How To Have a Career in Construction Management

Construction management is quite broad.  It involves residential, commercial, and industrial projects.  It requires technological and managerial skills.  And on top of that, it demands in-depth know-how not only in construction but also in planning, designing, cost control, quality administration, and human resources.  

Here are some of the aspects that you need to consider if you desire to establish a career in construction management.

  • Know the nature of the job.  Being a construction manager is highly demanding.  For one, your primary task is to oversee the construction of a project – from concept development to final stage, from setting timelines to meeting budgets.  As a key officer, you directly coordinate with the owners, investors, architects, engineers, and other major players in your assigned construction project.  You are also expected to put technology in full use, particularly in fulfilling your day-to-day tasks.

    And most importantly, you should be adept in manpower selection.  You are responsible in screening, hiring, and dismissing everybody who is involved in the construction project, from general contractors to trade specialists.  

  • Be familiar with the working conditions.  As a construction manager, you may be assigned to work in a main office.  Also, you may be posted in a field office, right at the heart of your construction project.  Nonetheless, expect much of your executive time to be spent at the jobsite, especially when management decisions have to be made.  In fact, you need to make yourself available 24/7, chiefly to meet deadline, address delays, counter bad weather effects, and solve problems at the construction site.  You are also required to travel extensively, here and abroad.
  • Meet the required credentials.  It is truly advantageous for you if you can prove that you have a solid background in business, management, and building science.  It is also practical to gain experience in the construction industry.

    A four-year bachelor’s degree in construction science, construction management, or construction engineering is a must.  Your academic degree guarantees your exposure in planning, designing, scheduling, cost estimating, accounting, to name a few.  Meanwhile, if your goal is to handle large construction ventures, then, a master’s degree in construction science or construction management becomes indispensable.

    You can also complement that with a master’s degree in finance or in business administration.  Likewise, it is practical to attend trainings, especially those ones sponsored or spearhead by the industry associations, and to seek voluntary certification from the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) and the American Institute of Constructors (AIC).

  • Understand the career prospects.  In 2004, around 431,000 positions were held by construction managers.  And impressively, more that half of that figure represented the self-employed practitioners.  They were essentially proprietors of specialty trade or general construction companies.

In 2004, the career prospects for a construction manager are expected to become a lot better.  In fact, estimates reveal that the number of actual job openings may exceed the actual number of qualified professionals who are seeking to become part of the industry.  The increase in employment opportunities can also be attributed to the increase in the number of construction projects.  

Again, in 2004, the annual average income for a construction manager was pegged at around $70,000.  Note that the middle 50% made between $53,000 and $93,000.  The lowest 10% got $45,000 while the highest 10%, more than $125,000.  The figures are definitely encouraging but don’t forget the reality – success comes hard in this field.


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