Comprehensive Guide: How To Become a Construction Manager

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 31 October 2022 | Published 27 September 2021

Updated 31 October 2022

Published 27 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Construction managers are professionals in charge of construction projects who oversee the work from start to finish. Their duties may include planning, preparing budgets and coordinating with other teams. If you are interested in this career, you may benefit greatly from knowing more about what the job role entails. In this article, we look at how to become a construction manager, what duties and responsibilities they have and the skills and qualifications they need to perform well in their role.

How To Become A Construction Manager

Here are some steps you can follow to become a construction manager:

1. Graduate from higher secondary school

To become a construction manager, you may need to graduate higher secondary school with a focus on science subjects. This can provide a good knowledge base for you to pursue your undergraduate studies. Since construction managers require a good grasp over building plans, designs, finance, management and accounting, having the relevant educational background can be beneficial.

2. Earn a bachelor's degree

After graduating from higher secondary school, you can apply for undergraduate courses. A bachelor's degree in engineering, construction science, construction management or architecture may be ideal for a career as a construction manager. The program may include in depth study of subjects like construction techniques, material requirements, cost estimation, building bye-laws and standards, contract administration, project control and project management. You can also opt for additional courses in mathematics or statistics. These are the most common undergraduate degrees that construction managers hold:

  • B.Tech (Bachelor of Technology) in Civil Engineering

  • BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) in Project Management

Related: 13 Civil Engineering Interview Questions and Sample Answers

3. Gain relevant work experience

After completing your undergraduate education, you can seek employment in construction firms. Initially, you may be employed as an assistant and may work under the guidance of experienced managers. During this training period, you get the opportunity to gain valuable experience and relevant skills. The training period can last a number of months to a few years, after which you can advance to senior positions. To become a recognised construction manager, practical construction management and administrative skills are very important.

Related: How To Write Work Experience on Your CV

4. Pursue certifications

Although certifications are not an absolute requirement, it may be an advantageous addition to your experience and education. Certifications indicate that you have all the necessary theoretical skills to become a successful construction manager. Some popular certifications to pursue are CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) and MPM (Master Project Manager). You may have to pass a technical exam to be eligible for the certificate. It covers a number of areas beneficial for a construction manager like legal regulations, professional duties, risk assessment and budget allocation.

Related: How To List Certifications on a Resume (With Examples)

5. Consider pursuing a master's degree

A master's degree, though not mandatory, can help you gain more insight into crucial aspects of the job and increase your chances of working on high-budget projects. Reputed companies may prefer candidates with a master's degree in construction management. You can either choose to pursue M.Tech (Master of Technology) in Structural Engineering, M.Tech in Civil Engineering or an MBA (Master of Business Administration) in Construction Management.

Related: How To Share Your Education Background

What Does A Construction Manager Do?

A construction manager oversees all aspects related to a construction project, from early planning to completion. They also ensure that the project costs stay within pre-determined budgets. As the infrastructure development industry expands, the demand for construction manager jobs may also increase. Construction processes evolve at a rapid rate with improvements in technology. Hence, the service of professionals with specialised expertise is crucial. Some tasks that a construction manager may perform include:

  • Negotiating project-related expenses

  • Ensuring that a construction team uses the appropriate procedures and methods while working

  • Reporting all project-related developments to clients and keeping them updated on the work progress

  • Communicating with all building and construction professionals, such as engineers and architects, to make sure everyone performs well as a team and focuses on the final result

  • Coordinating all on-site activities and personnel

  • Hiring and training required workers and subcontractors

  • Ensuring the project's compliance with legal requirements, such as safety codes and environmental regulations

Related: What Is the Role of a Manager?

What Qualifications Do Construction Managers Require?

If you want to become a construction manager, consider pursuing these qualifications:

Education

Becoming a construction manager typically involves earning a bachelor's degree in construction science, construction management, engineering or architecture. Graduates can gain knowledge in vital aspects of construction management, including developing and controlling a building project, construction methods, relevant material sciences, design, estimation, costing and building codes.

Alternatively, many colleges offer two-year associate's degree programs in construction management and construction technology. If you want to work exclusively on small projects, you may be able to become a construction manager with an associate's degree and a few years of relevant experience. You can also choose to pursue a master's degree in construction management if you want to advance your career further.

Training

An aspiring construction manager may typically start their career as an assistant for an experienced construction manager. By working under the guidance of an experienced professional for several years, you may get a better understanding of all aspects involved in construction management. A few years of work experience is almost always required to advance to an administrative role.

Certifications

Certifications enable construction professionals to prove their qualifications to current and future employers. Although typically not required, certifications act as further proof to the client that managers have the skills, knowledge and experience required to handle a major construction project. In a recruitment situation, certifications can give you a competitive edge over other candidates.

What Skills Do Construction Managers Require?

A construction manager may have a solid combination of hard and soft skills to successfully perform in their job role. The most important skills include:

  • Technical skills: A successful construction manager needs to be familiar with all the methods, materials and technologies involved in each construction project. Due to their regular interaction with architects and legal professionals, a construction manager can also benefit from developing the capacity to understand legal documents and technical drawings.

  • Analytical skills: As a construction manager, you may develop complex plans and strategies for completing projects. This requires an analytical mind that can quickly and efficiently assess a situation and come up with cost-effective and timely solutions.

  • Communication skills: The role of the construction manager involves daily communication with workers, clients, architects, engineers and other involved parties. Strong communication skills are essential to keep a team of professionals well-informed, synchronised and focused.

  • Decision-making process: Construction managers may need to make decisions that can affect different aspects of a project. They may also have to hire the right personnel and ensure that the project is progressing on time.

  • Business intelligence: Managing a construction project is similar to running a business. The manager needs to hire the right people for each job, negotiate contracts and maintain good relationships with contractors, clients and city officials.

  • Time management skills: Building projects may have strict deadlines that construction teams need to adhere to. The construction manager may have to ensure that all these deadlines are met, as starting work on one phase typically requires the team to finish other phases of the project first.

  • Leadership qualities: Construction managers may often need to delegate tasks to other members and ensure that the work progresses according to schedule. Hence, good leadership skills are required to effectively manage multiple functions and the teams working under them.

Related: Technical Skills: Definitions and Examples

How Much Do Construction Managers Make?

Most construction managers work in full-time positions, either independently or for a construction company. Salaries for construction managers depend on several factors such as previous work experience, the scale of a project and geographical location. The average base salary for a construction manager is ₹8,98,659 per year. Their salary can increase with experience and higher educational qualifications.

Construction Manager Work Environment

Construction managers typically work in out-of-office settings on construction sites. Many of them handle multiple projects simultaneously, meaning that they need regularly travel between different construction sites. Given that many available projects are not necessarily in the construction manager's city of residence, the position often requires temporary relocation to another city, state or even another country.

The job involves working in direct contact with engineers, materials and various types of machinery. Managers may not always have a fixed schedule and may often be required to work overtime during crucial stages of a project. In a supervisory role, they may need to respond to emergencies as and when they come up. Like others in construction roles, they wear the required protective gear when working on-site.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

Related:

  • What Is Construction Project Management? Types And Stages

  • Architect Vs. Construction Manager: What Is The Difference?

  • 35 Construction Project Manager Interview Questions

  • 10 Construction Management Skills: Examples And Tips

  • How To Write A Construction Management Resume Objective

  • 4 Online Construction Management Courses (With Subjects)


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