Construction Manager: What They Do, How to Become One, Resources

In 2018 the demand for Construction Managers in the U.S. sat at roughly 470,000 jobs annually. With an expected growth rate of roughly 11.1% annually, by 2028 it is expected that more than 500,000 jobs will be available for Construction Managers.

This makes the prospect of becoming a Construction Manager desirable amongst the youth and those looking to enter the field of construction or construction management.

What is a Construction Manager?

A Construction Manager is similar to a Project Manager. They are the professionals responsible for architecting and engineering complete building projects. Their responsibility is to ensure the construction of these buildings from the planning stages to the final finishing stage.

The Construction Manager can be involved in regulatory activities as well, ensuring that all construction is being performed according to local and state regulation of that construction project.

Consider a Construction Manager the foreman or facilitator of assurance of work. They are quality control as well as directors who make sure construction projects are completed a safe, timely fashion.

How to Become a Construction Manager

Becoming a Construction Manager requires a Bachelor’s degree in Construction Management, which is a four-year degree. Additionally, 5 years or more of previous construction site management will be required for you to seek employment for this job title.

The average cost for receiving a degree in Construction Management, in the U.S., can be roughly $28,000 per yer to $116,000 per year on average. This will vary depending on the type of university of college you decide to attend.

Some universities and institutions offer a two-year program for Construction Management. Though it is recommended by Construction Management professionals to receive the complete four-year program.

Alternative Jobs to Becoming a Construction Manager

If you decide you’d like to seek alternative jobs to Construction Management, the list won’t be very long. Your best alternative is to become a Project Manager with a construction focus. Or to become a construction worker with the opportunity of learning what a Construction Manager’s role is on the job site by osmosis.

Construction Manager Certifications

Construction Managers who decide to certify themselves and advance their knowledge of construction are often paid more annually as well as sought after more by employers. Below is the list of certifications you may want to seek as a future or current Construction Manager.

  • American Concrete Institute Certification
  • American Institute of Constructors Certification
  • Certified Construction Manager
  • National Association of Corrosion Engineers Certification
  • National Center for Construction Education and Research Certification
  • National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies Certification
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration Certification

Construction Manager Duties or Responsibilities

  • Meets with engineers, architects and contractors regarding project objectives and progress.
  • Manages and motivates all site foremen and construction teams.
  • Ensures all equipment needed for construction is available on site.
  • Ensures budgeting for contractors, materials and equipment aren’t exceeded.
  • Ensures the construction process starts and ends on time, and ensuring daily and weekly deadlines are met.
  • Ensures compliance with health, safety and all other state or local regulations.
  • Issuing SI’s and VO’s to project management.

What is it Like to Be a Construction Manager?

wisemd123 • Source: Reddit • February 24, 2016

Demand will vary but overall construction management is a pretty stable profession. Office people are laid off much less often than tradespeople when things slow down, because you still need office staff to close out old jobs and pursue new work.

The pay is decent - it’s better than most nontechnical fields, but nowhere near as high as jobs in tech or finance. At a large (national) CM firm in a major metro area, you can expect to make $60-65k at the entry-level, $110 - $150k at the project manager level (which you can reach by your late 20s or early 30s, salary will rise with experience), and over $200k if you reach the executive level. These are very rough estimates that will be impacted by your company and location. If you’re impatient and want to advance quickly in your profession, CM may not be for you - you likely won’t have any influence at the corporate level until your 40s.

As far as the job itself, you will like it if you like construction. Having a tangible body of work is the most frequently cited reason for enjoying construction. You have to wake up early and the hours can be long (50-60 hours/week), but not overly so. It can be stressful depending on your personality and the team around you - there will be pressure to meet deadlines and stay under budget, but it can also be very enjoyable if the people around you don’t take themselves too seriously.

Do not pursue this career path if you don’t like people - you will work with a wide-ranging assortment of them, from laborers to execs, and you need to be able to get along with and get what’s needed out of all of them. You won’t sit in an office all day since you will need to walk the field frequently, but I’m not going to lie - it’s still an office job, and 80+% of your time will be spent in meetings, making phone calls, sending emails, or doing something else at your computer. It’s all about coordination - at the end of the day your job is to make sure that everything and everyone shows up in the right place at the right time, so it’s a bit like conducting a large orchestra.

Construction Manager FAQ’s

What is the demand for Construction Managers in the U.S.?

In 2018 the demand for Construction Managers in the U.S. sat at roughly 470,000 jobs annually. With an expected growth rate of roughly 11.1% annually, by 2028 it is expected that more than 500,000 jobs.

Is a Construction Manager a good career?

Construction in the U.S. has never halted. From the construction of commercial property to the construction of residential development. A career in Construction Management is good for those who feel comfortable or passionate about construction as a career and seek to make higher wages.

Is Construction Management a stressful job or career?

A major part of the stress of Construction Management is related to the verbal communication stress you may be presented with. From dealing with local regulators to handling construction site contractors. You are a construction director, which requires great people skills and ability to solve problems.

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur,, SparkHire, and many more.


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