Is becoming a construction manager right for me?

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What do construction managers do?
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How to become a Construction Manager

To become a construction manager, several steps are typically involved. Here is a detailed outline of the process:

  • Education: Obtain a Bachelor's Degree in Construction Management, Civil Engineering, or a related field. These programs provide a solid foundation in construction principles, project management, building codes, construction methods, and other relevant subjects. Some universities and colleges also offer Master's Degrees in Construction Management or related disciplines, which can provide a more in-depth understanding of the field and potentially enhance career prospects.
  • Gain Work Experience: While not always required, gaining practical work experience in the construction industry can be highly beneficial. Seek internships or entry-level positions with construction companies, contractors, or project management firms to gain hands-on experience. This allows you to familiarize yourself with construction processes, learn from experienced professionals, and develop valuable skills in project coordination, communication, and problem-solving.
  • Acquire Construction Knowledge: Construction managers need a strong understanding of construction practices, methods, and materials. Continuously expand your knowledge by reading industry publications, attending seminars, and staying up to date with construction trends, regulations, and technologies. This knowledge will help you effectively plan, manage, and coordinate construction projects.
  • Develop Project Management Skills: Construction managers must possess excellent project management skills. This includes the ability to plan and schedule projects, manage resources, communicate effectively, and handle budgets. Consider pursuing certifications in project management, such as the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). These certifications validate your project management expertise and enhance your professional credentials.
  • Build a Professional Network: Networking plays a vital role in the construction industry. Attend industry events, join professional organizations such as the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) or the Associated General Contractors (AGC), and actively engage with other professionals in the field. Networking can help you discover job opportunities, learn from experienced individuals, and build relationships that may lead to future collaborations or advancements in your career.
  • Obtain Professional Certification: Although not mandatory, obtaining professional certifications can demonstrate your competence and dedication as a construction manager (see below).
  • Seek Career Advancement Opportunities: As you gain experience and expertise, look for opportunities to advance your career. This may involve taking on larger projects, managing teams, or pursuing managerial positions within construction companies or project management firms. Consider pursuing advanced education, such as a master's degree or specialized training in areas such as sustainable construction, project finance, or risk management, to further enhance your skills and open up additional career opportunities.

There are several certifications available for construction managers that can enhance their professional credentials and demonstrate their expertise. Here are some notable certifications:

  • Certified Construction Manager (CCM): Offered by the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA), the CCM certification is widely recognized and signifies a high level of knowledge and experience in construction management. It requires a combination of education, experience, and passing a comprehensive examination.
  • Project Management Professional (PMP): Although not specific to construction management, the PMP certification, offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI), is highly valued in the industry. It demonstrates proficiency in project management principles, including scope, time, cost, quality, risk, and procurement management.
  • Associate Constructor (AC) and Certified Professional Constructor (CPC): Offered by the American Institute of Constructors (AIC), these certifications assess the knowledge and skills of construction professionals. The AC certification is an entry-level designation, while the CPC certification is for experienced professionals. Both certifications require a combination of education, experience, and passing an examination.
  • Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Accreditation: Offered by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED accreditation demonstrates knowledge of sustainable construction practices. It focuses on green building design, construction, and operations and can be valuable for construction managers involved in environmentally friendly and energy-efficient projects.
  • Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC): This certification, offered by the EnviroCert International, Inc., is specifically for professionals involved in erosion and sediment control. It validates expertise in preventing soil erosion, managing stormwater runoff, and implementing effective erosion control measures.
  • Construction Risk and Insurance Specialist (CRIS): This certification, offered by the International Risk Management Institute (IRMI), focuses on construction risk management and insurance. It provides in-depth knowledge of risk management strategies, insurance coverage, and legal considerations specific to the construction industry.