WHAT IS A CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT CAREER PATH LIKE?

Construction management is a major career, especially in the building industry. Professionals in construction management are responsible for various tasks in a construction site as it pertains to different elements of the building.

Construction managers see to it that safe and efficient projects are completed on time and done to the satisfaction of clients involved. There are however different career paths if you wish to become a construction manager and getting a bit of insight or knowledge about these various career paths will help you tremendously as you make that bold step to becoming a career manager.

And not to forget, getting to know these different paths would be of great help so as to determine which you are the best fit for, as well as, help you weigh in your strengths and weaknesses when making your preferred choice.

This article aims to highlight different construction management career paths, giving you a ton of knowledge on everything you need to know before you get started on your construction management journey. So, let’s get right into it.

What is Construction Management?

Construction management is the process of overseeing or supervising a building project.

According to Wikipedia, construction management (CM) is a professional service that uses specialized, project management techniques to oversee the planning, design, and construction of a project, from its beginning to its end.

Construction management controls the planning, design, and construction phases of the project as well as overseeing and ensuring that the project is completed in a timely fashion and is up to safety standards.

Construction management is a professional service that serves property owners, developers, public entities, and government agencies. It is also consistent with various project delivery systems like design bid build, design-build, construction management at risk, and public-private partnerships.

Who is Construction Manager?

A construction manager is a person who oversees a building project or other related construction projects by creating an effective team responsible for coordinating personnel supplies, scheduling, progress, and completion.

A construction manager or contractor is assigned to a construction project during the design stage or once the design stage has been completed by a licensed architect or a licensed civil engineer.

Normally, the selection process for a construction manager is done by a bidding process with different construction managers.

The best-fit construction manager for the property owner, developer, or public/government agencies is selected based on low bid selection, best value selection, or qualifications-based selection.

Construction managers are usually involved from the planning stage, giving insight to the client or owner as pertains to designs and specifications for maximum efficiency and benefits. The construction manager must keep the owner informed and provide information on costs and budgets.

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Is construction management a Good Career?

Construction management is not only a good career but also a very promising one at that with ever-growing job opportunities available.

According to BLS, the employment of construction managers is projected to grow 11% from 2020 to 2026 which is quite impressive if compared to other occupations.

With exponential growth in the world population and the need for construction of more schools, hospitals, office buildings, living apartments, restaurants, retail outlets, and other structures, there is no doubt that construction managers will be in high demand to make all these structures possible.

Also, improvement, management, and replacement of certain infrastructures like roads, bridges, drainage, and sewer systems would also lead to high demand for construction managers and their skill set.

What are the roles and functions of a construction manager?

As the construction manager, you are expected to carry out various functions and roles on the construction site.

These roles and tasks carried out are in the interest of the owner or client. The construction manager must possess a certain skill set which includes but is not limited to the ability to handle public safety, time management, cost management, quality management, decision making, mathematics, working drawings, and human resources. Some of the duties of a construction manager are:

  1. Preparing budgets, cost estimates and work timetables
  2. Specifying project objectives and plans including delineation of scope, budgeting, scheduling, setting performance requirements, and selecting project participants.
  3. Explaining and interpreting technical information and contracts to other personnel.
  4. Maximizing the resource efficiency through procurement of labour, materials and equipment
  5. Reporting budget information and work progress to clients
  6. Developing effective communications and mechanisms for interaction while on the project
  7. Selecting and vetting suitable subcontractors, and scheduling and coordinating their duties.
  8. Carrying out various operations through proper coordination as well as proper planning, design, estimation, contracting and construction throughout the entire project.
  9. Working in close proximity with engineers, architects and other construction professionals to see to the timely completion of the project.
  10. Responding to emergency situations and providing adequate feedbacks as well as counter measures to avoid such emergencies.
  11. Making sure that projects are built to standard legal building safety codes and other regulations.

These are not all the functions of a construction manager. These are just the major highlighted few, bearing in mind that your roles may at times exceed the few mentioned above.

Why become a construction Manager?

Well to this I say why not. Construction management is a lucrative, challenging, and exciting field with an average salary range per annum of about $100,000 or more depending on location and project.

And with the projected estimate of growth in construction management reaching about 11% by 2026, you can see a good reason why you should become a construction manager.

How much can you earn as a construction manager?

Construction management as earlier mentioned is a very lucrative job opportunity with an estimated annual income as high as $100,000.

The entry-level salary of a construction manager is as high as $58,000 per year and could be high depending on the project being handled and the area of employment.

By Mid-career, you should be expecting a take-home salary of about $77,000 to $98,000 per year also keeping in mind that it could be higher.

Finally, by late-career, you should be wheeling in about $100,000 to $120,000 per year. This is also reviewable upwards based on location and project handled.

How long does it take to become a construction manager?

The time it might take to become a construction manager varies based on your area of focus, education, and training.

On average, for most, it takes an individual about four years to get a bachelor’s degree and at least one year of professional experience under the supervision of a senior construction manager.

Some roles may hire professionals with a high school diploma or associate if they have five or more years of professional construction experience.

What education do construction management professionals need?

Education requirements for construction management could vary at times based on the different construction management career paths. Most, if not all of them, however, require at least a bachelor’s degree.

The bachelor’s degree required can be in engineering, architecture, or construction management. All these would prepare you for your various roles as a construction manager.

For small projects at times, it might be possible to become a construction management professional with an associate degree or a high school diploma.

What are the Requirements to get started on your construction management career path?

The requirements needed to become a construction management professional might vary depending on the job title, location, and project size. Some areas might require you to have a license in architecture, design, or contracting.

