Technically, certification isn’t strictly needed in the construction industry. In fact, anyone can start a career in construction without the highest level of education. Crew members can start working after finishing training, or some even get their training while already deployed at the site.
But for those in the management level positions, there are a lot of opportunities to further their careers. Those who continue with their education give their employers the impression that they are deeply dedicated to their roles. And by taking the right training and certification, you will have an edge over the others, hence increasing your worth in the industry.
Many people in the construction industry covet the construction managerial position. And why not? It pays very decently and earning the respect of many crew members comes as a bonus.
But what does it take to be a certified construction manager? Is there a bachelor’s degree in this position? Can anyone apply for the position or is it earned through a long process?
These and more we’ll find out today.
Who is a Certified Construction Manager?
A certified construction manager comes on top of a construction manager. They do almost the same roles on a construction site but having taken additional formal education, a certified construction manager takes a higher-level position than a simple construction manager.
The certification program for construction managers was designed for people who have a bachelor’s degree in related sciences and those who already have full experience in doing construction supervision and managerial tasks.
People who enroll in certification programs to become certified construction managers are taught with special expertise in cost analysis, site management, quality control, and materials selection. All of which are essential during the planning and main construction phases to ensure trouble-free operation and successful project delivery.
And this is why certified construction managers become indispensable to companies they are employed in.
Should You Aim to Become a Certified Construction Manager?
The road towards this attainment is long and pretty much rocky. You can’t simply decide to become one, take a certification program, and then you’re already a certified construction manager.
As we mentioned, before you can take a certification there is a required work experience you need to complete and that depends on which organization you decide to get certified from.
Generally, you have to master all the tasks of a construction manager including:
- Hiring and supervising crew members
- Estimate project costs
- Write progress reports
- Set schedules
- Check that safety codes are met
The more difficult part, though, of being a construction manager is being on call for 24 hours. He may be at the office most of the time but during site visits, he may be asked to hop from one site to another, depending on how many existing projects there are. Fortunately, construction project management software already exists in this era, making it easier for managers to handle several projects at once with lesser errors.
On the other hand, the best part of being a certified construction manager is the increased salary. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates entry-level construction managers make over $50,000 per year, while experienced managers can make $90,000 per year. Meanwhile, certified construction managers can earn from $80,000 to a whopping $150,000 per year.
So should you level up to become a certified construction manager?
With the look of the salary, you definitely should! It’s definitely challenging to manage a lot of people and such a huge workplace, but the use of construction management software has made the load lighter while the manager takes home the salary in full.
How to Become a Certified Construction Manager
There are a lot of organizations in the U.S. that offer certification for construction managers like the Construction Management Association of America or the American Institute of Construction. And as we mentioned earlier, these organizations have their requirements for construction educational level attained, minimum construction work completed, and construction management experience gained. Of course, an applicant for certification should also be familiar with reading blueprints and proficient in using basic Office apps and other computer programs useful in construction like construction project management software.
There are other prerequisites before you can finally be allowed to take a certification. Basically, these are the steps you need to take to qualify for the certified construction manager position:
- Finish a Bachelor’s Degree in Construction Management
Most people working at the construction site didn’t go to college or are undergraduate. They’d rather pursue studying construction-centered disciplines like construction management. To become a certified construction manager, you have to finish such a course or other related courses like building science or civil engineering.
- Gain Construction Experience
To become a certified construction manager, you also need to have rich experience in construction. You can take internship programs after taking up a construction management course to kick start your experience in construction. Volunteer to take on roles because it is from first-hand experience that you will gain true knowledge in construction. Keep in mind that the things you learn in the classroom are mostly theoretical while the things you learn by doing an actual project is the reality behind the theories. So be proactive and don’t hesitate to accept tasks.
- Get a Certification
After gaining enough experience in the field, it’s time to try to get a certification. Most organizations would require a bachelor’s degree holder to complete a 4-year management experience, while a non-bachelor’s degree holder needs 8 years of experience before applying for certification.
Those who are already certified construction managers also need to apply for recertification every three years where the main requirements include professional development and work experience.
But before you take the certification, be sure to study for the exam. Applicants are only allowed three attempts and those who still fail after the third attempt will be barred from certification.
Top 5 Construction Certifications Providers
Now that you know the three steps to become a certified construction manager, the next thing we’ll help you with is finding the right organizations you can take certification from. This list is based on the search popularity among construction managers seeking to take their certification.
This organization primarily offers certification for constructors. People who are coming from managing other industries and are now looking into working in construction are the ones who usually get their certification from the American Institute of Constructors. Taking the certification for Associate Constructor is what’s best for them. Meanwhile, constructors who are seeking to advance their careers also take this certification.
This certification program is offered by the Construction Management Association of America. The organization claims this certification to be the only program accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and describes it as “gold standard” in construction management. Generally, applicants to this program learn about management techniques to help keep projects within the budget and schedule.
Construction professionals who seek to gain certification in a specific field in construction like drywall or electrical can take the NCCER program. This program offers over 70 craft areas or trades that are essential in construction.
If you are a construction engineer or a professional in the security system, fire protection, and other engineering fields in construction, then the NICET is perfect for you. It teaches all the expertise you need so that you can further your career in the construction industry and increase your worth.
One of the well-known organizations related to safer construction, the OSHA offers the Outreach Training Program that covers health hazards at the site and on-the-job safety. They have a 10-hour course designed for entry-level applicants. The other is the 30-hour course designed to provide a variety of training and instill safety responsibility on a greater depth to applicants.
Holding a certification from OSHA means that you are capable of finding hazards and improving safety conditions at the site to make the project running smoother, within the budget and schedule, and free from lawsuits related to accidents.
Expanding your knowledge of construction management
A construction manager has more responsibilities to fulfill, hence there are more certifications out there that he can take. Being a master of some fields like safety and construction crew management won’t only help a construction manager to prosper his career but will also help the firm he is affiliated with to succeed.
So if you wish to gain a certification or two, help you grow your skills, and boost your knowledge in running a safer and more efficient workplace, then the certification programs we listed are good places to start.