Career Path & Steps to Become a Construction Superintendent

Learn the steps required to pursue a career as a construction superintendent. Read on for an overview of the education, required skills, salary potential and career outlook for this profession. Schools offering Construction Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Construction Superintendent Overview

Construction superintendents oversee the daily logistics of construction sites, such as managing staff, making daily assignments, supervising the proper execution of all construction processes, and ensuring all costs are following the budget guidelines set by the project owner. Because proper oversight requires a deep knowledge of all tools, materials, and methods for construction, superintendents generally have significant experience in construction sites (as former skilled or unskilled workers). The table below is a general overview of the steps required in pursuing a career in this field.

Typical Education Bachelor's degree
Certification Option Not required, but Certified Construction Manager (CCM) could be helpful
Skills Required Coordination, critical thinking, knowledge of construction
Median Salary (2019) $74,693*
Career Outlook (2016-2026) 11% (for all construction managers)**

Sources: *PayScale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Should I Study?

Because the position involves a wide range of technical skills and some engineering and mathematical knowledge, many employers prefer an educational background as proof that candidates are well prepared for the many technical aspects of effective construction. Though a bachelor's degree is not always required for this profession, it is generally preferred by employers. For those without a bachelor's degree, several educational opportunities exist as part of certificates or associate's degrees from trade schools, community colleges, and accredited universities.

What Kind of Work Experience Do I Need?

Most construction superintendents are hired after several years at other construction positions. Examples include former masons, plumbers or electricians. Though the years of experience required varies by employer, most employers prefer at least three.

What Are Some of the Responsibilities of a Construction Superintendent?

A construction manager is responsible for effectively managing the budget of a construction project. This involves tracking all the variables that might influence the finished product, including scheduling, expenses, quality, and security. Superintendents are also responsible for coordinating with construction staff, contractors, owners, and others to address complaints and resolve any potential miscommunications. They are also responsible for ensuring the finished construction product is compliant with all applicable regulations.

Are Any Certifications Required?

Certifications are not required for this profession, but may be preferred by some employers. The Certified Construction Manager (CCM) certification from the Construction Management Association of America is commonly mentioned as preferred in job postings. Studies have shown that those with the certification could earn higher salaries than those who don't. To qualify for the certification, you must compile at least two references from previous clients and meet their professional experience requirements, which include a background in project management and cost management (among others). Some of the professional experience requirements may be waived with the completion of a bachelor's or advanced degree, though a formal education is not required for the certification.

What Are the Salary Expectations?

According to PayScale.com, the median annual salary for construction superintendents was $74,693 in 2019. Construction superintendents are included under the construction manager category for U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates. The BLS projected an 11% growth in job opportunities for this category between 2016 and 2026.

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