Career Outlook: Construction Management
Construction managers coordinate and oversee construction projects of all kinds. They manage budgets and work closely with architects, civil engineers and tradesmen to ensure that projects are running smoothly. Construction managers and contractors generally need to have well-rounded skill sets, as they regularly dabble in various disciplines. On top of having a strong technical knowledge about construction, they not only need to be very familiar with legal requirements like contracts and safety codes, but also with financial tasks such as cost estimating and budgeting.
There are many levels on which construction managers can work. Some oversee all aspects of a project from start to finish, while others specialize in more focused aspects of a project. Large and complex projects generally require several managers to coordinate different tasks. For example, a high-level construction manager may hire other managers to oversee the structural foundation or plumbing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statics, industries hiring the most construction managers include residential and nonresidential construction and civil engineering construction. Specialty trade contractors are also in high demand and many construction managers are self-employed.
Entering the Industry
- Number of job openings in June 2021: 511
- Average salary: $104,000
- 2021 Median Pay: $98,890 annually
- Typical entry-level education: bachelor’s degree
- Number of jobs in 2021: 478,500
- Job outlook 2021-2031: 8% (faster than average)
Source: SOC 11-9021, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Construction managers typically have a bachelor’s degree in a construction-related field as well as work experience in the industry. Several hard and soft skills are also essential. Analytical skills are crucial for any coordinator position that needs to plan strategies and address obstacles. Contractors will also need excellent technical skills and an applied knowledge of technical concepts like construction technologies or drawings. Soft skills like communication and leadership are just as important, as construction managers often collaborate with other construction professionals and need to be able to delegate tasks and concisely explain technical concepts to others.
There is opportunity for growth in a construction management career, usually from a subcontractor role focused on specific aspects of a project into a more high-ranking position overseeing other managers. Though certification is not necessary for a career in construction management, it can be a helpful step in growing professionally and demonstrating skill level and knowledge to potential employers. Common certifications include Certified Construction Manager (CCM), Associate Constructor (AC) and Certified Professional Constructor (CPC), which vary in skill level and years of experience.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that employment of construction management professionals is likely to rise 8% within the next decade, which is much faster than average. Population and business growth, improving national infrastructure and sustainability campaigns are likely to create new and complex jobs for construction managers, ensuring that the construction industry continues to be a vital part of the economy.
Need help getting started?
Reach out to enrollment coach Cathy Zhao for one-on-one help answering your questions and finding the right courses to fit your schedule and goals.
Earning a certificate in construction management is an effective way of gaining credibility and developing skills needed for the job. Designed for prospective construction management professionals, our Construction Management Certificate Program provides students with the business, managerial and technical skills to succeed in the industry. Our program uses a hands-on approach to give students practical experience in construction management, covering a wide range of topics including construction methods, applying blueprints to final construction, strategies for monitoring construction and using cost estimation principles. Courses are taught by industry veterans and the curriculum is endorsed by the region’s top industry associations, including North State Building Industry Association (BIA), Sacramento Regional Builders Exchange (SRBX) and the American Society of Professional Estimators (ASPE).
- 6 courses, complete in as few as 12 months (Fast Track option available)
- Academic credit through the UC Davis Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering