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Construction Certifications and Certificate Programs

Read about the types of educational programs that are available for prospective construction managers and inspectors. Find out details about program prerequisites and coursework as well as job outlook and salary statistics.

Essential Information

Most construction laborers learn the trade through on-the-job training, though a number of academic certificate programs are available. Construction certificate programs include the Certificate in Construction Management program and the Certificate in Public Works Construction Inspection program. These types of programs can help students learn how to plan and estimate construction projects, understand construction laws and manage risks, as well as complete labs. Professional certification can be earned from a number of organizations involving the construction industry.


Certificate in Construction Management

Through this certificate program, students learn how to coordinate, schedule and manage construction projects. Students are taught how to manage costs and construction schedules using microcomputers. Safety, hazard control and the appropriate equipment use are part of the program.

Educational Prerequisites

Students applying to the program must have a solid background in construction techniques, blueprint reading, materials and construction processes. Some colleges require a minimum of five years of experience in the construction trades. Documentation of specific classes in construction is often required for admission.

Program Coursework

Coursework emphasizes cost estimation and planning. Students learn the computer applications used in construction, and safety in construction is focused on. Typical course topics are as follows:

  • Project planning
  • Construction law
  • Construction materials
  • Project management
  • Risk management
  • Sustainable construction standards

Popular Careers

A certificate in construction management can be useful for anyone in a career related to construction and project management. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) lists the following occupations as being related to the construction field:

  • Cost estimators
  • Engineering and natural sciences managers
  • Engineers
  • Architects
  • Landscape architects

Certificate in Public Works Construction Inspection

This certificate program teaches students how to inspect public utility systems, water and sewer lines, bridges, roads, dams and other infrastructural elements for proper construction. Students learn about proper documentation, contracts, plans and required specifications. Entry-level jobholders in the public works construction field can advance after completing this certificate program.

Educational Prerequisites

Applicants should have a solid background in construction principles and techniques. Some colleges mandate a specific amount of experience in the building trades. A college transcript of related coursework may be required.

Program Coursework

Students learn about critical path analysis and documents that are encountered in the public works sector. Industry standards and testing procedures are taught. Students are taught how to analyze soil, concrete, asphalt and building aggregates. Students visit a materials testing lab as part of the program. Courses cover these topics:

  • Communication skills
  • Contract management
  • Inspection techniques
  • Global positioning systems (GPS)
  • Construction liability

Continuing Education and Professional Certification Information

Construction managers typically hold a bachelor's degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Graduates that are considering a specialization can pursue a master's degree in such areas as construction management, civil engineering and environmental engineering.

To gain further credentialing, construction professionals can pursue certification from such agencies as the American Institute of Constructors (www.constructioncertification.org) and the Construction Management Association of America (cmaanet.org). The former organization offers two certifications--the Associate Constructor and the Certified Professional Constructor. Those who get certified through the CMAA earn the Certified Construction Manager credential.

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Employment for construction managers is expected to be good, with growth estimated at 17% from 2010 through 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The median salary for construction managers was $82,790 annually, according to May 2012 data from the BLS.

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