Should You Consider A Career In Construction Management?

If you've worked in the construction trades your entire career, but your body is beginning to show signs of wear and tear, you may be considering a transition into the management side. Moving into construction management after spending years or decades in the field can provide you with a number of advantages -- however, there are a few educational and logistical steps you'll need to take in order to qualify for these jobs. Read on to learn more about what you'll need to do to break into the field of construction management.

What type of educational background do you need to go into construction management?

Although it is possible to rise from laborer to manager without any formal construction education, it's always safer to have an associates or bachelor's degree in this field. If you went straight from high school to the workforce, you may be able to obtain a 2- or 4-year degree by attending classes at a local community college or online technical school on nights and weekends. The flexible schedule can allow you to hold down a full-time job and spend time with family while pursuing your education.

If you don't pursue a college degree, you might want to instead opt for one of any number of certifications. The Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) operates a certification program by which you can become a Certified Construction Manager (CCM) in a relatively short period of time. This certification will often allow you to qualify for certain jobs for which you'd be ineligible without a college degree.

What will your job duties look like?

The job of a construction manager will vary widely depending upon the type of construction being supervised. The management of a large, urban, commercial building is much more extensive and complicated than the management of a small subdivision or installation of a modular home.

In general, you'll be the overseer and "traffic director" of the construction site. You'll work with the architects and laborers to mark boundaries and set up materials needed to execute the build quickly and safely. You'll work with heavy equipment operators to excavate the site and install beams and other structural supports. You'll also coordinate and direct plumbing, electrical, and drywalling subcontractors to do the finishing touches. When the project is over, you'll work with the owners or bank to finalize the sale and pay your subcontractors and employees.

How much will you earn?

The salary band for construction managers is a wide one -- you can expect to earn between $50,000 and $146,000 per year, depending upon your credentials, experience, cost of living, and the complexity of the construction.

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