How to Become a Construction Manager

How to Become a Construction Manager: Career Path Guide

If you want to become a construction manager, you first need to determine if this career path is a good fit for your skills, interests and personality traits. If the following description sounds like you, then you’re probably well suited for a career as a construction manager:


• You have an interest in construction and skilled trades

• You enjoy directing the work of others and can motivate a team 

• You are experienced in construction

• You have thorough knowledge of governmental construction regulations

• You have proven organizational and planning abilities


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career as a construction manager. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become a Construction Manager

The educational requirements for becoming a construction manager may vary by employer, although the typical minimum requirement is certification in a recognized trade, or a college diploma or university degree in one of the fields listed below, combined with experience in the construction industry.


• Building Construction

• Construction Management

• Project Management

• Civil Engineering

• Architecture 




Construction Manager Job Description

Construction managers are responsible for planning, directing and supervising the work activities of construction personnel. Construction managers must also participate in the conceptual development of construction projects, as well as oversee their scheduling and implementation.



Construction Manager Job Duties

• Review project specifications to develop project objectives, budget and timeline

• Identify human, financial and material resources necessary to complete the project

• Schedule construction project activities according to logical steps

• Interpret and explain contract terms to administrative staff, workers and clients

• Obtain all necessary permits and licenses

• Requisition supplies and materials for project

• Develop and implement quality control programs

• Plan, organize, and direct activities concerned with the construction and maintenance of structures, facilities, and systems


Who Creates Jobs for Construction Managers?

The following types of employers typically hire construction managers on a full-time or contractual basis:


• Small and large residential, commercial and industrial construction companies

• Specialized subcontractors

• Utility companies

• Self-employment as a general contractor 




Construction Manager Job Opportunities

Construction Manager Jobs - Canada


Construction Manager Jobs - United States




Construction Manager Salary

The salary level of construction managers can vary depending on their personal qualifications, their level of aptitude, the size of their employer, and many other factors.


Construction Manager Salary Alberta: According to the 2013 Albert Wage and Salary Survey, the average earnings of Albertans working as part of the Construction Managers occupational group is $37.22 per hour.


Construction Manager Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadian workers in the Construction Managers occupational group is $61,651 per year.


Construction Manager Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of American workers in the Construction Managers occupational group is $82,790 per year. 



Skills Needed to Become a Construction Manager

In order to become an effective construction manager, you need to posses a certain set of skills. Employers of construction managers will want to see these skills demonstrated on your resume through your work history and training, as it will give them confidence that you will be able to perform your job duties with competence.


• An in-depth knowledge of building methods

• An in-depth knowledge of health and safety regulations

• Able to motivate team members

• Able to effectively manage the work of sub-trades

• Excellent organization and planning skills

• Excellent budget and scheduling management skills

• Ability to attend to detail

• Ability to work in a time-conscious and time-effective manner

• Valid driver’s license

• Proficient in Microsoft Excel, Word and Outlook



Personal Characteristics Needed to Become a Construction Manager

In order to enjoy your career as a construction manager, you need to have a certain set of personality traits. These personality traits will allow you to maintain a positive attitude towards your work, and help you overcome the mental and emotional challenges of this career.


• A keen interest in construction and various skilled trades

• Enjoy spending time outside of the office

• An interest in directing the work of others

• An interest in managing construction budgets and schedules

• Assertive yet approachable personality

• Willingness to take on responsibility and make decisions

• Strong business acumen

• Results-oriented approach to work activities



Career Advancement for Construction Managers

Construction managers who acquire a good amount of experience can progress into a variety of roles, such as:


• Construction Manager – overseeing multiple projects simultaneously

• Construction Consultant

• Project Manager

• Construction Company Owner


With further training in addition to their experience, construction managers can move into roles such as:


• Teacher – construction management related courses

• Support Services – such as health and safety inspector 






Construction Manager Career: Work Environment

Hours of Work: Construction managers typically work normal business hours, although they may work irregular, late or long hours in order to respond to emergencies or to meet deadlines. Construction managers may spend some of their day traveling to the construction site, or traveling to meet clients and contractors.


Work Setting: Many construction managers work from a main office, although most work out of a field office at the construction site. From the field office, they are able to monitor the project and make daily decisions regarding construction activities.


Working Conditions: While on site, construction managers are often exposed to a wide variety of weather conditions and other environmental conditions, such as heights, small spaces, falling objects, dangerous machinery, and other hazards.


Adhering to company and governmental safety regulations, as well as wearing protective clothing, such as safety boots, a hard-hat and a harness (when applicable) helps keep construction managers safe while performing their job duties.



Construction Manager Jobs

Our job board below has "Construction Manager" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Careers Similar to Construction Manager

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Construction Manager, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Project Manager

Real Estate Developer

Zoning Inspector


Operations Manager



Interview with a Construction Manager

Do you want to hear what a career as a construction manager is like, from the perspective of someone working in the field? Read the interview we've conducted with Larry Hnatiuk, a construction manager in Edmonton, Alberta.



References: Construction Manager Career Information

Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a construction manager.


Alberta Learning and Information Service website:

National Careers Service website:

United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website:



Scholarships for Becoming a Construction Manager

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a Construction Manager can be found on the following pages:


Architecture Scholarships

Civil Engineering Scholarships

Management Scholarships


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming a Construction Manager: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a construction manager. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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