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Construction Managers

Summary

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Video transcript available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiamJadljrw.
Quick Facts: Construction Managers
2020 Median Pay $97,180 per year
$46.72 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Moderate-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2019 476,700
Job Outlook, 2019-29 8% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2019-29 40,400

What Construction Managers Do

Construction managers plan, coordinate, budget, and supervise construction projects from start to finish.

Work Environment

Construction managers may have a main office but spend most of their time in a field office onsite, where they monitor projects and make decisions about construction activities. Their schedules may vary.

How to Become a Construction Manager

Construction managers typically need a bachelor’s degree, and they learn management techniques through on-the-job training. Large construction firms may prefer to hire candidates who have both construction experience and a bachelor’s degree in a construction-related field.

Pay

The median annual wage for construction managers was $97,180 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Employment of construction managers is projected to grow 8 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Those with a bachelor’s degree in construction science, construction management, or civil engineering, coupled with construction experience, should have the best job prospects.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for construction managers.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of construction managers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about construction managers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Construction Managers Do About this section

Construction managers
Construction managers often collaborate with engineers and architects.

Construction managers plan, coordinate, budget, and supervise construction projects from start to finish.

Duties

Construction managers typically do the following:

  • Prepare cost estimates, budgets, and work timetables
  • Interpret and explain contracts and technical information to other professionals
  • Collaborate with architects, engineers, and other construction specialists
  • Select subcontractors and schedule and coordinate their activities
  • Monitor projects and report progress and budget matters to the construction firm and clients
  • Respond to work delays, emergencies, and other problems with the project
  • Ensure that the project complies with legal requirements, such building and safety codes

Construction managers, often called general contractors or project managers, coordinate and supervise a variety of projects, including building public, residential, commercial, and industrial structures as well as roads and bridges. Either a general contractor or a construction manager oversees the construction phase of a project, including personnel, but a construction manager may also consult with the client during the design phase to help refine construction plans and control costs.

These managers coordinate construction processes so that projects meet design specifications and are completed on time within budget. Some construction managers are responsible for several projects—for example, building multiple homes—at once.

Construction managers work closely with other building specialists, such as architects, civil engineers, and tradesworkers, including stonemasons, electricians, and carpenters. Depending on the project, construction managers may interact with lawyers or government officials. For example, when installing municipal sidewalks, construction managers may confer with city inspectors to ensure that the project meets required material specifications.

For large building projects, such as industrial complexes, a top-level construction manager may hire other managers for different aspects of the project. Each construction manager then oversees completion of a specific phase, such as structural foundation or electrical work, and the top-level manager coordinates with the managers to complete the entire project.

To maximize efficiency, construction managers often perform the tasks of a cost estimator. They use cost-estimating and planning software to allocate time and money for scheduling project deadlines.

Work Environment About this section

construction managers image
Construction managers supervise on-site activity.

Construction managers held about 476,700 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of construction managers were as follows:

Self-employed workers 38%
Specialty trade contractors 17
Nonresidential building construction 16
Residential building construction 10
Heavy and civil engineering construction 8

Construction managers may have a main office but spend most of their time in a field office onsite, where they monitor projects and make decisions about construction activities. Those who manage multiple projects must visit the different worksites, which may require travelling out of state or being away from home for extended periods.

Work Schedules

Most construction managers work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. Construction managers’ work schedules may vary. They may need to work extra hours to meet deadlines, and they may have to be on call 24 hours a day to respond to project emergencies. 

How to Become a Construction Manager About this section

Construction managers
New construction managers are typically hired as assistants and work under the guidance of an experienced manager.

Construction managers typically need a bachelor’s degree, and they learn management techniques through on-the-job training. Large construction firms may prefer to hire candidates who have both construction experience and a bachelor’s degree in a construction-related field. Firms might hire as managers those who have a high school diploma and many years of experience in a construction trade; however, these people may be more likely to work as self-employed general contractors than to be hired as construction managers.

Education

Although they have various paths to enter the occupation, construction managers typically need a bachelor’s degree in construction science, construction management, architecture, or engineering. The more complex construction processes become, the more importance employers place on candidates having relevant education.

Bachelor’s degree programs in construction-related majors often include courses in project control and management, design, construction methods and materials, and cost estimation. Courses in business, communications, and mathematics are also helpful.

Some construction managers earn an associate’s degree in construction management or construction technology. An associate’s degree combined with work experience may be typical for managers who supervise small projects.

Candidates who have a high school diploma and several years of relevant work experience may qualify to become construction managers. However, these people may be more likely to work as self-employed general contractors than to be hired as construction managers.

Training

Newly hired construction managers typically work under the guidance of an experienced manager for up to 1 year. Depending on the firm, however, this on-the-job training may last for several years.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Construction experience is important for these managers, especially for ones who do not have a bachelor’s degree. For construction managers to qualify for jobs solely through experience, they must have worked many years in carpentry, masonry, or other construction specialties.

College students who participate in internships and cooperative education programs may gain experience through such programs.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some states require construction managers to be licensed. For more information, contact your state licensing board.

Professional certification, although not required, demonstrates a particular level of knowledge and experience.

The Construction Management Association of America awards the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) credential to workers who have the required experience and who pass a technical exam. Candidates complete a self-study course that covers topics related to construction managers, including the manager’s role, legal issues, and risk allocation.

