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Construction Managers

Construction managers plan, oversee, coordinate and develop budgets for a wide array of construction projects. Construction managers coordinate and oversee the construction project beginning with the conceptual development stage all the way through the final construction. They're objective is complete the project within budget and on time. Some sample job titles include constructors, project managers, general contractors and project engineers.

Construction managers are involved with the construction of residential, industrial and commercial buildings, schools, hospitals, roads and bridges. Construction managers may oversee the entire construction project or just one or several portions of the project, especially on large projects. They're responsible for scheduling and coordinating construction procedures including the hiring of specialty trade contractors.


  • Direct and observe the progress of construction activities
  • Determine the best way to get materials to the construction site
  • Oversee the work of trade contractors
  • Determine the most cost effective plan and schedule for completing the construction project
  • Determine the labor requirements for a project
  • Estimate the time and budget requirements to meet deadlines
  • Oversee the selection of trade contractors and general contractors
  • Try to get the construction project completed on schedule
  • Obtain all required permits and licenses

Job Characteristics

Construction managers work from a main office or from an office at the construction site. They collaborate with engineers, architects, property owners, contracting firm managers and developers. They need good communication and interpersonal skills. They also need to be able to give clear directions.

Sometimes construction managers have to travel between two different sites they are managing. They might have extensive travel when the main office is not close to the construction site. Some construction managers work in a foreign country and have a temporary residence. Construction managers are often on call 24 hours a day. They may have to deal with emergencies on the job site. They sometimes work more than 40 hours a week.

Employment Outlook

Employment of construction managers is forecasted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to increase by 17 percent from 2008 to 2018 which is faster than average for all occupations.

The desire to make buildings more energy efficient should create more demand for construction managers that are involved with retrofitting buildings. More demand for construction managers may also occur due to replacing portions of the country's infrastructure including roads, bridges and water and sewer pipes.

In 2008 the median annual wages of salaried construction managers was $79,860. The highest paid 10 percent earned over $145,920. Some construction managers receive a salary and others are self-employed managers. Approximately 60 percent of construction managers are self-employed.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

A bachelor's degree in construction management, construction science, civil engineering or building science is becoming the norm for construction manager positions. However, some experienced construction workers may be able to move up to a managerial position, particularly those that have an appropriate associate degree or related college coursework along with construction experience. Practical experience is very important for the profession.

Construction supervisors and owners of speciality contracting firms sometimes become construction managers. However, due to construction processes becoming increasingly complex, employers are giving more emphasis to specialized education. Those with degrees in architecture and engineering that have gained experience on construction projects also enter construction management.

Graduates of bachelor's degree programs typically begin their careers as assistant project managers, field engineers, cost estimators or schedulers.

Bachelor's degree programs include classes in site planning, project control, construction methods, design, cost estimating, contract administration, building codes and standards, and value analysis. They also provide courses in accounting, architectural sciences, information technology, mathematics, statistics, business and financial management and other subjects.

Some colleges and universities offer a master's degree in construction management or construction science. