How to Become a Construction Manager

Academically reviewed by Dr. Edward. M. Brayton

Bachelor of Science in Construction Management Program Page

Construction managers are essential for guiding construction projects from initial design through construction closeout and often manage important aspects like budgets, schedules, and quality. They act as the bridge between the project’s vision and its execution, coordinating with various stakeholders to ensure successful outcomes.

The construction manager’s role is crucial for project success. They keep everything aligned and on track, addressing challenges proactively and efficiently. Their expertise in leading teams and making strategic decisions directly influences the project’s performance and final quality. If this is something you may be interested in pursuing, learn more about getting a construction manager degree.

The Role of a Construction Manager

Construction managers are vital in guiding construction projects from inception to completion. They manage the planning, budgeting, and execution, ensuring projects adhere to timelines, budgets, and safety regulations. Their day-to-day duties include inspecting sites, coordinating teams, and holding meetings with stakeholders to keep projects on track.

Key skills for success include leadership, problem-solving, and effective time management, allowing them to handle complex tasks and make critical decisions efficiently. Their role demands a balance between strategic oversight and hands-on project involvement, ensuring successful outcomes and adherence to industry standards.

Steps to Become a Construction Manager

The career path to becoming a construction manager can vary, offering multiple routes tailored to individual backgrounds and goals. Some start with formal education, earning degrees in construction management or related fields, while others climb the ladder through hands-on experience in construction roles, gradually stepping into management positions.

Certifications and continuous learning can often play a significant role, supporting additional specialization and advancement in this dynamic field. Whether through academic achievements or practical experience, each pathway provides the groundwork for developing the necessary skills and knowledge to lead successful construction projects. Read on to learn more about some of the specific steps you can take to become a construction manager.

Step 1: Earn a Degree in Construction Management

Typically, the first step to becoming a construction manager involves earning a bachelor’s degree in construction management. This educational foundation provides the technical knowledge and management skills needed for success in the field.

Prospective students can choose between traditional, campus-based programs and online education options, each with its own benefits. Traditional programs offer face-to-face interactions and hands-on experiences, while online programs provide flexibility and accessibility for those balancing work or personal commitments.

The curriculum typically covers preconstruction quantity and cost estimating bid proposals, design and construction scheduling, project management, field supervision, safety management, and sustainable construction practices, equipping students with the necessary skills for effective project leadership. For more detailed information on these programs, National University’s Bachelor of Science in Construction Management page.

Step 2: Gain Experience in Construction Management

Gaining practical experience is an important step in any career path. For construction managers, hands-on experience in the field cements the knowledge gained during academic study and provides real-world insights into the complexities of construction projects. It’s wise to look for positions and projects that offer exposure to the different aspects of construction, from on-site tasks to project planning and management. Internships and entry-level positions are another excellent way to gain this experience, offering a foot in the door and the opportunity to learn from seasoned construction managers.

Networking and building connections are essential for advancing your career in construction management. Fostering these relationships with experienced construction managers can provide guidance, open opportunities, and offer insights you may not find in the classroom. Getting involved with professional groups and attending industry events are other great ways to meet experienced professionals who can be mentors and help you build a wider network in the construction field.

Step 3: Develop Leadership and Communication Skills

Developing leadership and communication skills is another step toward success in construction management. Leaders in this field must effectively coordinate teams, manage projects, and communicate with various stakeholders, including clients, contractors, and government officials. Strong leadership skills enable construction managers to inspire and guide their teams, ensuring projects are completed efficiently and effectively. Effective communication is equally important, as it provides clear understanding and partnership among everyone involved in a project.

Step 4: Consider Certifications

In construction management, securing certifications such as the American Institute of Constructors (AIC) and Certified Construction Manager (CCM) from the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) can boost your competitiveness. Completing OSHA’s safety and health training ensures that managers are compliant with important workplace safety standards. These qualifications are key for keeping up with industry regulations and enhancing skill sets and leadership abilities.

Staying current in construction management involves engaging with various resources and events. Reading industry journals and participating in significant conferences delivers fresh perspectives on emerging trends. Continuous learning through workshops, seminars, and online webinars broadens understanding of new technologies and methods, while involvement in networking groups introduces diverse viewpoints and ideas.

Step 6: Consider an Advanced Degree

Attaining an advanced degree can be a significant step in furthering your career in construction management. Advanced education, such as a master’s, often leads to better job prospects, higher earning potential, and more opportunities for leadership roles. These programs delve deeper into complex topics of construction management, including Risk management, conceptual estimating, scheduling, problem-solving, and strategic planning.

Pursuing an advanced degree can provide you with a competitive edge, equipping you with comprehensive knowledge and specialized skills that are highly valued in the industry. This educational path enhances your expertise, expands your professional network, and opens doors to higher-level positions and challenging projects.

three construction workers in hardhats and safety vests look over blueprints of a building.

Becoming a Construction Manager

Ending on a practical note, stepping into the role of a construction manager is about blending learning with real-world practice and never stopping the pursuit of knowledge. If you’re set on steering your career toward construction management, check out National University’s Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Management program. It’s crafted to give you the skills and insights needed to thrive in this bustling industry. Ready to lay the foundations of your success in construction management? See how National University can pave the way for you to become a leader in the industry.

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