As a construction manager, you will coordinate and supervise many types of construction projects. These projects often include building various types of structures, including commercial buildings, residential homes and apartment buildings, public and industrial structures. Some construction managers also are charged with building roads and bridges. Construction managers also may be may be called general contractors or project managers.

Effective construction managers need to work with other contractors and personnel to complete projects on budget and on time. They are responsible for scheduling and coordination of all construction processes so that construction projects meet all design specifications. Some construction managers may be in charge of completing several projects at one time, such as building several apartment buildings in the same complex.

For construction projects that are too large to be managed by a single person, a high level construction manager will often hire lower level construction managers to run different areas of the work. For instance, each lower level manager might oversee a certain project phase, such as foundation, electrical or plumbing work.

What Is Construction Management?

There are many duties that construction managers have that are critical to the success of various construction projects. For example, construction management involves most of these critical tasks:

  • Preparing budgets, cost estimates, and timetables for work
  • Explaining and interpreting contracts and other technical information to other professionals
  • Reporting on the amount of work that has been done as well as budget issues to job clients
  • Collaborating with engineers and various other construction workers
  • Selecting subcontractors to finish electrical, plumbing and other work
  • Responding to delays in work, emergencies and other construction challenges
  • Complying with regulatory and legal requirements

To enhance their productivity and efficiency, it is common for construction managers to perform the job of a cost estimator in some projects. They will use planning and cost estimation software to show the best ways to allocate money and time to complete projects. Some construction managers also will use software to set up plans for the most efficient ways to get materials to the work site.

Opportunity

There is plenty of work available for construction managers today, so getting your degree in this field will be a wise investment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS reports that jobs in the field will rise by 11% by 2026. This is faster than average for all US occupations.

It is expected that construction managers will be needed more because the US economy is gathering steam. As of Q2 2017, GDP growth was in the range of 3%. It is expected that growth will be even faster in Q3 once the final numbers are in.

With faster economic growth, it is likely that there will be more residential and commercial construction projects across the country. Both population and business growth in the coming years will lead to more building of houses, apartment buildings, office buildings, retail stores, hospitals, restaurants, schools and more. There also will be more construction projects on roads and bridges as well, and more construction managers will be needed.

These construction projects will all require skilled and experienced construction managers to oversee them to ensure that the projects are properly completed. Also, construction processes are getting more advanced with technology, so there will be more need for oversight by good construction managers.

Job prospects should be best for construction managers who have degrees at the bachelor’s and master’s level in construction management, construction science or even civil engineering.

Also, more managers will be retiring and creating new job opportunities for younger managers coming out of college.

For construction professionals who are looking for the best cities for opportunity, Provo Utah is showing a great deal of promise in 2017. It is the third-largest city in the state, and is a new mecca for creative types and tech workers. It is the home of Brigham Young University, and is only 43 miles south of Salt Lake City.

Industry experts say that Provo is a hotbed of construction growth, and there are many households and startups setting up shop there.

Another hot city for construction is Greeley, Colorado, with a 36% increase in such jobs in the last six years. This is being driven by the strong population growth of Colorado, and the nearby Air Force base.

Generally, construction industry stakeholders say the most job growth will be in major cities in the US South and West, with many cities in the Northeast losing population and construction jobs.

Career Paths

BLS states that construction managers held 403,800 jobs in the US in 2016. The largest employers in this field were:

  • Self employed: 38%
  • Specialty trade contractors: 18%
  • Nonresidential building construction: 15%
  • Residential building construction: 10%
  • Heavy and civil engineering construction: 7%

There also are more than 8 million construction workers in the US. This represents 5.2% of the total workforce.

Some related positions in the construction trade are architects, engineering and architectural managers, civil engineers, cost estimators and landscape architects.

Salaries

The median salary for construction workers in 2016 was $89,300, with the top 10% earning as much as $158,300. The median salary for these workers in the most popular industries were:

  • Heavy and civil engineering construction: $93,900
  • Nonresidential building construction: $91,000
  • Specialty trade contractors: $84,200
  • Residential building construction: $81,400

Some of the cities with the best job opportunities and salaries for construction workers generally are:

  • Cincinnati OH
  • Austin TX
  • Denver CO
  • Tampa FL
  • Charlotte NC
  • Washington DC
  • Baltimore MD

Employers

With a construction management degree, you can expect to find jobs in these companies across the US:

  • Bechtel Corp: The fifth-largest privately-held company in the US.
  • Fluor Corp: Its highest-profile construction project has been the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.
  • Kiewit: TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha is among its highest profile projects in recent years.
  • Turned Construction: This is the company that build Yankee Stadium.
  • CB&I: This big construction company has been heavily involved in disaster relief work in the US and overseas.
  • PCL Construction Enterprises: Restored and expanded the UCLA Pauley Pavilion.

Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree in construction management will provide you with the skills for an entry level position in this popular field. This type of bachelor’s degree will help you to develop the business knowledge and management skills that you need to get started in the construction field. Some of the common subjects covered are construction safety, planning and design. Most who earn this degree can work as a manager, property manager or project manager under a more experienced construction manager. Common subjects are OSHA standards, construction documents, building construction drawing, sustainability, and construction techniques.

Master’s Degree

The purpose of a construction management degree is to educate more experienced construction professionals so that they can understand the array of technical and nontechnical work that is related to effective construction management. These graduate programs will pay special attention to preparing students to work for general contractors, real estate developers, subcontractors, major construction management firms and architectural engineering companies.

Online Degrees

There are online construction management degrees available, such as the online master’s program at Arizona State University. This is a good choice for professionals who are working on a full time basis and need to stay where they are while in school.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements for the Arizona State University program include:

  • GRE scores
  • Current resume
  • Official transcripts
  • Personal statement
  • 0 GPA

Curriculum

Some of the courses you may take in a master’s program in this field are:

  • Building Systems: Materials and Construction
  • Sustainable Design and Construction
  • Building Information Modeling and Integrated Practice
  • Functions of the Constructor
  • Construction Accounting and Finance
  • Project Controls – Budgeting and Estimating
  • Project Controls – Planning and Scheduling
  • Financial Accounting Analysis for Engineering

Financial Assistance

Need help in going to school to earn your construction management degree? Consider the following scholarship opportunities:

  • William Fenton Scholarship
  • Home Builder’s Association of the GT Area Scholarship Endowment
  • Advancement of Construction Technology Scholarship
  • Gilbane Scholarship Program in New Jersey
  • Bechtel Undergraduate Fellowship Award

Certifications

One of the most significant certifications for construction managers is CCM or Certified Construction Manager. This credential is known as the gold standard in the construction management field. If you have the CCM credential, you will have more job possibilities available to you.

Associations

Consider belonging to these associations if you want to grow your career in construction management:

  • Construction Financial Management Association
  • Associated Builders and Contractors
  • American Road & Transportation Builders Association
  • Mechanical Contractors Association of America
  • National Association of Women in Construction
  • American Subcontractors Association

Earning a degree in construction management, whether it is a master’s or bachelor’s, will give you the skills and credentials to join a growing field. As there will be 11% growth for construction management jobs in the future, having this degree will put you in line for many growth-oriented positions with a good salary and promotion potential.

References

Henry Steele
Henry Steele
Henry is Editor-in-Chief of Business Student.com. He is a seasoned business professional who regularly consults with local business's throughout Southern California. Henry pursued his undergrad in Business and Economics at the University of San Diego and gained valuable life changing experience through a unique internship upon graduation.

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