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Construction Project Superintendent: Job Description and Requirements

A construction project superintendent requires significant formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and the licensure or certification requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

Construction project superintendents oversee construction sites including managing personnel. This job requires a college education as well as licensing. The employment outlook for construction project superintendents is about the same as the average for all occupations.

Essential Information

Construction project superintendents, also known as construction managers, oversee the personnel at a construction site and supervise the planning and scheduling of projects. Individuals interested in this field usually complete bachelor's and master's degree programs and obtain certification and state licensure.

Required Education Bachelor's degree; advanced degree may be required
Other Requirements Certification or state licensure may be required
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 5%*
Median Salary (2015) $87,400*

Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Construction Project Superintendent Job Description

Construction project superintendents are either self-employed or work for construction companies or developers. They make sure construction projects, such as office buildings, roads and bridges, are completed on time and within budget. Before construction begins, superintendents develop plans for site preparation as well as estimate the project's budget and develop a reasonable project schedule. They obtain the necessary permits, licenses, requisition supplies and materials and hire sub-contractors and construction workers. During construction, superintendents monitor sub-contractors and laborers to ensure the quality of their work. They also confer with owners and architects about building codes, construction problems, emergencies and delays.

Education Requirements

Construction project superintendent training involves completing a bachelor's degree program in construction science, construction management, building science or civil engineering. Once enrolled, students are exposed to topics such as cost estimating, surveying, construction administration, project planning and project scheduling. After graduation, many individuals begin their careers as assistant project managers. For those who want to bypass the assistant position, a master's degree in construction management or construction science may directly lead to a starting position as a project superintendent.

Certification and Licensure Requirements

Voluntary certification is available through two organizations. The Construction Management Association of America awards the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) credential. Construction managers must pass a 5-hour exam, which consists of multiple-choice questions in the areas of project, cost, time, contract and quality management. After passing the exam, individuals maintain their credentials by acquiring 45 continuing education points and renewing their certification every three years (www.cmaa.com).

The American Institute of Constructors and the Constructor Certification Commission offers the Associate Constructor (AC) and Certified Professional Constructor (CPC) credentials. The AC exam is for superintendents who are new to the field, while the CPC is for experienced professionals. Individuals maintain their certification by completing continuing education credits, upholding the Constructor Code of Conduct and renewing their certification once a year (www.professionalconstructor.org). Most states require licensure to practice as a construction project superintendent. Because requirements may vary by location, specific state research is advised.

Salary and Career Outlook

In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) listed the median annual earnings of construction managers at $87,400. Employment opportunities for construction managers were anticipated to increase 5% from 2014-2024, according to the BLS. This increase in jobs is mainly due to many types of construction projects expanding across the country.

Construction project superintendents, or construction managers, need to hold a bachelor's degree, although some positions and employers may require a master's degree. Licensing is required and certification is available in this field. The median annual salary for construction managers is about $87,000.


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