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Become A Superintendent

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Working As A Superintendent

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others
  • Scheduling Work and Activities
  • Getting Information
  • $146,948

    Average Salary

What Does A Superintendent Do

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

Duties

Construction managers typically do the following:

  • Prepare cost estimates, budgets, and work timetables
  • Interpret and explain contracts and technical information to other professionals
  • Report work progress and budget matters to clients
  • Collaborate with architects, engineers, and other construction specialists
  • Select subcontractors and schedule and coordinate their activities
  • Respond to work delays, emergencies, and other problems
  • Comply with legal requirements, building and safety codes, and other regulations

Construction managers, often called general contractors or project managers, coordinate and supervise a wide variety of projects, including the building of all types of public, residential, commercial, and industrial structures, as well as roads, memorials, and bridges. Either a general contractor or a construction manager will oversee the construction phase of a project, although a construction manager may also consult with the client during the design phase to help refine construction plans and control costs.

Construction managers oversee specialized contractors and other personnel. They schedule and coordinate all construction processes so that projects meet design specifications. They ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget. Some managers may be responsible for several projects at once—for example, the construction of multiple apartment buildings.  

Construction managers work closely with other building specialists, such as architects, civil engineers, and a variety of trade workers, including stonemasons, electricians, and carpenters. Projects may require specialists in everything from structural steel and painting to landscaping, paving roads, and excavating sites. Depending on the project, construction managers may interact with lawyers and local government officials. For example, when working on city-owned property or municipal buildings, managers sometimes confer with city inspectors to ensure that all regulations are met.

For projects too large to be managed by one person, such as office buildings and industrial complexes, a top-level construction manager hires other construction managers to be in charge of different aspects of the project. For example, each construction manager would oversee a specific phase of the project, such as structural foundation, plumbing, or electrical work, and choose subcontractors to complete it. The top-level construction manager would then collaborate and coordinate with the other construction managers.

To maximize efficiency and productivity, construction managers often perform the tasks of a cost estimator. They use specialized cost-estimating and planning software to allocate time and money in order to complete their projects. Many managers also use software to plan the best way to get materials to the building site.

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How To Become A Superintendent

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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Superintendent jobs

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Superintendent Career Paths

Average Length of Employment
General Contractor 5.2 years
Superintendent 5.0 years
Job Superintendent 4.8 years
Estimating Manager 4.3 years
Top Employers Before
Foreman 13.0%
Owner 6.9%
Supervisor 5.8%
Carpenter 5.6%
Manager 2.6%
Principal 1.9%
Top Employers After
Owner 7.3%
Foreman 5.7%
Supervisor 4.0%
Manager 3.4%
Carpenter 2.6%
Consultant 1.9%

Superintendent Demographics

Gender

Male

90.6%

Female

8.0%

Unknown

1.5%
Ethnicity

White

82.1%

Hispanic or Latino

10.2%

Asian

5.7%

Unknown

1.4%

Black or African American

0.5%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

69.9%

French

4.8%

Portuguese

4.1%

Italian

3.2%

German

3.2%

Carrier

2.9%

Russian

2.3%

Dakota

1.8%

Arabic

1.1%

Vietnamese

0.9%

Korean

0.9%

Albanian

0.9%

Croatian

0.7%

Japanese

0.7%

Hindi

0.5%

Dutch

0.5%

Mandarin

0.5%

Hawaiian

0.5%

Norwegian

0.5%

Navajo

0.5%
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Superintendent Education

