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Careers in Construction Management

Posted by Fitchburg State University on July 10, 2024 at 9:26 AM

Explore Career Opportunities in Construction Management

The construction industry is one of the largest in the country. With over seven million workers and the creation of nearly $2.1 trillion worth of structures each year, it’s safe to say the need for skilled trade professionals remains strong.

In fact, demand is only growing — the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be 38,700 openings for construction managers each year, on average, through 2032.

Building a career in construction management isn’t one-size-fits-all. From consulting to construction firms and in specialties as varied as road, home, or commercial construction, employers across industries need individuals with the experience and expertise to get the job done.

Learn more about how to start — or advance — a career in this in-demand field.

Construction site

Key Job Responsibilities

Construction managers wear many hats to ensure projects run smoothly from inception to completion. Responsibilities can include:

  • Project planning: Developing timelines, budgets, and strategies to meet project goals.
  • Budgeting: Managing finances and allocating resources efficiently to keep projects on track.
  • Scheduling: Coordinating timelines for various tasks and overseeing project milestones.
  • Resource allocation: Assigning tasks to team members and ensuring they have the necessary resources to succeed.
  • Team management: Leading and motivating teams to achieve project objectives with excellence.

Skills and Qualifications

Success in construction management requires a diverse skill set and a solid academic foundation. Beyond possessing technical, communication, and leadership abilities, those working in this industry should have the appropriate educational background.

Most construction manager positions require, at minimum, a bachelor's degree in construction management, civil engineering, architecture, or a related field. However, some employers may prefer or require candidates with a master's degree in construction management, as an advanced degree provides specialized knowledge and skills.

Moreover, a construction management master’s degree can help individuals advance to senior management positions and retain a competitive edge in the job market.

Licensing and Certification

Construction manager licensing and certification requirements vary by state. Some states require construction managers to be licensed as professional engineers or hold a general contractor's license.

For example, Massachusetts requires construction managers working on certain projects to obtain a license as a construction supervisor. The Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards oversees this licensing program.

Learn more about licensure by state.

Construction Management Career Paths

The beauty of a career in construction management lies in its versatility. Some may choose to specialize in residential, commercial, or industrial projects, while others may advance to higher-level roles such as project manager, firm operations manager, or construction executive. No matter the specific focus, construction managers play a vital part in transforming ideas into reality.

Construction management graduates may work in such sectors as:

  • Residential Construction: Single-family homes; Multi-family housing (apartments, condos, townhomes); Residential remodeling and renovations.
  • Commercial Construction: Office buildings; Retail stores and shopping malls, Hotels and hospitality facilities; Restaurants and entertainment venues.
    Infrastructure Construction: Roads, highways, and bridges; Water treatment plants and pipelines; Airports and air traffic control towers; Rail systems and train stations.
  • Civil Construction: Dams, levees, and flood control systems; Ports, harbors, and marine terminals; Mining operations and mineral processing facilities; Large-scale earthmoving and site work.
  • Institutional Construction: Hospitals and healthcare facilities; Schools, universities, and education campuses; Government buildings and public facilities.
  • Specialty Construction: Green/sustainable construction projects; Historic preservation and restoration.

Career paths may include:

Project Manager

A construction project manager oversees all aspects of a project from start to finish. Their responsibilities include planning, coordinating, budgeting, and supervising construction projects, teams, subcontractors, and suppliers to maintain efficient and safe collaboration.

Field Engineer

Many of the on-site technical aspects of a construction project fall under the domain of a field engineer. Their duties typically include interpreting project plans and specifications to ensure that construction activities comply with engineering designs and standards.

Inspector

Inspectors play an important role in determining whether construction projects comply with building codes, regulations, and specifications. Their primary responsibility is to inspect construction sites, structures, and materials to verify that they meet safety and quality standards.

Sustainability Consultant

From assessing the environmental impact of a project to recommending eco-friendly building materials and technologies, sustainability consultants help construction projects achieve sustainability objectives while meeting regulatory requirements and client expectations.

General Contractor

Similar to a project manager, a general contractor coordinates and supervises the entire construction process from start to finish. While both play crucial roles, general contractors are more directly involved in the physical construction work, whereas project managers focus on overall project coordination, communication, and client satisfaction.

Salary Outcomes

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for construction managers in the United States is $104,900, with top earners making an average of $172,040 annually.

Salaries can vary based on factors like experience, level of education, location, and industry specialization. For example, construction managers in large metropolitan areas or those working on complex commercial or infrastructure projects may earn higher compensation.

Job Outlook for Construction Managers

Did you know that driving on roads in need of repair in Massachusetts costs each driver $620 per year or that 9% of bridges in the state are rated structurally deficient? 

Don’t live in Massachusetts? With a score of C- from the American Society of Civil Engineers, virtually all of America’s infrastructure needs the help of committed, skilled construction professionals.

 “Currently, there is a disparity between the demand for project management professionals in our industry and the availability of talent. We consistently hear that some of the most successful construction management firms are turning down opportunities to bid because they do not have the management capacity to take on additional work.”  - AGC MA Chief Executive Officer John Ferrante

Reflecting this, the job outlook for construction management professionals is exceptionally strong. With the continued demand for new construction and infrastructure upgrades, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment in this field to grow 5% over the next decade — faster than the average for all occupations.

The Master’s in Construction Management at Fitchburg State

Earning a master's degree in construction management can open the door to advanced career opportunities and higher earning potential. Fitchburg State University's online Master of Science in Construction Management program allows students to develop specialized expertise and level up their careers.

Why choose Fitchburg?

  • Our fully online program allows working professionals to reach their educational goals without putting their life on hold.
  • The program’s flexibility means students can complete their MS in Construction Management in as few as three semesters, just one and a half years.
  • Students can tailor their education to their personal and professional interests through the Thesis or Special Project options.

Explore the MS in Construction Management

Looking for a bachelor’s degree? You can also study Construction Management on campus at Fitchburg as an undergraduate student.

Explore the BS in Construction Management

Want More Information? We’ve Got You Covered

Take the next step in your career — explore Fitchburg’s Construction Management programs in greater detail or request information.

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Topics: Programs and Majors, Engineering Technology