How To Become A Construction Manager

Gina L | August 24, 2009

Being a strong leader, a problem solver, and great at planning are perfect skills for a career in construction management. Couple that with the right amount of education and some experience and you have a fulfilling career ahead of you. With construction sites large and small popping up all over the nation, now is a great time to think about a career in this field.

How do I become a construction manager?
To become a construction manager, you must have excellent leadership skills, a college degree, and some work experience. Construction managers typically have bachelor’s degrees in construction science, construction management, building science, or civil engineering. Those interested in a career in construction management can also attend courses and certificate programs at local community colleges. The latest technological advancements in construction have resulted in employers desiring post-secondary education.

Acquiring practical work experience is essential for this field. Work experience is available through apprenticeships, internships, jobs as a construction worker, including carpentry and masonry, and through work in a related field. Having this experience could potentially help construction workers advance to construction managers.

There are more than 100 colleges and universities offering bachelor’s degree programs in construction management, and about 60 colleges and universities offering master’s degree programs in construction management or construction science. Courses for a bachelor’s degree program usually cover project control and development to information technology and everything in between. All of the topics relate to everything that encompasses working and/or managing a construction site or project.

Bachelor’s degree holders don’t always have a degree related to construction when they seek to obtain a master’s degree in construction management or construction science. A variety of undergraduate degrees can serve as a good base for advanced degree programs in construction. In addition to formal education, industry associations offer educational and training programs to complement your construction degree.

Future construction managers should have exceptional oral and written communication skills and the ability to work with many personalities and all types of people. Knowing a foreign language is also becoming increasingly important in the construction field.

What will I learn in construction manager school?
A degree in construction management prepares students for managing all types of construction projects, from commercial buildings to industrial buildings. Students will learn how to adhere to a construction budget, estimating, scheduling, as well as project management and administration.

Possible courses may include intro to architectural engineering and construction management, information to building information modeling, technical composition, building construction materials, construction estimating, specifications and contracts, surveying, construction scheduling, construction equipment management, architectural design, architectural history, and ethics of professional managers and engineers. These courses will be taken along with general education requirements, electives, and a host of science and mathematics courses. Together these courses will provide a comprehensive understanding of what will be expected of you when you become a construction manager.

You will definitely receive a thorough education in what it will take to be a future construction manager. To ensure that you choose the program that is right for you, it is helpful to research the many colleges and universities offering degree programs in construction throughout the country.

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