The American Institute of Constructors awards the Associate Constructor (AC) and Certified Professional Constructor (CPC) credential to candidates who meet its requirements, which include passing construction exams.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Construction managers must be able to plan strategies, investigate project cost variances, and solve problems over the course of a project.

Business skills. Construction managers need to prepare and follow project budgets, hire and manage staff, and coordinate with other workers and managers. Self-employed construction managers must generate their own business opportunities and be proactive in finding new clients.

Communication skills. Construction managers must be able to clearly convey information orally and in writing. In addition to talking with owners and clients, managers must give clear orders and explain complex information to construction workers and discuss technical details with inspectors and other specialists, such as engineers.

Decisionmaking skills. Construction managers need to choose personnel and subcontractors for specific tasks and jobs. They also must make myriad judgment calls about projects to ensure that they adhere to deadlines and budgets.

Leadership skills. Construction managers must effectively delegate tasks to construction workers, subcontractors, and other lower level managers to ensure that projects are completed accurately and on time.

Technical skills. Construction managers must have an applied knowledge of concepts and practices common in the industry, such as construction technologies, contracts, and technical drawings.

Pay About this section

Construction Managers

Median annual wages, May 2020

Construction managers

$97,180

Other management occupations

$95,180

Total, all occupations

$41,950

 

The median annual wage for construction managers was $97,180 in May 2020. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $56,880, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $169,070.

In May 2020, the median annual wages for construction managers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Heavy and civil engineering construction $101,730
Nonresidential building construction 98,620
Specialty trade contractors 93,650
Residential building construction 89,000

In addition to salary, construction managers may also earn bonuses. Their earnings depend on the amount of business they generate.

Most construction managers work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. Construction managers’ work schedules may vary. They may need to work extra hours to meet deadlines, and they may have to be on call 24 hours a day to respond to project emergencies.

Job Outlook About this section

Construction Managers

Percent change in employment, projected 2019-29

Construction managers

8%

Total, all occupations

4%

Other management occupations

3%

 

Employment of construction managers is projected to grow 8 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Construction managers are expected to be needed as overall construction activity expands. Over the coming decade, population and business growth will result in the construction of new residences, office buildings, retail outlets, hospitals, schools, restaurants, and other structures. Also, the need to improve portions of the national infrastructure may spur employment growth as roads, bridges, and sewer pipe systems are upgraded or replaced.

In addition, a growing emphasis on retrofitting buildings to make them more energy efficient should create jobs for general contractors, who are more likely to manage the renovation and upgrading of buildings than oversee new large-scale construction projects.

Construction processes and building technology are becoming more complex, requiring greater oversight and spurring demand for specialized management personnel.

Job Prospects

About 34,700 openings for construction managers are projected each year, on average, over the decade.

Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Job opportunities for construction managers are expected to be good. Specifically, jobseekers with a bachelor’s degree in construction science, construction management, or civil engineering, coupled with construction experience, should have the best job prospects.

Employment of construction managers, like that of many other construction workers, is sensitive to fluctuations in the economy. On the one hand, workers in the construction industry may experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of construction falls. On the other hand, peak periods of building activity may produce abundant job opportunities for construction managers.

Employment projections data for construction managers, 2019-29
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2019 Projected Employment, 2029 Change, 2019-29 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Construction managers

11-9021 476,700 517,100 8 40,400 Get data

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of construction managers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help on Entry-Level Education 2020 MEDIAN PAY Help on Median Pay
Architects

Architects

Architects plan and design houses, factories, office buildings, and other structures.

Bachelor's degree $82,320
Architectural and engineering managers

Architectural and Engineering Managers

Architectural and engineering managers plan, direct, and coordinate activities in architectural and engineering companies.

Bachelor's degree $149,530
Civil engineers

Civil Engineers

Civil engineers design, build, and supervise infrastructure projects and systems. 

Bachelor's degree $88,570
Cost estimators

Cost Estimators

Cost estimators collect and analyze data in order to estimate the time, money, materials, and labor required to make a product or provide a service.

Bachelor's degree $66,610
Landscape architects

Landscape Architects

Landscape architects design parks and other outdoor spaces.

Bachelor's degree $70,630

Contacts for More Information About this section

For more information about construction manager certification, visit

American Institute of Constructors

For more information about construction management and construction manager certification, visit

Construction Management Association of America

For more information on accredited construction science and management educational programs, visit

ABET

American Council for Construction Education

NCCER

For information about opportunities for military veterans, visit

Helmets to Hardhats

O*NET

Construction Managers

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Construction Managers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/construction-managers.htm (visited April 09, 2021).

Last Modified Date: Friday, April 9, 2021

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2020 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2020, the median annual wage for all workers was $41,950.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2019

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2019, which is the base year of the 2019-29 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2019-29

The projected percent change in employment from 2019 to 2029. The average growth rate for all occupations is 4 percent.

Employment Change, 2019-29

The projected numeric change in employment from 2019 to 2029.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2019-29

The projected numeric change in employment from 2019 to 2029.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2019 to 2029.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2019 to 2029.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2019 to 2029.

2020 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2020, the median annual wage for all workers was $41,950.