Construction Managers: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more

Education Required
Although there are various ways to enter this occupation, it is becoming increasingly important for construction managers to have a bachelor’s degree in construction science, construction management, architecture, or engineering. As construction processes become more complex, employers are placing greater importance on specialized education.
Training Required
New construction managers are typically hired as assistants and work under the guidance of an experienced manager. This training period may last several months to several years, depending on the firm.
Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 11% (Faster than average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
Licenses/Certifications
Although not required, certification is valuable because it can demonstrate that a person has gained knowledge and experience.
Median pay: How much do Construction Managers make?
$89,300 Annual Salary
$42.93 per hour

Construction managers plan, coordinate, budget, and supervise construction projects from start to finish.

What do Construction Managers do?

Construction managers typically do the following:

  • Prepare cost estimates, budgets, and work timetables
  • Interpret and explain contracts and technical information to other professionals
  • Report work progress and budget matters to clients
  • Collaborate with architects, engineers, and other construction specialists
  • Select subcontractors and schedule and coordinate their activities
  • Respond to work delays, emergencies, and other problems
  • Comply with legal requirements, building and safety codes, and other regulations

Construction managers, often called general contractors or project managers, coordinate and supervise a wide variety of projects, including the building of all types of public, residential, commercial, and industrial structures, as well as roads, memorials, and bridges. Either a general contractor or a construction manager oversees the construction phase of a project, but a construction manager may also consult with the client during the design phase to help refine construction plans and control costs.

Construction managers oversee specialized contractors and other personnel. They schedule and coordinate all construction processes so that projects meet design specifications. They ensure that projects are completed on time and within budget. Some construction managers may be responsible for several projects at once—for example, the construction of multiple apartment buildings.

Construction managers work closely with other building specialists, such as architects, civil engineers, and a variety of trade workers, including stonemasons, electricians, and carpenters. Projects may require specialists in everything from structural steel and painting to landscaping, paving roads, and excavating sites. Depending on the project, construction managers may interact with lawyers and local government officials. For example, when working on city-owned property or municipal buildings, construction managers sometimes confer with city inspectors to ensure that all regulations are met.

For projects too large to be managed by one person, such as office buildings and industrial complexes, a top-level construction manager hires other construction managers to be in charge of different aspects of the project. For example, each construction manager would oversee a specific phase of the project, such as structural foundation, plumbing, or electrical work, and choose subcontractors to complete it. The top-level construction manager would then collaborate and coordinate with the other construction managers.

To maximize efficiency and productivity, construction managers often perform the tasks of a cost estimator. They use specialized cost-estimating and planning software to show how to allocate time and money in order to complete their projects. Many construction managers also use software to plan the best way to get materials to the building site.

Careers for Construction Managers

  • Construction coordinators
  • Construction superintendents
  • Constructors
  • Developers
  • General contractors
  • Managers
  • Masonry contractor administrators
  • Project managers
  • Superintendents, general

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