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How to Become a Construction Manager

If you’re wanting to become a construction manager, you should have excellent time management skills, leadership skills, and be extremely organized. You may work at a variety of places, including oil refineries, nuclear power plants, and steel mills. As a construction manager, you will be working with construction workers on the job site, directing what’s going on and who’s doing what jobs. You might be reporting to a supervisor daily, or you may be managing the site alone depending on the size of the project.

Construction managers will need to meet with other members of the building team, including architects and engineers. You’ll need to be familiar with construction and OSHA requirements, so it’s best if you’ve worked in construction before. Because you may also have to speak to clients on the progress of building, you should have great communication skills. If you fit this profile, becoming a construction manager could be the perfect fit for you.

Sample job description

The construction manager’s primary role is to oversee the progress of their community by managing trade partners, vendors, and consultants in a professional manner with the expectation of high-quality standards and customer satisfaction. The ideal candidates are extremely organized and detail-oriented team players with excellent customer service skills and a can-do attitude!

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Meeting regularly with engineers, architects, and contractors regarding project objectives and progress
  • Dispatching workers to construction sites and supervising site foremen and workers
  • Requisitioning equipment, supplies, and materials needed to complete construction projects
  • Managing budget costs for wages, contractors, materials, and equipment
  • Ensuring the construction process is on schedule on a daily and weekly basis
  • Conducting ongoing health, safety, and quality inspections
  • Clearly explaining plans and contract terms to staff, workers, and clients
  • Negotiating revisions, changes, and additions to contracts
  • Securing all necessary permits and licenses 
  • Determining appropriate construction methods based on site plans
  • Preparing budget estimates and tracking costs
  • Dealing with delays, bad weather, or emergencies at the construction site
  • Investigating damage and accidents on the construction site

Education and experience

  • A bachelor’s degree in a construction-related field 
  • Three years related experience

Required skills and qualifications

  • Proficient in MS Office Word, Excel, and Projects
  • An effective communicator, motivator, and team builder
  • Ability to prioritize multiple responsibilities
  • Risk management
  • Complex problem solving
  • Excellent at managing financial and material resources 
  • Outstanding negotiation, organizational, and problem-solving skills
  • Strong leadership skills

Preferred qualifications

  • 5+ years of construction experience 
  • Proven management experience
  • Working knowledge of construction management processes
  • Experience with construction management software packages
  • Skilled in conflict and crisis management
  • Good time-management skills
  • Ability to multitask
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills

Typical work environment

Construction managers have offices but spend most of their time in an on-site field office, monitoring projects and making decisions about construction activities. Those managing multiple projects have to split their time between different worksites. Some might have to travel out of state or be away from home for extended periods.

Typical hours

Most construction managers work full-time. The work schedule for a construction manager can vary depending on the project. If they have upcoming deadlines to meet, they might have to work extra hours. They can also be on call 24 hours a day to respond to project emergencies.

Available certifications

Here are some of the best certifications construction managers can aim for to increase career potential:

  • The Certified Construction Manager (CCM). Construction managers who have met the prescribed criteria, including formal education, field experience, and demonstrated understanding of the construction body of knowledge are eligible to receive the CCM. The certificate is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The CCM demonstrates a commitment to excellence in construction management, career advancement, and the pursuit of knowledge. 
  • Associate Constructor (AC) Institute of Constructors (AIC). The associate constructor (AC) is the first level of certification in the Constructor Certification Program offered by the American Institute of Constructors. This level of certification is for those who have graduated from a 4-Year Construction Management program or those transitioning into construction management from other industries. Individuals possessing the AC have demonstrated a high level of skill and knowledge in managing the process of construction.   
  • Certified Professional Constructor (CPC). The highest level of the Constructor Certification Program offered by the American Institute of Constructors is the CPC. Construction managers who have several years of project oversight experience can obtain this certification and propel their careers to the next level. The CPC shows verified experience and skills.

Career path

Although it is possible to become a construction manager with a high school diploma and many years of experience in the construction industry, construction managers usually need a bachelor’s degree in construction science, construction management, architecture, or engineering. Courses in mathematics and statistics are also relevant. A few universities offer a master’s degree in construction management.

Gaining construction experience in specialties such as carpentry or masonry is an important part of the career path. Construction managers are generally hired as assistants and train under experienced managers for months or years, depending on the firm.

Certification isn’t required, but it is valuable because it demonstrates knowledge and experience and can accelerate your career. Some states require that construction managers obtain a license.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 11-9021

2019 Employment476,700
Projected Employment in 2029517,100
Projected 2019-2029 Percentage Shift 8% increase
Projected 2019-2029 Numeric Shift40,400 increase

The construction industry is ever-evolving, and construction companies are adopting the latest technologies, allowing them to work faster and more efficiently. 

Drones are becoming very popular in the industry by collecting real-time data at construction sites and conveying them to construction managers. They are also used for the surveillance of construction sites as a safety tool. 

Construction management software allows construction project managers to perform a wide variety of tasks quickly and efficiently, such as sharing drawings and blueprints to manage a construction site. The software greatly increases accuracy, accountability, and transparency. 

Although virtual reality (VR) has been around for years, the construction industry is trending toward using it more and more to obtain a realistic view of a project before it is materialized. VR can show construction managers possible errors, help them improve designs, and help them deliver projects timely and within budget.