It is essential you check the requirements and guidelines in your area to ensure you meet all the requirements needed. Some employers might require you to have a few years of experience as a construction manager or in other related fields.

Some might also appreciate it if you have a certificate even though these certification programs are usually optional but acquiring one would serve as an edge and show your employers that you are properly trained in construction and project management.

Here are some certifications you could acquire includes:

  • Associate Constructor Certification: If you are aspiring to be a construction manager you can also go the extra mile by acquiring an associate constructor certification through the American Institute of Constructors. This shows the employers that you have been proficiently trained in construction management.
  • Certified Construction Management (CCM): As a professional construction manager, you could earn this certification through the Construction Management Association of America. It would not only help to make your portfolio a bit more enticing but would also show your potential employer that you have been trained in Construction management, budgeting and cost estimation.

These are the general and basic requirements you would need on your construction management career path. However, these few requirements are based on the area you apply to.

There might be variables that you might like to look up for your area.

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Construction Management Career Paths

There are a few paths you can take to becoming a construction management professional. These paths are based on your preference mostly and which seems more appealing to you.

Some of these career paths include:

  1. Field Engineer: A field engineer is a professional in his own field who solves problems and analyses efficiency within a project. They make a national average of $71,090 salary per year. They are specialized in various fields or industries which may also include construction. Construction field engineers play the role of presenting a project’s need to the client and an engineering team, as well as help create new designs for large projects and assess the building process and systems of a project. A construction field engineer might also review materials and make suggestions to improve efficiency.
  2. Construction Superintendent: A construction superintendent is responsible for supervising the daily operations for a building project. With a national average salary of $77,703 per year, the construction superintendent oversees the building tasks at the job site. Their responsibilities include writing cost estimates for projects, creating work schedules for construction team members and monitoring the building progress.
  3. Sustainability Consultant: Sustainability consultants are environmental experts who analyse companies’ energy consumption and make suggestions. They work during the construction process to help design environmentally friendly buildings. These consultants has various roles which includes advising clients on sustainable choices, researching construction trends and analysing construction materials.
  4. Construction Project Director: A construction project director is a professional who oversees large construction projects. Construction Project Director serves the following roles in a project site which includes managing all departments and teams as well as other construction managers. They are also involved in dividing projects into smaller achievements, creating a timeline for all construction stages and delegating tasks and roles to different teams on the project. A construction project supervisor makes a national average of $92,210 per annum.
  5. General Contractor: General contractors are basically construction professionals who oversee a construction crew. They work on a series of projects ranging from residential or commercial building projects. The roles of the General contractor can vary depending on the size of the project, but common duties include ensuring a building meets local safety guidelines, hiring subcontractors to complete tasks and managing a team of professionals on the job site. General contractors may also apply for building permits and collaborate with the client regarding the project’s progress. The national salary average is $88,293 per year for a General contractor.

Steps to Take to Become a construction Management professional

On your journey to becoming a construction manager, there are various steps you would need to take to get to your target. Construction management professionals are now preferred to have at least a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.

Most of the time, employers prefer people with major fields of study like civil engineering, construction science, construction management, or construction technology.

There is a step-by-step procedure to guide you on your journey to become a Construction Management professional.

Step 1: Earn Your Degree

The tasks of construction managers can perform a series of task which includes but are not limited to home renovations or complex office building projects. The requirements like a college degree in construction management, construction science, or some related fields are valued by clients and employers.

Also, having been an intern is also an essential part of construction management education. Hands-on experience is an experience that can’t be over-exaggerated in the course of a construction management career.

This exposes you to all the roles and how to tackle them while working under a supervisor.

As a construction management graduate, you must be familiar with industry trends and technological innovations which include machine use amongst others.

Step 2: Get Practical Experience

Construction managers learn and gain new experiences while on the job. Most at times, you might spend years as a construction supervisor before you move up to become a construction manager.

To most employers and clients, years of experience is a key element when selecting a construction manager.

As a construction management graduate, you might have to work in the fields for four to five years before you can work your way into earning your certifications successfully.

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Step 3: Get certification

Currently, there is no national licensing program for construction managers. As a construction manager, you can only get certifications that show your education, experience, and commitment to the profession.

Two leading certifications that matter a lot in this field, however, are the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) certificate and the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) certificate.

The CMAA and AIC certifications require an extensive review of education, experience, and training. To acquire the Certified construction manager license, applicants must pass an exam after submitting four years of college work, a bachelor’s degree, and four years of direct experience.

If however, you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, you must present proof of eight years of experience including four years as a constructor manager.

Step 4: Career Advancement

As a construction manager, you must continually keep improving and educating yourself to stay in good standing with the authorized authorities. Making sure you maintain your certification is a key element to ensure you are successful as a construction manager.

Over time you can rise from the role of an assistant to an experienced or senior construction manager. The aim of this step is to ensure you keep improving your skills and certification in order to climb the ladder to better opportunities as a construction management professional.

Frequently asked Questions

How to become a construction manager?

You would need a bachelor’s degree to become a construction manager. Also, you would need to have a few years of experience to your name as well as one of the two certifications (Construction Management Association of America Certificate and American Institute of Constructors Certificate)

What does Construction Manager do?

They are responsible for interoperability and explaining contracts to other construction professionals.  They also prepare budgets and cost estimates.

Where do construction manager work?

CM generally works in building sites or at construction project sites. They might have offices but rarely spend time there unless to do some paperwork

How much do construction managers make?

Construction managers make around $58,000 to $92,000 on an average.

Conclusion

The above article has shown the majority of all the information you need to know before you decide to pursue a career as a construction management professional.

All you need to do is decide on the path best suited for you and follow through with it.

References

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