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What qualifications do I need to be a construction project manager?

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

Becoming a Construction Project Manager

Q: What does a Project Manager do?

A: Project Managers oversee construction projects of all sizes, often coordinating with multiple subcontractors throughout the project phases from inception to project handover.

A project manager will ensure that the project is completed on time, within budget and is up to the highest quality standards.

diagram showing the equal importance of time, cost and quality in managing a construction project.

Q: What qualifications do I need to become a Project Manager?

A: Construction Project Managers will usually begin with a foundation degree, HND or HNC in a construction related field such as construction management, surveying, civil engineering, estimating or architecture.

Courses such as the ones just mentioned are designed to provide a well-rounded knowledge base of most aspects of the construction industry.

After many years of on-site experience whilst developing management skills and improving their technical construction knowledge, a Project Manager will often seek further education in the form of a Masters degree specialising in Construction Project Management to expand the skills and knowledge they have already developed over their careers.

a word cloud made up of all the words associated with construction project management. For example, planning, time, development, processes, method, controlling

Q: It’s a big industry, where do I start?

A: The first step to becoming a Project Manager is getting yourself on some variation of a construction-based college course.

There are many foundation level courses to attend at local colleges (contact your local college) and most Project Management companies (such as Iconic) and contractors alike will support and encourage you to attend courses such as HND, HNC or Health and Safety in construction.

aspiring construction project managers sit in a lecture theatre learning about the built environment

Q: Is there another way to learn construction skills and gain experience?

A: If academics have never been your strong suit, you can get hands-on experience by applying for a Modern Apprenticeship through the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), after studying subjects such as English, maths, science, and technology, you could then study part time for an HNC/HND while continuing to gain site experience.

Another good place to start would be applying for a general labourer position with a contractor who will then support you through a Construction Skills Safety Certificate (CSCS) course and enrol you onto Health and Safety courses to teach you the importance of Health and Safety on site.

 a group of four construction workers walks across a building site.

Q: What qualities do you need to be a Project Manager?

A: Some of the qualities you will need are:

  • Leadership skills

  • Passion

  • Drive

  • Resilience

  • Communication

  • Organisation

  • Multi-tasking skills are a must in this industry!

You might also find this post on what makes a great project manager useful.

Your next steps to becoming a Project Manager:

a flow chart shows the different routes to becoming a construction project manager


Janet Evans.

Janet is a construction management professional from South Wales and has been working in the construction industry for 15 years both in the UK and internationally.

Janet gained her Master’s degree in Project Management (Construction & Infrastructure) in 2014 and has worked with contractors, as well as on the client side of projects.

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