How to become a Construction Manager: Your Guide
Construction managers are professionals responsible for overseeing construction projects from inception to completion.
They manage everything from the planning phase to the execution phase and ensure that construction projects are completed within the allotted time frame and budget.
If you're interested in becoming a construction manager, there are several steps you can take to achieve your goal.
In this guide, we'll outline the steps you can take to become a construction manager, including education, experience, and certification.
Here are the steps you can follow to become a Construction Manager:
Steps to Become a Construction Manager
Step 1: Obtain a Degree in Construction Management
The first step in becoming a construction manager is to obtain a degree in construction management or a related field. A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for most construction management positions, and many employers prefer candidates with a master's degree in construction management or a related field.
Construction management programs typically cover construction technology, project management, building codes and regulations, construction materials, and safety standards. These programs may also include business, finance, and leadership courses, as construction managers must have substantial business and management skills to succeed.
Researching and choosing a reputable construction management program that the Accreditation Board accredits for Engineering and Technology (ABET), or the American Council for Construction Education (ACCE) is essential. These organisations ensure that construction management programs meet rigorous academic standards and prepare students for careers in the construction industry.
Step 2: Gain Experience in the Construction Industry
While a degree in construction management is a great foundation, gaining hands-on experience in the construction industry is essential to become a successful construction manager. Many construction management programs require students to complete internships or co-op programs to gain real-world experience in the field. If your schedule doesn't require training, it's a good idea to seek opportunities to gain construction industry experience while you're still in school.
Many different career paths within the construction industry can provide valuable experience for aspiring construction managers. Some common entry-level positions include:
- Assistant Project Manager
- Construction Estimator
- Construction Supervisor
- Field Engineer
- Project Engineer
Working in one of these positions will provide valuable experience in construction project management, budgeting, scheduling, and communication with stakeholders.
Step 3: Obtain Professional Certification
While not required, obtaining professional certification can demonstrate your expertise and dedication to the construction industry. The Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) offers the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) credential, widely recognised as a mark of excellence in construction management.
To obtain the CCM credential, you must meet specific education and experience requirements and pass a comprehensive exam that tests your knowledge of construction management principles and practices. Other professional organisations, such as the Project Management Institute (PMI), also offer certifications that can benefit construction managers.
Step 4: Develop Leadership and Communication Skills
Successful construction managers must have strong leadership and communication skills to manage projects effectively and collaborate with stakeholders. As a construction manager, you'll lead and motivate a team of construction professionals, communicate with clients and contractors, and resolve conflicts during construction.
Consider taking courses or workshops in these areas to develop your leadership and communication skills. You can also seek opportunities to lead projects or volunteer in leadership roles to gain hands-on experience.
Step 5: Stay Up-to-Date on Industry Trends and Regulations
The construction industry constantly evolves, and construction managers must stay current on the latest industry trends and regulations. Attending industry conferences, reading industry publications, and participating in professional organisations can help you stay informed and connected to the latest developments in the construction industry.
Some key areas to focus on include:
- Building codes and regulations
- Green building practices
- Safety standards and protocols
- Emerging technologies in construction
- Project management methodologies and software
Staying up-to-date on these trends and regulations will help you stay ahead of the curve and ensure that your construction projects are efficient, safe, and sustainable.
Step 6: Build a Professional Network
Building a professional network can be a valuable asset in the construction industry. Networking can help you connect with other construction professionals, learn about job opportunities, and gain valuable insights into the industry.
There are several ways to build a professional network in the construction industry, including:
- Joining professional organisations: Joining professional organisations such as the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), or the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) can provide opportunities to network with other professionals in the industry.
- Attending industry events: Attending industry events such as conferences, trade shows, and seminars can provide opportunities to meet and network with other construction professionals.
- Connecting on social media: Social media platforms such as LinkedIn can be a valuable tool for building a professional network and connecting with other construction professionals.
Step 7: Seek Out Career Opportunities
Once you've obtained a degree in construction management, gained experience in the construction industry, and received professional certification, it's time to seek career opportunities. Construction managers can work for various employers, including construction firms, engineering firms, and government agencies.
Some standard job titles for construction managers include:
- Project Manager
- Construction Manager
- Site Manager
- Facilities Manager
When applying for construction management positions, tailor your resume and cover letter to the specific job you're applying for.
Highlight your relevant experience, certifications, and leadership skills, and emphasise your ability to manage construction projects from start to finish.
Construction managers require education, experience, certification, and leadership skills.
By obtaining a degree in construction management, gaining hands-on experience in the construction industry, obtaining professional certification, and developing strong leadership and communication skills, you can position yourself for a successful career as a construction manager.
It's essential to stay up-to-date on industry trends and regulations and build a professional network to stay connected to the latest developments in the industry.
With dedication and hard work, you can achieve your goal of becoming a construction manager and help bring construction projects to life.