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How to Become an Architectural Project Manager

Do you enjoy managing, planning, and figuring out budgets and timelines? Do you want to help bring architectural projects to life? Then a career as an architectural project manager might be a perfect fit.

Architectural project managers use their talents in nearly every aspect of a construction project. They consult with clients, visit construction sites, and collaborate with engineers, architects, contractors, and more as they assess project needs, timelines and budgets, and manage each project from beginning to end.

It’s a demanding but rewarding role. An architectural project manager must have keen attention to detail, excellent time management, and strong problem-solving and communication skills to balance client needs, contractor schedules, and construction logistics, to ensure successful project completion.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] is in need of an experienced leader to fulfill the role of architectural project manager. We are in need of someone with 5-10 years of architectural experience as you will be overseeing construction projects from preliminary designs until completion. We are looking for someone who can communicate clearly with colleagues across multiple disciplines such as engineers and interior designers. You will be supervising other designers and architects, as well as preparing schedules and budgets throughout the progression of construction projects. You will also be asked to work on administrative tasks, processing contracts and financial documents, so your integrity and attention to detail are key.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Develop and review building plans in collaboration with design and architect teams
  • Estimate project costs and budgets
  • Consult with clients
  • Manage relationships with contractors and vendors
  • Develop and oversee schedules and timelines
  • Manage site planning and compliance

Education and experience

  • Degree in architecture or a related field
  • Certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP) preferred

Required skills and qualifications

  • Strong leadership abilities
  • Keen attention to detail
  • Experience with proposal management
  • Knowledge of AutoCAD and related drafting software
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills
  • Expertise in budgeting and creating project timelines
  • Strong collaborative and problem-solving skills

Preferred qualifications

  • 3+ years of experience in architecture management
  • Demonstrates success in building and growing new accounts 
  • Understands how to strategically and effectively navigate large, complex projects
  • Ability to work under pressure, organize, and prioritize responsibilities

Typical work environment

As an architectural project manager, you will have the opportunity to work with professionals from other disciplines such as engineers, landscape architects, and interior designers. Most architectural project managers spend time both indoors and outdoors, but most of it will be sitting at a desk working on a computer. They will be in their office working on plans, meeting with clients, and budgeting, while also at construction sites overseeing the progress of their projects. While on site, principal architects will need to be able to follow appropriate safety protocols for construction sites, including wearing hard hats and protective gear.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for a project manager are from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, generally in an office setting.

Available certifications

Companies look at certifications as a way to ensure their future employees are well qualified as architectural project managers. Here are a few options:

  • Certified Construction Manager (CCM) – This certification showcases your leadership, professionalism, career advancement, and pursuit of continued education within the field. An exam is required and the certification can be renewed every three years.
  • Project Management Professional (PMP) – This certification is awarded to those with successful project management skills. You are required to have two or more years of experience before applying, and the certification can be renewed every three years. This exam covers six topics regarding project management, including initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, closing, and professional and social responsibility while completing projects.
  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) – This certification is for those who want to improve their project management skills. It requires 23 hours of education and a 3-hour long test with 150 questions. This certification can be taken at any level of your career and needs to be renewed every three years.

Career path

Becoming a architectural project manager typically requires a bachelor’s degree in architecture or a related field. Earning certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP) can help advance your career path in project management.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 11-9041

2020 Employment197,800
Projected Employment in 2030205,900
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 4% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift8,100 increase

The typical work hours for a project manager are from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday. Generally, project management is continually evolving and great project managers will keep up with the trends in their specific field. Artificial intelligence (AI) is starting to make waves in project management; when implemented correctly, AI can help give new insights into workflow and resource use. Also, more and more project managers are managing teams remotely. While this trend means greater agility and efficient use of resources, it also requires project managers to master new ways of doing their jobs.