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Construction Management

Education and Training: Bachelor’s degree, On-the-job experience, Certification
Average Salary: $79,800
Job Outlook: Good

Construction management jobs involve planning, directing, coordinating, and budgeting for many construction projects. Industrial, residential, and commercial construction sites all require construction managers to coordinate the process. Typically, construction managers oversee the hiring of trade contractors for electrical and plumbing work, ensure that the building is up to code and legal restrictions, and schedule and plan the entire building process.

Some construction managers working on very large corporate or industrial projects will oversee just one part of the construction, since the job is so large. Often, construction managers are responsible for finding the most cost-efficient way to get a job done and keeping the work on an efficient schedule. They may also be responsible for creating cost estimates and checking bids from contracted workers.

Education and Training Requirements

Most construction managers have a bachelor’s degree in a construction-related field, but some get into this position after being in other construction positions for years. Even those with bachelor’s degrees will not typically get a construction management position without work experience. Those with practical experience first can boost their chances for these jobs by taking classes or getting an associate’s degree in a related area.

Certification for construction management jobs is helpful, as well. Certification programs include professional experience and written exams to ensure that construction managers can adequately carry out their role on the construction site.

Getting the Job

Jobs are typically available to those with an acceptable combination of experience and education, and larger companies often hire from within their own ranks. Those who have gone through certification or bachelor’s programs that combine experience and education may be able to get a construction management position right away.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Growth prospects in this field are good, due to the rapid rate of construction in the corporate and industrial sectors. Home building has slowed, but will eventually pick back up in the future, requiring new construction managers to enter the field. These jobs cannot be outsourced, which makes them fairly secure.

Successful construction management workers often go on to become higher level managers or executives in larger companies. Many begin their own construction management companies, and a large portion of construction managers are self-employed. Some also bring in a side income as expert witnesses or arbitrators in construction-related disputes and court cases.

Working Conditions and Environment

Construction management workers typically work partly from an office and partly in the field on the jobsite. They may work from a centralized office or a field office, but part of most days will be spent directly overseeing the job at the construction site. Managers often spend much of the day traveling from office to job site or between job sites if they are overseeing multiple projects.

This can be a stressful job, since weather and emergencies can effect construction. Most managers work a forty hour week until they must crunch a project, in which case they could work much more. Often, construction managers must be on call around the clock to deal with emergencies and delays.

Salary and Benefits

Construction managers’ salaries are typically between $47,000 for entry-level workers and $145,000 for highly experienced workers in larger companies. Building equipment contractors have the highest median salary at about $81,000 per year, and the median salary of all construction managers is about $79,800 per year.

The benefits with this job vary from company to company, but salaried managers normally get health and vacation benefits, though vacation time may revolve around when active construction projects are going on. Self-employed construction managers and contracted managers may not get either of these benefits, though their earning potential can be higher.

Where to Go for More Information
You can find out more about professional advancement and certification for construction management positions here:

American Council for Construction Education
1717 North Loop 1604 E, Ste. 320
San Antonio, TX 78232
(210) 495-6161

American Institute of Contractors
PO Box 26334
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 683-4999

Construction Management Association of America
7926 Jones Branch Dr., Ste. 800
McLean, VA 22102
(703) 356-2622

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