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Construction Manager

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Overall Score
(6.7 out of 10)

Number of Jobs

78,200

Median Salary

$82,790

Unemployment Rate

4.7 percent

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This Job is Ranked in
Best Construction Jobs #1
The 100 Best Jobs #37

Construction management is ideal for someone who has a general interest in building and design. Architecture might seem like too much drawing. Civil engineering could seem like too much science. Cost estimating is too much math. Carpentry might be too much manual labor. Working as a construction manager affords the chance to learn a construction project from soup to nuts – from the planning stage with architects and engineers, to the budgeting stage with cost estimators, to the production stage with laborers. And that's just a small taste of the job's duties: Construction managers also obtain work permits, hire contractors, troubleshoot emergencies, schedule walkthroughs and keep clients informed on work timetables and progress.

While construction jobs generally dried up in the mid-2000s, hiring should now ratchet up. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts 1.6 million new jobs for this sector by 2022, and almost 79,000 new construction manager jobs specifically.

Salary

Managing a construction project from start to finish is a weighty responsibility, and construction managers make comfortable salaries. In 2012, their average salary was $90,960. The median salary was $82,790, the highest-paid in the profession made $144,520 and those earning bottom-rung salaries still earned about $50,000. The top-paying metropolitan areas for this occupation include Ocean City, N.J., Vineland, N.J., and Philadelphia.

Salary Range

75th Percentile $109,600
Median $82,790
25th Percentile $63,790

Training

Some have risen through the ranks, starting out as a carpenter or glazier, for instance, and eventually becoming a construction manager without having a bachelor’s degree. But it's becoming increasingly important that those entering this line of work have both contextual experience and a college education. The BLS reports more than 100 colleges and universities offer programs in construction science, building science or construction engineering, but today's managers might also choose to study architecture or engineering. Practical experience is usually gained through internships, and those new to the field also get some practical experience working as an assistant until they've learned the ropes to supervise their own construction project.

Reviews & Advice

If you're new to the field and want to boost your job opportunities, consider the benefits of a cooperative education program so that you can gain on-the-job experience while you study. Practical experience is one of the best ways to glean the technical know-how for the profession, but it’s also a chance for a construction manager to get his or her feet wet with project and people management. And although this step isn't required, earning certification is another way to be more marketable and competitive as a job seeker. The Construction Management Association of America awards the certified construction manager designation, and the American Institute of Constructors awards the associate constructor designation to those who have the required experience and pass a technical exam.

Job Satisfaction

Upward Mobility good Above Average
Stress Level poor High
Flexibility poor Below Average
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Last updated by Jada A. Graves.


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