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What Is Construction Management?

Construction managers, also called general contractors, are responsible for planning, budgeting and supervising construction projects. These professionals generally need a bachelor's degree and related work experience, and the employment outlook for the field is good. Read on to find about more about the job duties, training requirements, job growth and salary potential for this field.

Career Description

Construction managers attend to the design-related, budgetary and supervisory functions on the job site. They are responsible for estimating project costs, planning budgets and estimating the time required for a project. In addition, they may be responsible for scheduling subcontractors and coordinating their activities, dealing with work delays, solving project problems and ensuring compliance with codes and regulations. They also keep clients up to date with projects and work with other construction professionals, such as engineers and architects.

Construction managers may work in the residential, commercial or industrial areas of the construction industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were approximately 403,800 construction managers employed across the country as of 2016, with 38% of them self-employed (www.bls.gov). Popular industries of employment included building construction, specialty trade contracting and heavy and civil engineering construction.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Key Skills Time-management skills, planning and problem-solving ability, supervisory and budgeting skills
Work Environment Most work at least full time. Many work in a field office at a construction site.
Similar Occupations Civil engineers, architects, cost estimators
Professional Certification Offered by the Construction Management Association of America and the American Institute of Constructors
Median Pay (2018) $93,370
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 11% growth

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education and Training Requirements

Construction management jobs generally require a bachelor's degree related to construction. The BLS reports that more than 100 schools currently offer bachelor's degrees in construction management and related fields. Students in these programs can expect to learn about cost estimation, contract management, statistics, project management, building codes and design. There are also associate's degree programs that may enable some experienced professionals to work in the field. In addition, a high school diploma can sometimes be enough with significant work experience.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the BLS, the construction management field is expected to experience faster-than-average growth between 2016 and 2026, with a projected 11% increase in the number of people employed. Due to population growth, the need for additional residential buildings, homes, schools, office buildings and more is expected to grow. This should create many job openings for construction managers.

Numerous openings are also expected to arise as experienced construction managers retire or individuals currently employed in the field move out of the industry. By 2026, an estimated 448,600 construction managers will be in the work force. The most qualified candidates are likely to have a strong educational background, significant work experience and expert knowledge of building technology.

The BLS reported in May 2018 that construction managers earned a median salary of $93,370. While the bottom 10% of workers earned $55,240 or less at that time, the top 10% of workers earned $161,510 or more.