Be a Construction Field Superintendent: Career Guide

Aug 01, 2018

Research the requirements to become a construction field superintendent. Learn about the job duties, education and training requirements and find out how to start a career as a construction field superintendent.

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  • 0:03 Construction Field…
  • 0:40 Career Requirements
  • 1:19 Gain Work Experience
  • 2:02 Earn a Degree
  • 3:04 Obtain Certification

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Construction Field Superintendent

Construction field superintendents supervise workers on all areas of construction activities. They may also be responsible for organizing and facilitating construction projects by reviewing building plans and communicating with clients. These superintendents manage workers and supervisors, schedule and assign tasks, check on progress and deal with any on-site issues.

Like construction managers, construction field superintendents work in both an office and in the field, often traveling between construction sites to check on progress or handle any problems.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Not specified
Experience Varies; at least five years is typical
Licensure or Certification Voluntary professional certification is available
Key Skills Coordination, personnel management, time management and communication skills; ability to navigate related technology; familiarity with field-specific tools; knowledge of production, building and management processes
Salary (2015) $87,400 (median annual salary for construction managers)

Sources: job postings (January 2013), American Institute of Constructors Certification Commission (AIC), U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Let's take a closer look at the steps to becoming a construction field superintendent.

Step 1: Gain Work Experience

Construction field superintendents often begin working on construction sites after finishing high school, and then learn skills and techniques on the job from co-workers and superiors. Although some employers require higher education for career advancement, many prefer experience since most trade skills are acquired through hands-on experience with construction equipment rather than in the classroom.

Starting as an entry-level construction worker, such as a carpenter or laborer, can provide the skills needed to become a construction superintendent. Knowledge of hands-on construction techniques, tools and materials used in the industry are necessary skills to advance to a superintendent role.

Step 2: Earn a Degree

Construction workers may consider an associate's degree program in construction management, such as an Associate in Applied Sciences, which includes courses in blueprint reading, estimating, construction methods and accounting. Related undergraduate programs are also available, including the Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Construction or Construction Management. These programs may cover topics like engineering, management and technology, as well as offer a complementary minor, emphasis or concentration, such as business, building technology or general building.

Success Tip:

  • Take the opportunity to gain experience while completing studies. Construction workers often pursue an internship or apprenticeship with an experienced construction superintendent to gain advanced skills. The Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) offers a Construction Manager-in-Training (CMIT) program to current students and working professionals that provides specialized construction management training and mentoring.

Step 3: Obtain Certification

Construction field superintendents who meet the eligibility requirements may choose to take the Certified Professional Constructor exam through the American Institute of Constructors (AIC). To qualify for the exam, they must have completed four years of construction education or experience or both; or they may be about to graduate from a construction degree program. They must also have previously earned the Associate Constructor certificate or have acceptable experience.

Success Tips:

  • Pursue advanced education in the field. Construction field superintendents can advance their careers by completing additional education, such as a Master of Science in Construction Management program. A graduate degree program typically includes courses in topics like project management, law, contracts, productivity and environmental concerns.
  • Add to skills with classes and training. Construction field superintendents can also complete additional training through professional organization courses. For instance, the Construction Management Standards of Practice (SOPC) course is offered through CMAA. The SOPC program is offered in an online, self-paced format. The course provides instruction in organizational and planning aspects of a construction project, focusing on managing time, money and safety.

Hopeful construction field superintendents should gain experience in entry level positions, consider earning a degree and obtain certification in order to succeed in this field.

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