Construction management is a growing field that appeals to recent graduates of management and construction science programs. Managers typically work as independent contractors or as salaried employees for the private sector. They coordinate schedules and supervise construction projects. Managers with more than five years of experience have a working knowledge of cost estimating, plumbing, and electrical engineering; and they have practical experience in construction management. As part of their overall duties, they develop budgets and supervise personnel. They read blueprints and architectural drawings. They ensure compliance with regulatory bodies.
Construction Management Salary Overview
The specific salary for construction managers is determined by a number of factors. Managers must have a bachelor’s degree in the field. They must also have a working knowledge of cost accounting and cost estimating. Employers and private firms prefer construction managers to have at least eight years of experience working in the field.
Other factors come into play. Entry-level salaries for construction managers are based upon five years of direct experience as a cost estimator or as a project manager. Managers who work as independent contractors (vendors) tend to earn more than managers who are salaried employees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average entry-level salary for construction managers is $47,000 and may reach as high as $53,199. The median wage is $79,860. The highest ten percent earn approximately $146,000. Managers who work in residential construction typically earn less annually than managers who work in equipment contracting; residential construction managers earn $74,770 while the latter earn $81,590. In general, construction managers in building equipment contracting to earn slightly more than managers who work in nonresidential building construction.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
How to Earn More as a Construction Manager
Construction managers receive generous salary packages. They also earn handsome wages as independent contractors. They typically have a background in business management and have a degree in business (construction) management; they may also have a degree in construction science or civil engineering. Although they are not required to be certified, as members of industry organizations, they may pursue certification to advance their knowledge in the field and increase integrity and credibility. Managers who work in the private sector and who have an advanced degree in business management are likely to see increased earnings than managers who just have a bachelor’s degree. They are likely to earn more than independent contractors. As more seasoned managers become self-employed and as more managers advance their knowledge in building technology, there will be greater opportunities for construction managers.
Job Description and Outlook
Construction managers are not required to be certified in their field. However, they must have a working knowledge of construction management principles, building science, and licensing and regulatory procedures. In general, managers are typically independent contractors who work as vendors for large construction management companies or construction firms; they may also work for large firms as a salaried employee. They supervise the entire construction project. They coordinate the construction and building of infrastructure, hospitals, residential housing, and school planting. They work closely with other private contractors, electricians, engineers, and plumbers. They coordinate the scheduling and manage the phases of construction. They perform administrative duties that include budgeting for labor, materials, and construction segments; they also hire and manage personnel. They plan and manage all construction tasks that involve installing the sewage system, preparing worksites, and designing roads.
The career outlook is great for recent graduates who desire to enter the field. The demand for construction managers is expected to increase as more managers start their own firms and as more companies expand their construction businesses and require managers to have extensive knowledge in building technology.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Training and Education Requirements
Recent graduates entering the field must have a bachelor’s degree in construction management.
Managers may also complete a degree in construction engineering, civil engineering, construction science, building science. Construction managers must have a working knowledge of masonry work, electrical principles, plumbing concepts, and contract and real estate procedures. Entry-level employees enter the field as assistants, cost estimators, field engineers, project managers, or schedulers; they typically gain knowledge about the construction industry through on-the-job training and field observation.
Construction managers must also be familiar with architectural principles. They must be good communicators as well as leaders and be able to work well with designers, craftsmen, job site supervisors, and project managers. Fluency in the Spanish language is beneficial within the industry.
Construction managers are encouraged to pursue certification through membership organizations. The American Institute of Constructors is an organization that provides certification opportunities through The Constructor Certification Commission. Members may pursue one of two certification options. The Associate Contractor (AC) program is a level one certification program for new entrants into the construction field. The Certified Professional Constructor (CPC) is a level two certification program for students who typically have more than five years of experience in the industry. Students are required to recertify their knowledge through coursework and examinations.
Construction managers may pursue membership in The Construction Management Association of America. The association is also a membership organization. It offers the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) certification program. Students must complete four years of study to be certified. Members of the organization who have at least eight years of experience may apply for the certification without enrolling in the program. Construction managers must recertify in three-year increments to maintain the license.
Construction managers may pursue membership within two organizations: 1) The American Institute of Constructors and 2) The Construction Management Association of America. As membership organizations, they provide resources and corporate partner benefits to construction managers and serve as an advocacy group to the construction industry.
Reasons to Consider a Career in Construction Management
Now that we’ve discussed the average construction management salary and the required training, let’s look at some other reasons to consider this career.
Perhaps one of the most popular reasons for considering this career is the level of decision-making you’ll be involved in. As a construction manager, you’ll be the top person or the go-to on a building project, and this level of power and control is something that employees crave to have. By leading a team of subcontractors, city planners, clients, and sometimes more individuals, you’ll have a big responsibility to make a huge difference.
Part of this decision-making process involves having great organization and selling skills. No matter how well you plan your tasks, not everything always goes to plan which means you’ll have to make important decisions on the spot. This decision-making may even involve persuading the client to spend more money or make alterations. It isn’t always easy to be put on the spot, but a role that some people thrive in.
Important Factors to Know About in Construction Management
There are some important considerations to make if you’d like to work in construction management. The one downside is stress that comes with the job. As a result, you’ll need to be alert and have excellent problem-solving skills or you might become too overwhelmed with your projects. Having an excellent balance is another important factor as you’ll constantly be working on an array of tasks and need to put an equal amount of attention into each one. This can be tricky to keep your mind focused when you have to think about 10 things at one time.
Working on a construction site also imposes danger and there are many safety regulations and standards to adhere to. Therefore, you’ll need to know what areas are safe to enter the work zone and what areas you should avoid. There are many unpredictable circumstances you’ll need to consider, such as delays, weather issues and more, that can lead to stress on the site.
Finally, another disadvantage of this role is frequently having to travel away from home to concentrate on construction projects. If you have a family, be prepared to spend some weekends away in other cities, which can have an impact on your personal life. Depending on the company you’re worked for and their requirements, you may spend some time working with oversea operations.
Transitioning into a Different Career
If you currently are a construction manager or maybe wish to weigh up your career options, this line of work can lead into many other opportunities. Below, we’ve listed the most common career transitions from the skills you’ve built as a construction manager.
Working as the go-to worker on a site means handling projects and creating a methodical approach and planning ahead. You’ll need to monitor the process and make adjustments accordingly, and always be open to suggestions. If you like the responsibility and can handle the pressure of working in a confined environment, project management might be a great alternative for you. Thankfully, project management isn’t a restricted field and you can be the head of projects in an array of industries.
This is another popular career path for construction managers since it’s in a similar field but evoking different challenges and skills. This is a great role if you enjoy working with employees and being an integral part of their employment status. You have the option of working for another company or developing your own business to train construction workers. Beginning your own business might be challenging as you’ll need money to purchase an office and buy equipment. However, the building trade is a successful business in the United States and a great industry to get involved in.
If you’ve worked on construction sites for several years, you’ll have developed a solid understanding of environmental issues and how to control and protect the environment. In this position, your main duties will be to offer expert advice to individuals and businesses about the environmental impacts their materials could cause. As an environmental consultant, you’ll be responsible for measuring, assessing and creating solutions, when applicable.
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