Construction Managers Career

Here is an extensive career guide that elaborates on the path for careers for a construction manager, the job outlook, salaries, qualifications required and much more.

Updated by Rakshitha.N on 25th August 2020

What do they do: Construction managers are responsible for planning, managing, overseeing, budgeting, coordinating, and completing the construction projects assigned by allocating work to subcontractors, meeting deadlines and estimating the cost to meet client requirements. 

Working environment: Construction managers usually work indoors as well as outdoors where they plan and design with teams at the office and oversee, manage the work progress on the construction sites. Also, they work in a 40 hour per week schedule and consult various specialists to improvise their work. 

How to become: To become a construction manager, you need to pursue a bachelor’s degree in construction management, building science, architecture, or any other construction-centered major. Upon completing education, it is necessary to gain experience and land on a job. Becoming certified will help in advancing your career as well as handling high-level construction projects. 

Salary offered: In 2020, the median yearly salary offered to construction managers is about $112,251 and usually ranges between $97,073 and $128,259.

Career Outlook: The job growth of construction managers as estimated by BLS is about 10 percent during the period of 2018 to 2028 which is faster than the growth rate of other jobs.

Similar careers: By completing education and gaining experience, you become a qualified individual and look for various potential alternative careers based on your education, job growth, interests, goals, and others. 

Top Construction Manager Jobs

Becoming a construction manager may be simple, but landing on a job is competitive. Among the industries, the states that pay the highest to construction managers are,

  • New Jersey: 6,140 employed construction managers with an average yearly salary of $145,400.

  • Rhode Island: 310 employed construction managers with an average yearly salary of $132,750 per year.

  • New York: 10,970 employed construction managers with an average yearly salary of $131,950 per year.

  • Delaware: 580 employed construction managers with an average yearly salary of $124,000 per year.

  • California: 32,420 employed construction managers with an average yearly salary of $117,770 per year.

What do Construction Managers Do?

Construction managers are skilled professionals who are also referred to as general contractors or project managers perform a wide range of duties such as coordinating, supervising, planning, budgeting and maintaining the construction projects which include all types of buildings, industrial structures, infrastructures such as roads, dams, memorials, and bridges. 

Also, they monitor the work done by specialized contractors and other personnel to ensure the client’s requirements are implemented and met with a process of refining. The roles and responsibilities also include,

  • Construction managers work towards preparing a budget for the construction project to manage from start to end.

  • Estimate the cost and allocate resources and tasks to contractors and other personnel

  • Meet clients and discuss their requirements and need to transform into a project

  • Negotiate with all the project-related cost to manage the budget allocated

  • Explain and address all the contract related technical information to clients and professionals.

  • Meet the  legal requirements, building and safety codes, and other regulations

  • Work closely with various professionals such as architects, engineers, and other construction specialists to come up with best projects

  • Report the progress of work and updates about the project to clients.

  • Select suitable subcontractors and schedules to coordinate their activities

  • Ensure the construction team uses standardized methods and work procedures for building the projects

  • Collaborate with civil engineers, stonemasons, electricians, carpenters to get the focused results. 

  • Overseeing the work to maximize efficiency and productivity and directly cutting down a number of costs incurred. 

For instance, when you are working on commercial or city-owned property, then the construction manager is responsible for overseeing the project in the structural foundation, plumbing, or electrical work by choosing subcontractors. However, top-level construction managers are responsible for collaborating and coordinating with various other construction specialists and managers. 

Working Conditions of Construction Managers

Construction managers work indoors in office settings and also outdoors where the project is undertaken and also to meet clients at various locations. The job also calls for relocation as most projects may require to be managed outside your state or country. Some construction managers may involve in handling multiple projects simultaneously where you must travel to various locations frequently. The working conditions may also include,

  • Have a high level of social interaction with client, coworkers, laborers, owners, trade contractors, architects, and other design professionals

  • Work as a part of a team usually and can also perform individual tasks

  • Communicate through emails, phone calls, in-person discussions on a daily basis.

