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How to Become a Construction Superintendent

Do you have excellent communication skills? Do you consider yourself a strong leader? If you also have a background in construction, becoming a construction superintendent may be a great career move! As a construction superintendent, you’ll oversee building houses, offices, schools, bridges, roads, and other projects. You need to be familiar with OSHA standards and have experience hiring, scheduling, and meeting construction deadlines.

In this position, you can expect to monitor multiple projects at once, managing both employees and deadlines. If you fit this profile, you’d make an excellent construction superintendent.

Sample job description

Without efficient construction superintendents, our projects wouldn’t be delivered successfully and on time. One of the most important roles a construction superintendent plays is overseeing and coordinating all of the activities of a construction site. Duties include monitoring projects from start to finish which involves budgeting, scheduling, preparing, and ensuring safe and secure construction sites. [Your Company Name] is hiring experienced construction superintendents to join our team. If you have experience in construction and are a strong, pro-active leader who performs well under pressure, this position at our company could be the perfect fit.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Estimate the cost of projects, including materials and labor
  • Hire employees and create their work schedules
  • Maintain daily logs at job sites
  • Monitor progress on projects
  • Meet deadlines
  • Meet with property owners
  • Order tools and supplies
  • Prepare reports for projects

Education and experience

Construction superintendents need to earn a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers prefer to hire people with an associate degree or bachelor’s degree, ideally in a field such as construction management or architecture. Coursework should include classes in mathematics and statistics. Employers usually provide on-the-job training as well, and certification is available for those who want to enhance their career opportunities.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Strong leadership and interpersonal skills
  • Time-management skills and the ability to meet deadlines
  • Solid analytical skills to collect and interpret data
  • Ability to understand blueprints and contracts
  • Outstanding decision-making skills
  • Calm, professional demeanor
  • Keen attention to detail

Preferred qualifications

  • Excellent communication and leadership capabilities 
  • Ability to oversee and coordinate all of the activities of a construction site
  • In-depth understanding of local, state, and federal construction regulations
  • Deeply understand construction project management and budgeting best practices
  • OSHA certified and knowledge of construction site safety, including the safe operating practices for construction equipment

Typical work environment

Most construction superintendents have a main office but spend the majority of their time in a field office on site where they monitor projects and make decisions about construction activities. Their schedules may vary, but they typically work full-time. Some may be on call 24 hours a day in case of an emergency at the construction site and some work more than 40 hours per week to meet tight deadlines. Besides working at the job site, a typical workday may consist of attending meetings and conducting presentations as well.

Typical hours

Construction superintendents often work regular hours, but they are usually at a job site and rarely in the office. They frequently log more than 40 hours a week and might need to be on-call in the evenings or on weekends to meet deadlines or in case of an emergency.

Available certifications

Although not required, acquiring certifications will help demonstrate your knowledge and experience as a construction superintendent. Check out the following: 

  • Certified Professional Constructor (CPC). The Certified Professional Constructor (CPC) is the highest level of certification in the Constructor Certification Program. Attaining CPC certification demonstrates a high level of skill and knowledge in the ethical management of construction projects. Candidates are required to have over 8 years of qualifying experience and/or education and have passed or been exempted from Associate Constructor (AC) Level 1 of Constructor Certification Program.
  • Certified Construction Manager (CCM). The Certified Construction Manager (CCM) recognizes professionals who have chosen a career in construction management. Certified construction managers are committed to excellence in construction management/project management, career development, and the pursuit of knowledge. They provide professional services which apply effective management techniques to the planning, design, and construction of a project from inception to completion to control time, cost, and quality. Candidates must meet education and experience requirements and pass a technical exam. Candidates must also complete a self-study course that covers topics related to construction managers including the manager’s role, legal issues, and risk allocation. Renewal is required every 3 years.

Career path

The first step to becoming a construction superintendent is to earn a high school diploma or equivalent. Graduates who go on to receive an associate degree or a bachelor’s degree, ideally in a construction-related discipline, will enjoy greater career flexibility. Most employers provide on-the-job training to supplement workers’ education. Some superintendents decide to pursue certification from organizations such as the Construction Management Association of America and the American Institute of Constructors, although this is not required.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 11-9021

2020 Employment448,000
Projected Employment in 2030499,400
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 11% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift51,400 increase

Population growth means that construction-related jobs, and superintendents, in particular, will continue to be in demand. Maintenance, improvements, and construction of roads and bridges also will create more job opportunities. The emphasis on environmentally friendly development and energy efficiency should give the industry a boost as well.

Job prospects in the construction industry tend to ebb and flow with the economy. The Construction Management Association of America offers career coaching, a learning center, and job listings for candidates.