Industrial Project Manager Careers: Salary Info & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a career as an industrial project manager? Get real job descriptions, career outlook information and salary statistics to find out if this profession is right for you.
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The Pros and Cons of an Industrial Project Manager Career

An industrial project manager oversees construction and other industrial projects by coordinating design processes, analyzing budgets, hiring workers and managing all specialty staff. To learn more about the pros and cons of a career as an industrial project manager, keep reading.

Pros of an Industrial Project Manager Career
Good salary (median salary of $92,470 for industrial production managers in 2014)*
Education may not be required (high school diploma can be sufficient for some positions)*
Ability to make own decisions**

Cons of an Industrial Project Manager Career
Potential for high levels of stress**
Years of experience required (minimum of five years for most positions)*
On-call duty may be required for some projects*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*Net Online

Essential Career Information

Duties and Responsibilities

Industrial project managers work on such projects as the construction of roads, bridges, schools and hospitals, and they are often in charge of the day-to-day operations of waste-water treatment plants and other commercial organizations. As part of making plans to reach technical goals, an industrial project manager must oversee construction planning, propose budgets, and determine training needs. You'll also be responsible for assigning work and supervising staff as an industrial project manager.

Working as an industrial project manager will likely require conferring with various committees on architectural and construction activities. You'll need to be adept at communicating the purpose and vision behind a large project to other levels of management within an organization. Project or construction site logistical issues may also become your responsibility if you're working as an industrial project manager, including setting up a job-site office to monitor work on an ongoing basis.

Salary and Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects little to no increase in job growth for industrial production managers in the coming years. Along with general population and business growth, there might be increased opportunities due to the growing emphasis on making existing buildings more energy efficient. As of May 2014, the BLS reported a median annual wage of approximately $92,470 for industrial production managers. The BLS further reported that salaried construction managers may earn bonuses and overtime pay.

Requirements

In some cases, a high school diploma could be enough for a construction manager position, though it would typically mean you would be self-employed. An associate degree could earn you some positions, but a bachelor's degree is often preferred by employers. Programs in construction technology and construction management are available at a variety of colleges.

In addition to education, most positions require at least five years of experience managing projects of increasing complexity. Experience in the field is necessary so you can become familiarized with the wide variety of job tasks that can fall to a construction manager. Additionally, industrial project managers should be familiar with a wide range of computer applications, safety issues and quality control measures.

Useful Skills

You'll need strong communication skills as well as a detail-oriented mindset if you want to pursue a career as a construction manager. Managers need to be able to analyze information to formulate solutions. Construction managers also need a good deal of patience in the hiring and training of new staff members.

What Are Employers Looking For?

Most industrial project managers achieve their positions after years of experience in their fields. If you have the educational and professional prerequisites to manage industrial projects, you might find work in a wide range of engineering or architectural firms. Several jobs listings from early April 2012 reflect specific expectations of industrial project managers.

  • A biofuel company in Kansas needed a project manager with a background in industrial construction management. The position required five years of experience, and a degree in construction science, mechanical engineering or industrial engineering was preferred. Project Management Professional (PMP) certification was also required.
  • A large construction firm in California was seeking a project manager responsible for overseeing small and large construction projects. Ten years of experience managing 'multi-discipline construction projects' was required and a bachelor's degree in a field related to engineering or construction management was preferred.
  • An industrial construction company in Atlanta, GA, was searching for a manager for construction projects throughout the southeastern U.S. The job required a bachelor's degree and 2-3 days of travel per week.

Standing Out in the Field

Voluntary certification can enhance your resume, and the Construction Management Association of America awards the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) credential to qualified professionals who have the required experience and are able to pass a technical exam. A self-study course focusing on legal issues and risk management in construction projects is also required to gain the CCM designation.

Alternative Career Options

Architect

If the myriad responsibilities of an industrial project manager position are not appealing to you, working as an architect may be more to your liking. The opportunity to plan and design buildings can allow you to apply technical skills while also indulging your creative side. Architects typically need to complete an internship and earn a bachelor's degree. The BLS projected 24% job growth for architects from 2010-2020 and a median annual salary of around $73,000.

Industrial Production Manager

Industrial production management may also be an attractive option that allows you to oversee the creation of a wide range of goods, from cars to computer equipment. Industrial production managers usually need a bachelor's degree and 2-5 years of related experience. The BLS projected slower-than-average job growth for industrial production managers, with overall employment expected to increase by nine percent from 2010-2020. The BLS further reported a median annual salary of about $88,000 for industrial production managers as of May 2011.

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