  • Make a record of the work in progress and update it to top-level managers through memos and other media.

  • Ensure accuracy and are responsible for the possible desired outcomes

  • Exposed to noisy, distracting, and uncomfortable situations at the construction sites.

  • May also need to deal with angry, harsh, and rude clients regarding work issues.

  • Wear protective attire such as hard hats, gloves, coat, and others.

  • Exposed to the contaminated and hazardous environment 

  • Can face physical and mental stress due to budget issues and long working shifts to complete the project

  • Work in a fixed schedule of 40 hours a week to meet the deadlines.

  • Can extend the work shift by working weekends, nights, holidays, and other occasions.

  • May live temporarily in job sites in vans and away from home. 

Today, construction managers hold jobs to about 471,800 and the largest employers who hire are,

  • Self-employed workers: 40%

  • Specialty trade contractors: 17%

  • Nonresidential building construction: 15%

  • Residential building construction: 9%

  • Heavy and civil engineering construction: 8%

How to Become a Construction Manager?

Construction managers recover a bachelor's degree in construction management or a related field which gives you the skills to address large-scale building projects. Employers usually prefer candidates who are experienced in the construction field. Also gaining certification will give you additional expertise to become a successful construction manager.

Once you land on a job, you can continue education by pursuing a master's degree to further specialize and gain more insights on concepts that give you a chance to work in high-level projects.

Educational requirements for Construction Managers

There are a number of career paths to become a construction manager, earning a bachelor’s degree is the first step. Although employers prefer candidates who have experience in the field and become certified.

A bachelor’s degree in construction management, construction science, architecture, business management, civil engineering, or a related field. The 4 years program gives a detailed understanding of various courses such as project control and management, design, construction methods and materials, cost estimation, building codes and standards, and contract administration.

Aan associate’s degree can also be pursued and gaining experience helps in landing on an entry-level job. Also, you could be in charge of smaller construction projects. 

After landing on a job, you could still look forward to continuing education by choosing an advanced degree such as masters which offers coursework in negotiation and dispute resolution, construction safety management, business, operations, and legal aspects of construction projects.

Licenses and Certifications for Construction Managers

To advance your career, it is necessary to gain experience after completing education. The experience you gain in the fieldwork helps in getting a firm hold on the theoretical concepts and may last for several months to several years. You could gain experience through internships, on-the-job training, cooperative education programs that may provide extensive knowledge on handling construction projects.

Certification: Becoming certified is an optional step and getting certification will add more value to your profile and demonstrate your expertise in the subject and knowledge. 

Although not required, certification is valuable because it can demonstrate that a person has gained knowledge and experience. There are certain certifications you can earn such as,

  • Certified Construction Manager (CCM): The Construction Management Association of America offers this certification which helps in gaining experience on covers potential concepts such as legal issues, the allocation of risk, and other topics related to construction management necessary to deliver quality projects.

  • Associate Constructor Certification: The certification is awarded by The American Institute of Constructorshaas divisions such as Associate Constructor (AC) and Certified Professional Constructor (CPC) designations where you are eligible for this after completing a 4-year education program and clearing construction exams.

In addition to certification, some states may also require licenses for construction managers based on state licensing boards.

Stand Out Skills for Construction Managers

As a construction manager, caliber and academic excellence are higher. The professionals are experienced in programs such as internships. However, there are additional skills required to stand out. They are,

Analytical skills: Construction managers must carefully analyze the client's needs and the budget to plan the project. With proper analytical skills, they schedule the operations to be completed before the deadline while managing time effectively. You must also be engaged in solving problems and estimate the cost, time, labor required to carry out the functions.

Decision-Making Skills: Making the correct choice plays an important role in the completion of the project. Assigning the specific tasks to the workforce, choosing the subcontractors the tasks helps in achieving progress.