Schools

Community College of the Air Force

22.6%

University of Phoenix

15.7%

Michigan State University

5.0%

Texas A&M University

4.8%

Auburn University

4.7%

The Academy

3.8%

Columbia Southern University

3.7%

Ashford University

3.6%

Villanova University

3.4%

Webster University

3.3%

Trident University International

3.3%

Pennsylvania State University

3.2%

University of Maryland - University College

3.1%

Arizona State University

3.1%

University of Houston

3.0%

Troy University

2.9%

Oklahoma State University

2.8%

American University

2.7%

Purdue University

2.7%

Clemson University

2.6%
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Majors

Business

28.2%

Construction Management

13.1%

Management

7.3%

Education

4.9%

Project Management

4.3%

Educational Leadership

4.1%

Civil Engineering

4.0%

Criminal Justice

3.9%

General Studies

3.6%

Electrical Engineering

3.0%

Engineering

2.8%

Human Resources Management

2.7%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.6%

Mechanical Engineering

2.5%

Industrial Technology

2.4%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

2.4%

Accounting

2.1%

Drafting And Design

2.1%

Finance

2.1%

Plant Sciences

1.8%
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Degrees

Other

35.2%

Bachelors

30.3%

Associate

12.6%

Masters

12.3%

Certificate

5.9%

Doctorate

1.9%

Diploma

1.3%

License

0.5%
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Real Superintendent Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Commissioning Superintendent Chiyoda International Corporation Houston, TX Oct 10, 2016 $370,000
Driling Superintendent Marathon Oil Company Houston, TX Jun 11, 2012 $167,000
Vessel Superintendent Canyon Offshore Inc. Houston, TX Aug 05, 2016 $156,506 -
$180,810
Hsec Superintendent Broken Hill Proprietary (USA), Inc. Vancouver, WA Dec 19, 2011 $155,000
Hsec Superintendent Broken Hill Proprietary (USA), Inc. Vancouver, WA Sep 14, 2012 $155,000
Commissioning Superintendent Lummus Technology, Inc. The Woodlands, TX Sep 09, 2016 $150,000
Commissioning Superintendent Lummus Technology, Inc. The Woodlands, TX Sep 08, 2016 $150,000
Superintendent Processes Broken Hill Proprietary (USA) Inc. Tucson, AZ Aug 01, 2012 $150,000
Field Superintendent Savanna Energy Services (USA) Corp. Waynesburg, PA Feb 18, 2015 $150,000
Commissioning Superintendent CB&I Inc. Houston, TX Aug 10, 2015 $149,760
Instrumentation Superintendent BP America Inc. Whiting, IN Oct 01, 2015 $145,100
Superintendent Traylor Bros., Inc. Washington, DC Oct 04, 2012 $130,795
Vessel Technical Superintendent Technip USA, Inc. Houston, TX Aug 01, 2016 $130,000
Vessel Technical Superintendent Technip USA, Inc. Houston, TX Jan 08, 2016 $130,000
Superintendent Bencor Corporation of America Foundation Specialis Dallas, TX Oct 01, 2012 $130,000
Cargo Superintendent AAL Shipping (USA) LLC Houston, TX Sep 20, 2016 $129,917 -
$150,000
LNG Fleet Technical Superintendent Sonangol Marine Services Houston, TX Feb 18, 2015 $127,150
Vessel Superintendent Canyon Offshore Inc. Houston, TX May 07, 2014 $126,090 -
$161,330
Vessel Superintendent Canyon Offshore Inc. Houston, TX Apr 05, 2012 $126,006 -
$161,330
Technical Superintendent Princess Cruises Santa Clarita, CA Mar 31, 2011 $101,885
Superintendent Process Entergy Louisiana LLC Laplace, LA Mar 21, 2011 $101,301
Superintendent Process II Entergy Louisiana LLC Laplace, LA Mar 21, 2011 $101,301
Superintendent, Standards and Change Control Pinto Valley Mining Corp. Miami, AZ Aug 07, 2014 $101,213 -
$197,364
Superintendent Hayward Baker, Inc. MD Jan 07, 2015 $99,675
Superintendent Hayward Baker, Inc. MD Jul 01, 2015 $99,675
Superintendent-Technical Kennecott Utah Copper, LLC UT Jan 18, 2016 $98,717 -
$153,900

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Top Skills for A Superintendent

GeneralContractorsCivilianPersonnelISOFacilitySub-ContractorsJobSiteOshaOwnersInspectorsLayoutScopeArchitectsConstructionProjectsOversightEmergencyLogisticsProjectManagementNewConstructionCustomerServiceHvac

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Top Superintendent Skills

  1. General Contractors
  2. Civilian Personnel
  3. ISO
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Work with employees, upper management, general contractors and inspectors to successfully complete projects.
  • Led 42 2S/2T military and civilian personnel in providing 24-hour inbound and outbound cargo support.
  • Managed the contributions of supervisory staff and skilled workers (electricians, framers, plumbers, etc.)
  • Supervised contractors in the construction of a $200,000,000 Biochemical facility.
  • Hired and supervised construction workers and sub-contractors.

Top Superintendent Employers

Superintendent Videos

Education Career Advice from an Asst. Superintendent from drkit.org

Superintendent Perspective - PENTA Building Group

Direct Entry Superintendent Paul Clements – a personal perspective on a new career challenge

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