How to Become a Site Manager

How to Become a Site Manager: Career Path Guide

To become a site manager, you will likely need a bachelor’s degree in construction management, civil engineering, or a related field. You may also need experience working as a site supervisor before becoming a manager.


But before you meet any of those qualifications, you will need to figure out if the duties of the job will be appealing to you, and if you’ve got the right set of qualities to bring to it.


Being a site manager would involve overseeing the day to day operations of construction sites, and ensuring that work is done safely and within timeline and budgetary restrictions. 


Carrying out these responsibilities will require a sense of accountability, the ability to adhere to budgets and deadlines, and the ability to supervise and direct the work of others. 


So, if becoming a construction site manager sounds like it might suit you, then read on below; we’ll tell you what you'll need to make it in this field!



Education and Experience You’ll Need

It is possible to get hired as a site manager with only a high school diploma, as long as you have many years of experience in a construction trade. 


However, you will be better suited for self-employment as a general contractor if this is the case, because employers are placing increasing importance on specialized education as construction processes become more complex.


For this reason, having a bachelor’s degree in construction science, construction management, architecture, or engineering will qualify you for most entry-level (sometimes even mid-level) site management jobs. 





Who Creates Jobs for Site Managers?

You could potentially be employed on a full-time or contractual basis with the following types of organizations:


• Small and large residential, commercial and industrial construction companies

• Civil engineering companies

• Specialized subcontractors

• Utility companies

• Self-employment as a general contractor 



Career Advancement for Site Managers

If you have competence in, and dedication for your work, many opportunities for career advancement will present themselves to you, including (but not limited to):


• Getting a raise in pay or other benefits  

• Becoming a construction manager that oversees multiple projects simultaneously

• Becoming a construction consultant

• Becoming a project manager

• Owning your own construction company


With further training or education, you could also move into roles such as:


• Teaching site and construction management related courses

• Specialized roles, such as health and safety inspector 



Is This Career Right for You?

No matter what stage of your career development you’re at, you should have the following attributes if you hope to one day become a site manager:


• A keen interest in construction, engineering, architecture, and/or various skilled trades

• Enjoyment in spending time outside of the office

• An interest in directing the work of others

• An interest in managing construction budgets and schedules

• An assertive yet approachable personality

• Willingness to take on responsibility and make decisions

• Willingness to work long hours when needed

• Strong business acumen

• Results-oriented approach to work activities




Details of the Career: General Job Description 

As a site manager, you would oversee the day to day operations of construction sites, ensuring that work is done safely and within timeline and budgetary restrictions. 



Typical Job Duties

Although your specific duties could vary from job to job, you could expect to be responsible for the following functions in any site manager role:


• Planning work and installing temporary offices for staff

• Ensuring deadlines for work completion are met

• Assuming a level of responsibility for site accidents and injuries

• Monitoring progress of work

• Overseeing the delivery of materials

• Performing safety checks

• Liaising with architects, engineers, surveyors and planners

• Ensuring work complies with health and safety regulations and legislation 

• Maintaining communication with clients and providing them with project status updates

• Acting as first point of contact for the media, the public and sub-contractors



Salary for Site Managers

The salary level you could earn as a site manager can vary, typically depending on the following factors:


• Your professional qualifications (your level of relevant education, experience, etc.)

• The size and budget of your employer

• The region in which you work

• The scope of your job duties and functions

• The type of remuneration package you are offered (such as if you are entitled to bonuses, financial benefits, etc.) 


Site Manager Salary in Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadians working in the Construction Managers occupational group is $76,000 per year.


Salary in the United Kingdom: According to the National Careers Service, Construction Managers in the UK typically earn between £27,000 and £50,000 per year. Senior managers can earn more than £60,000 per year.


Salary in the United States: According to the United States Government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean salary level of Americans in the Construction Managers occupational group is $87,400 per year.



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Typical Work Environment

Hours of Work: As a site manager, your hours would reflect those of the project you are overseeing. Your schedule could be a normal, weekday schedule, or it could involve  early mornings, late nights, weekends and holidays.


Work Setting: You would mostly work out of a field office at a construction site. You might spend some of their day traveling to the construction site, or traveling to meet clients and contractors.


Working Conditions: While on site, you would 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. You would have to wear protective clothing, such as safety boots, a hard-hat and a harness (when applicable) to keep you safe while on site.



Careers Similar to ‘Site Manager’

Listed below are occupations in our database that have similar responsibilities, and/or require similar skills, or are in the same sector of industry, as Site Manager:


• Architect

• Civil Engineer

• Construction Manager

• Cost Estimator

• Project Manager

• Real Estate Developer

• Zoning Inspector



References for this Career Guide

The following resources were drawn from in the preparation of this How to Become a Site Manager career guide:


• “Wage Profile: Construction Managers.” (n.d.). OCCinfo: Occupations and Educational Programs. Alberta Government. Retrieved July 21, 2016.

• “Occupational Outlook Handbook: Construction Managers.” (May, 2015). United States Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved July 21, 2016.

• “Job Profiles: Construction Managers.” (n.d.). National Careers Service. Retrieved July 21, 2016.

• “Site Manager.” (n.d.). Job Descriptions. Grad Ireland. Retrieved July 21, 2016.



Scholarships for Becoming a Site Manager

The Applicable Majors section below shows fields of study relevant to a career as a site manager. You can search for scholarships matched to that/those fields of study on the following pages:


Architecture Scholarships

Business Administration Scholarships

Environmental 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 Site Manager: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the college/university majors listed below can be helpful (or necessary) for becoming a site manager. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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