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Would you like to know the good news about your opportunities to become a Project Manager (PM) without a degree? If you’re a little scared that you don’t have the education or the piece of paper but still want to be a project manager, this blog post is for you. Here are the steps you should take to go along this path and nine tips to make sure you have a good chance of making it. 

Important Qualities to Become a Construction Project Manager

The good news is that becoming a PM comes down to being a learner, not necessarily a college graduate. I love college graduates, and if you want to go to college, that’s great. However, the key is being a learner. It doesn’t matter if you have a piece of paper. The second crucial quality is being a hard worker, not necessarily being trained for a specific type of work. So don’t worry about it.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you a learner? Yes or no?
  2. Do you have a growth mindset? Yes or no?
  3. Are you a hard worker? Yes or no?

If your answers are yes, then you’re perfect for starting your path to becoming a project manager.

My Journey Working in Construction

I’ve been working in construction since I was 13 and a half. By 15, I legally obtained my worker’s permit and spent all my free time, summers, and weekends working. At 17 and a half, I tested out of high school early and started working for construction companies. When I was 19, I was hired by a major company and began as a cement mason apprentice. I progressed from apprentice to rod person, then to field engineer.

One significant conversation with a project superintendent on a concrete structure changed my perspective. He told me that while a college degree wasn’t necessary to be a field engineer, it would help me advance in construction. I attempted college but got busy and stopped. However, I gained valuable skills from one year of college and continuous learning and certifications, progressing from field engineer to assistant superintendent, superintendent, field director, project director, and now owning my own business.

This journey proves that you don’t need a degree to succeed in the industry. You just need to be a learner and a hard worker.

Seven Steps to Becoming a Project Manager

Here are seven specific steps that will help you become a project manager:

  1. Find Out If Construction Is for You
    • Visit construction projects, be involved, build houses, or take a laborer position. Determine if this high-stress (but potentially good stress) industry is right for you.
  1. Get Your Foot in the Door
    • Start with any position, whether as a laborer, carpenter, assistant, or office admin. Once you’re in, you can work hard and learn, progressing through positions.
  1. Keep Asking for Opportunities
    • Learn the basic skills and ask for opportunities. Take courses, practice skills, and offer to help with tasks beyond your current role.
  1. Learn Each Position
    • Don’t rush. Learn each role well, from project engineer to assistant project manager to project manager. Master the necessary skills and responsibilities.
  1. Understand the System
    • Outline each position completely and see it as a system. Knowing the ins and outs of each role will help you excel.
  1. Showcase Your Skills
    • Demonstrate your readiness by volunteering for tasks and showcasing your comprehensive skill set. Be prepared to step in when opportunities arise.
  1. Read and Learn Continuously
    • Read all of Patrick Lencioni’s books and other valuable resources. Merge your construction knowledge with these learnings for success.

Nine Tips for Building a Career in Construction

These tips, inspired by Holly Bowers, are essential for advancing your career:

  1. Master Your Current Role
    • Do an excellent job in your current position.
  1. Ask How You Can Grow
    • Seek advice and help from those around you.
  1. Behave Like a Leader
    • Take ownership, act like a leader, and avoid victim mentality.
  1. Embrace Personal Development
    • Develop your skills and take ownership of your growth.
  1. Be Creative
    • Find ways to satisfy organizational needs and Springboard your career.
  1. Build Your Network
    • Develop relationships and connect with people who can help you progress.
  1. Be Patient
    • Understand that career growth takes time. Be methodical and patient.
  1. Do a Good Job Plus One More Thing
    • Always go the extra mile, and people will reward you with more opportunities.
  1. Be a Lifelong Learner
    • Continuously learn and work hard. These traits will help you achieve great things.

Learn More with These Resources

In the description below, you’ll find a link to a graphic with these tips. Use it as a guide to help you along your career path. Follow the pattern, and you will succeed. The simplicity of the pattern should not deter you from implementing it because it will deliver results.

On we go!

If you want to learn more we have:

-Takt Virtual Training: (Click here)
-Check out our Youtube channel for more info: (Click here) 
-Listen to the Elevate Construction podcast: (Click here) 
-Check out our training programs and certifications: (Click here)
-The Takt Book: (Click here)

Discover Jason’s Expertise:

Meet Jason Schroeder, the driving force behind Elevate Construction IST. As the company’s owner and principal consultant, he’s dedicated to taking construction to new heights. With a wealth of industry experience, he’s crafted the Field Engineer Boot Camp and Superintendent Boot Camp – intensive training programs engineered to cultivate top-tier leaders capable of steering their teams towards success. Jason’s vision? To expand his training initiatives across the nation, empowering construction firms to soar to unprecedented levels of excellence.

On we go!