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Site Manager

Education and Training: Bachelor’s preferred
Average Salary: $79,800
Job Outlook: Good

A site manager is a construction manager that works with a construction site. Typically, this manger will work with one or more construction sites at once, and they are often self-employed or own their own small businesses. The site manager is responsible for overseeing the construction process from start to finish. They are particularly responsible for dividing the project into stages, being familiar with and enforcing safety and building code regulations, working with clients to communicate the construction process, and working with the many contractors involved in a major construction process.

Site managers tend to spend much of their time actually on site, but they may also have meetings elsewhere with clients, contractors, and suppliers. These managers are not responsible for putting together the entire construction project, but are responsible for ensuring that all loose ends are tied up – which often means delegating tasks to lower-level managers or workmen. With some companies, the site manager is also directly responsible for supervision of the actual workers at the construction site, whether they work for the construction company or are outside contractors.

Education and Training Requirements

Site managers most often have a bachelor’s degree in construction management or science, building science, civil engineering, or a related field. They definitely need one or more years of experience on the job in construction, as well. Sometimes, those who do not have degrees but who have years of experience and some extra certifications, particularly in regulations and safety, can get site manager positions as well.

There are a number of two-year degrees available in construction management and technology, as well as four-year degrees in similar fields. Students interested in site management should take courses in construction, legal issues surrounding construction code, math, and even some sciences.

Getting the Job

Most site managers are hired from an assistant’s position, which they may hold for a number of years out of college. Some work their way up from the ranks of actual construction workers, provided they have a bit of extra education. About 60% of site managers are self-employed, and they normally do their work on a contract basis for construction companies that do not keep site managers on staff.

Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development

Growth in the field of construction is projected to be a bit better than average over the next few years, so site manager jobs will be available. However, these jobs will be competitive, and most of them will go to applicants who have a good combination of education – with a two or four year degree preferred – and experience on the actual construction site.

Often times, site managers in the field of construction go on to become higher level managers or executives within a larger company. Some become independent consultants or start their own site management businesses as well.

Working Conditions and Environment

Site management can be a stressful job at times, as the site manager is the first person to take responsibility when something goes wrong at a construction site. Also, site managers may work long hours and a varied schedule, depending on how the construction project is going. They are typically on call around the clock as long as a project continues, which can mean long and odd hours.

Most site managers travel at least some, as they have meetings in different places throughout the construction project. However, many construction sites have an on-site office where the site manager works and can oversee most of the activities for the project from there.

Salary and Benefits

The average salary for a site manager employed by a construction company is $79,800 per year, though the top earning 10% earn about $145,900 per year. The lowest paid 10% make $47,000 or less. Those who make the most money on average are building equipment contractors, work on nonresidential construction projects, or have some other trade that makes them more specialized.

Site managers who are employed by a company will most likely get health benefits and paid vacation, though vacation time may be restricted by the busiest project seasons. Many site managers are also eligible for bonuses when projects run smoothly and on time. Self-employed site managers make more money, on average, but need to provide their own health care and other benefits.

Where to Go for More Information

American Institute of Constructors and Constructor Certification Commission
700 N Fairfax St., Ste. 510
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 683-4999

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

National Center for Construction Education and Research
3600 NW 43rd St., Bldg. G
Gainesville, FL 32606

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