Construction Manager Careers

NUMBER OF JOBS

538,110

JOB OPENINGS

86,000

JOB GROWTH

17%

AVG. SALARY

$40.32 /yr

$83,860 /hr

All Stats from www.BLS.gov

Construction managers oversee all aspects of construction projects—including planning, scheduling, budget management, contractor hiring and management, and quality control. They visit work sites to make sure safety and quality guidelines are being adhered to; and they manage relationships and expectations with clients.

Construction Manager Job Description

Construction managers may work on any type of project, from residential to commercial, industrial, civil, or public works, oil and gas, or manufacturing construction. They interpret technical information and contracts; negotiate project costs and make purchasing decisions, and manage and troubleshoot the project to keep it on track. They also make sure all required permits are in order and the project complies with local and national regulations.

They also work with architects, engineers, building specialists, laborers, electricians, and other contractors. They evaluate their work, make hiring decisions, and manage quality control on the worksite.

They also make sure all the required materials and equipment are available on the worksite. They source materials and negotiate prices, generally looking to adhere to client budget requirements. They also make reports to clients regarding the project’s progress and any financial issues.  For very large projects, several construction managers might oversee different parts or phases of a single project.

People in this profession are sometimes referred to as project managers or general contractors.

How to Become a Construction Manager

Get a Bachelor’s degree. In the past, it was easier for construction managers to get hired with plenty of experience and no degree—but these days, employers are becoming increasingly selective toward those who hold Bachelor-level degrees in fields such as architecture, engineering, or construction management, or building science.

If you have plenty of experience, an Associate’s degree may be enough in some cases. However, if you have a high school diploma and high levels of experience in the field, you are more likely to find work as a freelance general contractor rather than as a project manager for a larger company.

Get certified. Certification is not required to be a construction manager. However, it can make you more likely to get hired. Two popular certifications are the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) credential from the Construction Management Association of America and the Associate Constructor (AC) and Certified Professional Constructor (CPC) certifications from the American Institute of Constructors.

Both of these credentials require applicants to pass the test; the CCM certification also requires you to take classes.

Accredited online degrees
are generally well-regarded in the industry. 

Construction Manager Salary

The median annual salary for construction managers is $83,860 as of 2010, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook. Those at the bottom end of the pay scale earn around $50,240, while more highly-paid professionals earn around $150,250.

Bonuses and overtime pay are also not uncommon for construction managers who are salaried. However, approximately two thirds of people in this profession work on a freelance basis.

Job Outlook for Construction Managers

The growth rate for construction management positions in the US is projected to rise over the next ten years by 17%, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook. This is approximately as fast as the national average for all occupations. According to the Handbook, companies are expected to focus more on hiring specialized construction managers for specific projects rather than keeping a general professional on staff in order to save on costs. This will open up more opportunities for those who are self-employed and have specialized experience.

Pros and Cons of Being a Construction Manager

This is a fairly high-paying field with a low education investment requirement—usually a Bachelor’s degree, but in some circumstances, you can have a solid career as a high school graduate with the right experience. However, employment in the field can be seasonal—with plenty of work during the warmer months and a slowdown during winter, particularly in areas of the country with harsh winters.

In addition, construction management positions are subject to change based on the economy’s performance. In a downturn, companies and consumers reduce their construction spending and it can become more difficult to find jobs. This will make life harder particularly for freelance construction managers, who make up a majority of the field. Even so, this can be a very rewarding field monetarily for those with the right skills and experience.

 

Additional Resources

Occupational Outlook Handbook: Construction Managers
Construction Management Association of America
American Institute of Constructors

 

Jobs in Construction Management

Indeed.com
Monster.com