What's Required to Start a Career in Construction Management?

Sep 27, 2019

You'll need experience in construction, which can be obtained through an apprenticeship, in addition to an associate's or bachelor's degree in construction science, construction management or another similar field in order to become a construction manager.

Essential Information

Construction managers coordinate activities and supervise employees on construction sites. They not only oversee the day-to-day operations, but are responsible for financing and hiring of personnel. They are usually experienced construction employees who have received formal education (either an associate's degree or bachelor's degree) and completed an apprenticeship.

Required Education Construction experience, associate degree or bachelor's degree in construction science, construction management, architecture, engineering, building science, or construction technology
Other Requirements An apprenticeship may be required
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 10%*
Mean Salary (2018) $103,110*

Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Construction Manager Career Profile

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), construction managers coordinate the major components of a construction project, such as the timeline and budget ( During a project, these professionals review contracts, purchase materials and may be charged with making personnel decisions. The BLS indicates that larger construction projects may have multiple construction mangers for specific segments of a project. Construction managers work with other professionals, including engineers, accountants and architects.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS states that employment opportunities for construction managers are expected to increase faster than average from 2018-2028, spurred in part by the need to make significant infrastructure repairs. Employment is tied to the construction industry, which may struggle during poor economic periods. Individuals with a bachelor's degree in the field may have an advantage.

In May 2018, the BLS reported that the median annual salary of a construction manager was $93,370, while individuals in the top 10% earned $161,510 per year and up.

Educational Requirements

Entry-Level Training

Individuals may be required to complete an apprenticeship to enter the construction industry. Apprenticeships combine extensive on-the-job training with classroom coursework in topics ranging from applied math to construction safety. During a program, an apprentice is typically paid a percentage of what a journeyman worker earns. The period of training may last several years.

Undergraduate Education

Prospective construction managers may enter the industry by completing an associate's degree or certificate program. Programs offer coursework in all areas of construction, including codes, building sites and contracting. Prerequisite courses in business math and communications may be required. Certificate programs in construction management may be designed for individuals with industry experience.

The BLS indicates that employers are trending toward hiring construction managers with bachelor's degrees in a construction or engineering-related major. Engineering programs include sequences in calculus and physics, while construction programs may require less-advanced courses, such as precalculus. Construction programs include coursework that is focused around the construction industry with additional requirements in accounting and business. The core curricula of engineering programs include practical and theoretical courses in materials, design and construction principles.

Both programs include hands-on training through lab sessions, field experience or research opportunities. The capstone requirement for graduation is often a design project, in which students create an original concept. While in school, many students perform cooperative internships to gain work experience.

Advanced Studies

Individuals with industry experience and prior schooling seeking advancement may consider graduate degree or certificate programs. These curricula offer coursework in management techniques and worksite operations. Courses may be offered in specific building methods or technologies, such as smart grid technology and green building. Some programs require coursework from the business department, such as human resources and project management.

After completing on-the-job training to obtain construction experience and earning a related 2- or 4-year undergraduate degree, you'll be well on your way to becoming a construction manager.

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