Is This Job for Me?
Construction professionals who work in administration may be referred to as many things: construction site administrators, construction managers, superintendents or project managers. In these administrative roles, individuals may plan, direct, budget and coordinate construction projects on-site, and they may work with other managers or independently. Construction site administrators must have knowledge of building and safety codes to ensure projects meet legal regulations. They may have to work on-call 24 hours a day, and some stress might occur when deadlines draw near or if any on-site emergencies happen.
|Degree Level||High school diploma or equivalent; bachelor's preferred|
|Degree Field(s)||Construction management, engineering, or a related field|
|License/Certification||Licensure required in some states; voluntary certification available|
|Key Skills||Analytical, communication, time-management, writing skills, decision-making, and leadership skills; initiative; use of project management software|
|Median Annual Salary (2015)||$87,400 (for all construction managers)*|
A high school diploma is the minimum education required, though employers may prefer a bachelor's degree in construction management, engineering or a related field. In order to become a construction site administrator, 2-5 years in construction management is typically required. Licensure in a construction-related occupation or to oversee public projects is required in some states. Voluntary certifications are also available. Key skills one must have to be a construction site administrator include being analytical, communication skills, time-management skills, writing skills, decision-making skills and leadership skills, the ability to show initiative and the ability to use project management software. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for all construction managers was $87,400 as of 2015.
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How to Become an Administrator
Now that you know what a construction site administrator is, let's look at the steps required to become one:
Step 1: Obtain the Necessary Education
Job candidates with only a high school diploma and significant professional experience may work as construction site administrators. However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that a bachelor's degree is generally needed for high-level positions at large construction companies, given the increasing complexity of construction projects. Employers generally look for applicants with a bachelor's degree in disciplines like construction management, civil engineering or architecture. Construction-specific degree programs are common and may include courses that cover project management, estimating, building codes, construction materials and design.
Here's a success tip: Pursue internship opportunities. Some colleges offer internship opportunities in their degree programs. Internships and cooperative education programs can impart experience, and reduce the training prospective employers would need to provide on the job.
Step 2: Gain Construction Experience
Jobsite experience is necessary for advancement to a management position. Practical experience may be gained through an entry-level position as a construction laborer. In this role, individuals may work on demolishing buildings, digging trenches or removing debris, all of which can provide insight into how a construction jobsite functions. Additionally, those with specialized skills in areas like carpentry, masonry or plumbing can seek out team lead or supervisor roles to gain experience managing projects and employees.
Step 3: Become Licensed
Depending on the state, prospective construction site administrators may need to hold a professional license. In the state of South Carolina, for example, an individual looking to practice as a construction manager must be licensed as an architect, engineer or mechanical contractor. Construction site administrators who manage public projects may require licensure in some states.
Step 4: Obtain Employment as a Site Manager or Administrator
Companies may employ individuals as assistant construction managers before they can advance to independent manager positions. Training under the supervision of an experienced construction administrator can last several months to several years. As assistants accrue experience, they develop skills in areas like negotiating contract conflicts, reviewing project documents and communicating with site supervisors.
Step 5: Consider Professional Certification for Career Advancement
Both the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) and the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) offer voluntary certifications. Administrators may earn the Associate Constructor (AC) or the Certified Professional Constructor (CPC) designation from the AIC, as well as the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) credential from the CMAA. To be eligible to sit for a certification exam, candidates must have a combination of education and experience. These credentials can demonstrate both knowledge and ability to prospective employers.
To become a construction site administrator, one should generally have a bachelor's degree and 2-5 years of experience. Some states also require construction managers to have a license in a construction related occupation and certification can be helpful for career advancement.