What is a Construction Manager

As a construction manager, you are responsible for coordinating, planning, and overseeing the beginning and the end of a project. Your work is to plan the work, organize the work schedule, cost, and budget, and oversee the materials and equipment. You are allowed to coordinate and direct construction workers and subcontractors, oversee all construction on sites and off-sites for accountability, and review the work progress daily. Your job requires you to plan to avoid problems and provide solutions to any emergency. Plus, you need to review the work in-depth to estimate the cost and scheduled deliveries. The manager is in charge of selecting tools, materials, equipment and track inventory for the workflow of the project. Obtaining permits, negotiating the terms of the agreement, drafting contracts and licenses, and ensuring that quality construction materials are used are also part of your duty as the construction manager.

As a construction manager, the ability to plan and execute projects and resolve conflicts is crucial. You must also demonstrate leadership and must be resourceful. Plus, you must have project management skills, manage time well, communicate well, and display advanced knowledge in construction management. The average salary of a construction manager is $95,260 annually with a bachelor's degree in construction management, engineering, or other related fields.

What Does a Construction Manager Do

Construction managers plan, coordinate, budget, and supervise construction projects from start to finish.

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How To Become a Construction Manager

Large construction firms increasingly prefer candidates with both construction experience and a bachelor’s degree in a construction-related field. While some individuals with a high school diploma and many years of experience in a construction trade may be hired as construction managers, these individuals are typically qualified to become self-employed general contractors.

Education

It is becoming increasingly important for construction managers to have a bachelor’s degree in construction science, construction management, architecture, or engineering. As construction processes become more complex, employers are placing greater importance on specialized education.

More than 100 colleges and universities offer accredited bachelor’s degree programs in construction science, building science, or construction engineering. These programs include courses in project control and management, design, construction methods and materials, cost estimation, building codes and standards, and contract administration. Courses in mathematics and statistics are also relevant.

More than fifty 2-year colleges offer construction management or construction technology programs. An associate’s degree combined with work experience is typical for managers who supervise smaller projects.  

A few universities offer master’s degree programs in construction management.

Those with a high school diploma and several years of relevant work experience may qualify to become a construction manager, although most are qualified to become self-employed general contractors.

Training

New construction managers are typically hired as assistants and work under the guidance of an experienced manager. This training period may last several months to several years, depending on the firm.

Work Experience

If the typical education is not obtained, practical construction experience is important for jobseekers, because it reduces the need for initial on-the-job training. Internships, cooperative education programs, and previous work in the construction industry can provide that experience. Some construction managers become qualified solely through extensive construction experience, spending many years in carpentry, masonry, or other construction specialties.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not required, certification is becoming increasingly important for construction managers. Certification is valuable because it can demonstrate knowledge and experience.

The Construction Management Association of America awards the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) designation to workers who have the required experience and who pass a technical exam. It is recommended that applicants for this certification complete a self-study course that covers the professional role of a construction manager, legal issues, the allocation of risk, and other topics related to construction management.

The American Institute of Constructors awards the Associate Constructor (AC) and Certified Professional Constructor (CPC) designations to candidates who meet its requirements and pass the appropriate construction exams.

Some states require licensure for construction managers. For more information, contact your state licensing board.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Most managers plan a project strategy, handle unexpected issues and delays, and solve problems that arise over the course of the project. In addition, many managers use cost-estimating and planning software to determine costs and the materials and time required to complete projects.

Business skills. Construction managers address budget matters and coordinate and supervise workers. Choosing competent staff and establishing good working relationships with them is critical.

Customer-service skills. Construction managers are in constant contact with owners, inspectors, and the public. They must form good working relationships with these people and ensure their needs are met.

Decisionmaking skills. Construction managers choose personnel and subcontractors for specific tasks and jobs. Often, these choices must be made quickly to meet deadlines and budgets.

Initiative. Self-employed construction managers generate their business opportunities and must be proactive in finding new clients. They often market their services and bid on jobs, and they must also learn to perform special home improvement projects, such as installing mosaic glass tiles, sanding wood floors, and insulating homes.

Leadership skills. Managers must effectively delegate tasks to construction workers, subcontractors, and other lower level managers.

Speaking skills. Managers must give clear orders, explain complex information to construction workers and clients, and discuss technical details with other building specialists, such as architects. Self-employed construction managers must get their own projects, so the need to sell their services to potential clients is critical.

Technical skills. Managers must know construction methods and technologies, and must be able to interpret contracts and technical drawings.

Time-management skills. Construction managers must meet deadlines. They ensure that construction phases are completed on time so that the next phase can begin as scheduled. For instance, a building’s foundation cannot be constructed until the land is completely excavated.

Writing skills. Construction managers must write proposals, plans, and budgets, as well as document the progress of the work for clients and others involved in the building process.