Initiative: some constructions willingly become self-employed where they must present skills and initiate to make contacts in order to grow their business. They often initiate to take up responsibility and represent their business on the projects handled, the services provided in order to attract the clients.

Communication: communication is key in the profession that helps in conveying the ideas and managing the projects by assigning tasks clearly to the laborers. Explaining the complex information and technical details to the clients helps you gain their confidence. 

Time-management skills: As a construction manager, you must ensure that the projects are completed on time. Hence the events must be scheduled well during the planning phase. This helps in client satisfaction and helps in better progress of career.

Top University Programs for Construction Managers

  • Columbia University in the City of New York

  • Clemson University

  • New York University

  • University of Southern California

  • Stevens Institute of Technology

  • Arizona State University- Tempe

  • Brigham Young University- Provo

  • Louisiana State University and Agriculture & Mechanical College

Construction Managers Salary

In 2020, the average salary offered to Construction Managers in the United States is about  $112,251 and usually ranges between $97,073 and $128,259. An entry-level job can offer an initial wage of about $56,140 annually. The salary also depends on several factors such as education, certifications, specialization, type of job role, skills, and years of experience. Breaking down the salary offered,

  • 10th percentile: $83,254

  • 25th percentile: $97,073

  • 50th percentile (median): $112,251

  • 75th percentile: $128,259

  • 90th percentile: $142,833

To elaborate, the top industries with Construction managers and the median wage paid by them are listed below,

  • Heavy and civil engineering construction: $98,870

  • Nonresidential building construction: $97,100

  • Specialty trade contractors: $92,710

  • Residential building construction: $85,800

Depending on your skills, performance, and your readiness to work in shifts and off schedule, your salary can be increased. The hourly wage of construction managers is about $45. 

Job Growth of Construction Managers

According to the bureau of labor statistics, the job growth of construction managers is projected to be about 10 percent during the period of 2018 to 2028 which is faster than the average of all occupations. 

Currently, there are about 471,800 construction managers employed and according to the growth rate, there will be an increase of up to 518,000 by the end of 2028. This means there will be additional opportunities for 46,200 being created in the 10 year period. 

The role of construction managers is major at almost all construction activities, the expanding businesses,  hospitals, schools, restaurants, residences, office buildings increase demand for construction managers to work for them. Also, the improvement of national infrastructures such as roads, bridges, and sewer pipe systems leads to the employment growth of this profile. 

Additionally, the growth of retrofitting buildings requires more energy-efficient systems, renovation, and upgrading of buildings to create job opportunities for construction projects.

Related Careers for Construction Managers

When you aim at becoming a construction manager, you must also be aware of career concentrations available to you. Here are few you can choose,


An architect is a professional who is involved in designing and planning the construction of the building, their duties are to work on the designing of the building and the spaces surrounding the building that can be utilized by humans. You are required to earn a bachelor's degree and the average earning is about $79,380.

Engineering manager:

Engineering managers play the role of planning, overseeing, continuously assessing the project to complete within the deadline. This also includes the estimation of cost, budget, and coordinating the activities of the project. The projects may vary in the field of IT, Industrial, construction, and others. The requirements for the job is to have a bachelor's degree and the salary offered is about $140,760 per annum.

Civil engineers:

Civil engineers are professionals who design, construct, maintain the built environment which includes the roads, buildings, airports, pipelines, dams, canals, and other structures. This mainly concentrates on the infrastructure of the system. The minimum requirement is to earn a bachelor's degree and the median salary earned is about $86,640 annually.

Cost estimators:

Cost estimators are specialized in the analysis of information and estimate the time, labor, cost, and materials required to manufacture a product or a service. They are mainly focused on providing an overview of the cost that could be spent on producing the product. The bachelor's degree is required and the average earning could be about $64,040 per year.

Landscape architect:

The landscape architects are professionals who are experts in designing outdoor spaces, landmarks, and structures to achieve aesthetic outcomes and are environment friendly. You're required to earn a bachelor's degree to land on the job and the average salary offered for this job is about $68,230 per year.