees might not give you on-the-job experience, but they’ll teach you valuable theoretical knowledge. 

Getting a degree and then getting some on-job experience will give you a leg-up over the others who don’t have either a degree or experience. 

In addition to a degree, consider pursuing a certification program like the Certified Construction Manager (CCM). These programs verify that you have experience. This is because you can only apply for them after four years of experience in the construction field, given that you have a bachelor’s degree. 

With this standardized certification, employers will have more confidence in your ability to work as a construction manager and will be more likely to hire you. If you want to tackle higher-level projects, you might even need to get a master’s.

Although working in the construction field doesn’t necessitate a degree, those in higher positions usually have degrees as customers demand it. 

What Do Construction Project Manager Jobs Entail?

Construction project manager jobs entail overseeing large-scale building projects. They plan the course of the project, delegate work to subordinates, deal with clients, and brainstorm for ideas if there are any problems. 

A construction project manager’s job isn’t for the faint-hearted. On any given day, there are dozens of objectives to be achieved. The manager is in charge of either delegating, collaborating, or dealing with the problem directly to solve it. 

This is an extremely fast-paced job that requires constant work. Therefore, you’ll always face the risk of working overtime because the necessary objectives haven’t been accomplished. 

Here’s a basic inventory of what a construction project manager has to do:

  • Scheduling. The manager has to schedule the project according to a timeframe so that it can be completed before the deadline. They decide what task the team will work on that day. 
  • Review. After the necessary work has been completed, the manager reviews projects on the ground to ensure that they comply with the law and the client’s requirements. 
  • Problem-solving. If there are any mistakes in the work, the manager has to figure out what went wrong and how to solve it. They’re also responsible for managing the client’s expectations and negotiating contracts with any stakeholders involved. 
  • Budgeting. A project should always turn a profit while simultaneously using good quality materials. The manager must look for sellers willing to supply good quality inexpensive material while preparing and submitting budget estimates to track the cost. 
  • Teamwork. The manager needs to play on everybody’s strengths and weaknesses to delegate tasks appropriately. 

Final Thoughts

Although it’s possible to be a construction project manager with no degree, it’s more beneficial to have one. You should always try to get a degree unless you don’t have the financial means.

However, where a degree isn’t feasible, your focus should be on getting your foot in the door and working your way up the ranks of the industry as quickly as possible.


The Blueprint: How to Become a Construction Manager in 2021

By Giovanni Valle

Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *