Become a Construction Site Manager: Education and Career Roadmap

Discover the requirements to become a construction site manager in this lesson. Learn about the job description and duties, and see the process to start a career in construction site management. View article »

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  • 0:00 Construction Site Managers
  • 0:35 Obtain a Bachelor's Degree
  • 1:36 Gain Experience
  • 2:10 Gain Voluntary Certification

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Video Transcript

Construction Site Manager

Construction site managers oversee building projects and are responsible for budgets, hiring, contracts, schedules, safety compliance and interfacing with other professionals connected to the project.

Construction site managers work in fairly safe environments, both in and out of the office. They may also travel between several job sites. The median annual pay for construction managers is $87,400 as of May 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Degree Level A bachelor's degree is commonly preferred
Degree Field Construction or building science, engineering, architecture, construction management, construction technology
Certification Optional certification is available
Experience More than 5 years of experience may be necessary
Key Skills Strong analytical skills; communication; time-management; decision-making skills; familiarity with computer-aided design (CAD), project management, presentation, drawing management and business process management software; ability to use construction tools
Salary (2015) $87,400 (median salary for construction managers)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*Net OnLine

Step 1: Obtain a Bachelor's Degree

Undergraduate degree programs in construction management, construction technology or construction science are available at many colleges and universities. Bachelor's degree programs expose students to all levels of a construction project, such as reading plans, writing contracts, pricing costs and working with contractors, architects and other professionals.

Courses in construction safety, estimating, legal issues, building technology and accounting are also included in the curricula.

Success Tips:

  • Complete an internship. Construction management degree programs commonly offer or require students to complete work experience through internship and co-op programs prior to graduation.
  • Develop strong computer skills. Construction site managers may use a variety of different computer programs to do their jobs successfully. Students can take courses that help to grow their computer knowledge and to focus on CAD software, 3-D modeling software, business presentation software and other commonly used programs.

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Step 2: Gain Experience

Practical experience is a central aspect of securing a position as a construction site manager. Managers need considerable experience, sometimes 5 years or more. Aspiring construction site managers might consider working on construction sites in non-managerial positions, perhaps in entry-level positions in one of the trades, such as carpentry, masonry or general labor. They may also gain employment as assistants to experienced construction site managers. Experience gained in internships and co-operative education programs may be also be applicable.

Step 3: Gain Voluntary Certification

While certification is not required to work as a construction site manager, it is becoming more important for job seekers. The American Institute of Construction (AIC) and the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) offer certification designations. The CMAA offers the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) designation.

Eligibility for taking the examination is 4 years of construction management experience and either an undergraduate degree, or an additional number of years of construction management experience or a combination of both.

The AIC offers the Associate Constructor (AC) and the Certified Professional Constructor (CPC) designations. To take the exam, the AC designation requires exam candidates to have a combined 4 years of either professional or education credentials. The CPC requires Associate Constructors to have an additional 2 years of managerial experience. Those who have not previously earned the AC designation need 8 years of professional or education credentials, plus an additional 2 years in a managerial position.

In summary, the process to becoming a construction site manager involves the earning of a bachelor's degree, the completion of an internship, the development of strong computer skills, the gaining of non-managerial or trade based experience and the voluntary certification offered by the AIC and the CMAA.

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