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Average Salary
$81,322
Average Salary
Job Growth Rate
10%
Job Growth Rate
Job Openings
24,156
Job Openings
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Construction Manager Career Paths

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Average Salary for a Construction Manager

Construction Managers in America make an average salary of $81,322 per year or $39 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $126,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $52,000 per year.
Average Salary
$81,322
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Construction Manager Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a Construction Manager. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

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At Zippia, we went through countless Construction Manager resumes and compiled some information about how to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

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Construction Manager Demographics

Construction Manager Gender Statistics

male

88.1 %

female

8.7 %

unknown

3.2 %

Construction Manager Ethnicity Statistics

White

77.8 %

Hispanic or Latino

14.1 %

Black or African American

3.4 %

Construction Manager Foreign Languages Spoken Statistics

Spanish

56.5 %

French

7.7 %

Arabic

4.3 %
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Construction Manager Education

Construction Manager Majors

21.8 %

Construction Manager Degrees

Bachelors

60.7 %

Associate

18.0 %

Masters

9.0 %

Top Colleges for Construction Managers

1. California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,816
Enrollment
21,047

2. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

3. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

4. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

5. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

6. Ohio State University

Columbus, OH • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,726
Enrollment
45,769

7. Texas A&M University

College Station, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$11,870
Enrollment
53,194

8. Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$18,454
Enrollment
40,108

9. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

10. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018
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Online Courses For Construction Manager That You May Like

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Can building structures be sustainable? This course aims to answer that question. It covers sustainable construction management project elements from conception to completion. We discuss the important contributions facility managers and property managers make to sustainable construction projects by acting as the owner’s representatives. And we show how the construction contract and project delivery method greatly influences how the project will be performed sustainably. Sustainable...

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Top Skills For a Construction Manager

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 20.1% of construction managers listed construction projects on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and business skills are important as well.

12 Construction Manager RESUME EXAMPLES

Best States For a Construction Manager

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a construction manager. The best states for people in this position are Hawaii, Alaska, New Jersey, and Washington. Construction managers make the most in Hawaii with an average salary of $135,100. Whereas in Alaska and New Jersey, they would average $123,515 and $107,173, respectively. While construction managers would only make an average of $103,333 in Washington, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Hawaii

Total Construction Manager Jobs:
68
Highest 10% Earn:
$205,000
Location Quotient:
1.5
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Alaska

Total Construction Manager Jobs:
50
Highest 10% Earn:
$183,000
Location Quotient:
1.11
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Idaho

Total Construction Manager Jobs:
110
Highest 10% Earn:
$163,000
Location Quotient:
1.24
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
Full List Of Best States For Construction Managers

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Top Construction Manager Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ construction managers and discovered their number of construction manager opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Lennar was the best, especially with an average salary of $71,675. Ericsson follows up with an average salary of $90,482, and then comes AT&T; with an average of $61,039. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a construction manager. The employers include Philips Electronics North America, Parsons, and Trane

Construction Manager Videos

Construction Manager FAQs

How long does it take to become a construction manager?

It takes four to eight years to become a certified construction manager, on average. It will typically take four years with a bachelor's degree and eight years without to achieve the certification needed to officially become a Construction Manager.

However, overall the amount of time it takes to become a construction manager, whether fully certified or not, depends largely on what path you take. It is possible to go to trade school for construction management, which takes two years, so you can start getting real-world work experience sooner.

However, most big companies will want to hire a person who has taken four years to get a bachelor's degree. There are also opportunities to pursue a master's degree in construction management, but this will only be needed for the most high-level jobs.

Even those with a college degree will likely work under the direct supervision of a more experienced construction manager for at least one year before starting to take on their own projects. And, as stated before, it takes four years of work experience to become a certified construction manager.

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How much education do you need to be a construction manager?

The minimum educational requirement for a construction manager is an associate's degree from a community college or trade school. While getting a four-year bachelor's degree is going to set a person up for quicker early success, it is possible to become a Construction Manager without one.

Not everyone wants or is able to spend the money on a four-year college degree, which is why trade schools and community colleges with construction management programs are a great alternative.

These educational programs offer those who want to become construction managers the opportunity to learn the latest construction practices and technology without the time or financial cost of traditional bachelor's degrees.

It is also important to consider the opportunity costs. While an associate's degree is not as highly regarded as a bachelor's degree, a bachelor's degree takes two years longer to achieve, which is two years less of work experience.

For a motivated young construction manager, it is possible to gain extensive work experience in lieu of educational experience. This will make them just as competitive as bachelor's degree holders within the field.

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Is it hard to become a construction manager?

No, it is not hard to become a construction manager, but it takes hard work and the right skill set to be successful. While it is not hard to become a construction manager, this career is a lot of hard work, which requires a person who is really eager to dig in to be successful.

Construction management requires a lot of responsibility and hard work, which can make for a high-stress environment. Construction Managers are in charge of construction projects from beginning to end.

This level of responsibility can be very difficult, especially when working in construction, where the product is typically a building or other structure that people will be using every day.

The Construction Manager must ensure the quality of these structures that people trust their lives on regularly. This is why it is much harder to work as a Construction Manager than it is to become one.

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What qualifications do you need to be a construction manager?

The basic qualifications needed to be a construction manager are generally a bachelor's degree in construction management and four years of experience to become certified. These basic educational qualifications are fairly straightforward to meet.

But through work experience, the best construction managers develop the needed skills and traits to be experts in their fields. These qualifications include a variety of qualities and skills that will set a person apart as a construction manager.

A Construction Manager needs to have strong analytical and decision-making skills. A good construction manager must both develop a strategy to complete the project, handle unexpected setbacks, and resolve problems that arise.

In order to meet all of these obligations, they must be able to analyze and make decisions quickly in order to stay on schedule.

They should also have good communication skills and leadership skills. The construction manager works with a variety of personalities in order to complete their project. This means that they need to be able to effectively communicate and motivate everyone involved in the project in order to be successful.

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Updated August 18, 2021