How to Become a Construction Manager
Construction managers oversee each phase of a project, from blueprint to building.
Behind every wall of brick and mortar is a visionary—someone who carries out projects from the groundwork to the finishing polish. Construction managers bring to life the ranch-style homes, city high-rises, office parks, and local boutiques we live and work in. If you want to have a hand in building the world around you, consider learning how to become a construction manager.
A career in construction management is a great way to break away from the traditional office environment and still make a substantial wage. As a construction manager, you’ll have a rewarding career as a leader, analyzer, and negotiator. On top of that, you’ll likely never run out of work: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects an 8% increase in construction management jobs over the next 10 years.
Get out your clipboard, put on your hard hat, and read on to find out what it takes to become a construction manager.
What Is Construction Management?
Construction management is a type of project management that involves planning and overseeing construction projects from start to finish. A construction manager is a professional who coordinates, budgets, and supervises construction projects, from residential homes to skyscrapers.
What Does a Construction Manager Do?
Construction managers oversee each phase of a construction project. The most common projects construction managers take on include residential homes, commercial property, public buildings, industrial structures, and roads and bridges.
The typical duties of construction managers include:
- Estimating construction project costs
- Creating budgets and timetables
- Meeting with clients during the design process to refine construction plans and budgets
- Collaborating with architects, engineers, and other experts in the construction industry
- Discussing contracts and technical details with other construction professionals
- Managing subcontractor schedules and activities
- Dealing with emergencies, delays, or other issues that slow down construction projects
- Reporting schedule and budget concerns to clients
- Making sure projects comply with local, state, and federal regulations
Most construction managers are self-employed and work directly on construction sites. Some manage multiple projects and travel out of state to visit different construction sites.
Take a look at Monster’s construction manager job description to learn more about what to expect from your career.
How to Become a Construction Manager
You can build the foundation for a successful career in construction management by earning a construction management degree—most entry-level jobs require a bachelor’s degree in construction management or a related field. Some construction firms prefer to hire candidates who have both a construction management degree and some on-site experience. Those who don’t have a bachelor’s degree but have several years of construction experience are often self-employed.
There are many colleges with construction management degrees, some of which offer online programs. Your construction management courses may cover:
- Building construction designs and plans
- Cost-estimating and budgeting
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards
- Local, state, and federal codes and standards
- Construction sustainability
- Mechanical and electrical systems
- Construction safety
Wondering how to fund your construction management education? Check out these construction trade scholarships that can help you to build a rewarding career.
Depending on which state you live in, you may need to be licensed to practice as a construction manager. It’s best to contact your state licensing board for more information.
Construction Management Certification
Construction management certification isn’t required but can increase your chances of getting hired. To be eligible for certification, you must meet certain requirements and be able to pass an exam. Several organizations offer certification. Among those are:
- The American Institute of Constructors (AIC)
- The Construction Management Association of America (CMAA)
- The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER)
- The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET)
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
The CMAA, for example, offers a Certified Construction Manager (CCM) credential that you can obtain by completing a self-study course that touches upon legal challenges, project risks, and the role of a construction manager and passing the accompanying exam.
Construction Management Internships
Another effective way to get your foot in the door is to enter into an internship. Construction management internships help you learn the nuts and bolts of the role under the direct supervision of an experienced construction manager.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Construction Manager?
The amount of time it takes to become a construction manager depends on which path you choose to take. Completing an undergraduate degree will generally take four years. If you wish to pursue a master’s in construction management, plan to add on another one to three years. Even after completing college, you’ll most likely work under the supervision of a seasoned construction manager for at least one year before taking on solo projects.
To become a certified construction manager, you’ll need four years of experience with a bachelor’s degree and eight years without a degree. Depending on the certification, you may need to renew it every few years. For example, the CMAA requires certified construction managers to take an exam to renew their certification every three years.
How Much Do Construction Managers Make?
According to Monster data, while the median construction manager salary is $72,805 per year, pay fluctuates by industry and experience. The lowest-earning construction managers make around $45,000 per year, while the top earners make more than $98,000.
You can look up the average salary for construction managers in your location by using the Monster Salary Guide.
How to Find Construction Management Jobs
Now that you know how to become a construction manager, it’s time to show potential employers what you’re made of. Pitching your skills and qualifications starts with a solid resume—check out Monster’s construction manager resume sample for tips on how to frame your educational background and experience to make a powerful first impression.
While you’re writing your resume and cover letter, keep in mind that employers look for construction manager candidates with the following skills and qualities:
- Strong problem-solving and analytical skills
- Business skills, including budgeting, hiring, and working with other professionals in the construction industry
- Strong communication and leadership skills
- Good judgment and decision-making skills
- Adequate technical skills
Searching for construction management jobs is simple—take a look at Monster’s list of construction management jobs to get started.
If you plan on relocating, consider these five states with the highest construction manager employment levels:
The top five U.S. metro areas with the most construction management jobs are:
Build a Career in Construction Management
So, you’ve learned the nuts and bolts of how to become a construction manager. Now what? Employers and recruiters in the construction industry are looking for candidates like you. All you have to do is upload your resume for free to get started. Monster will send you free job updates and give you the tools you need to launch your construction management career.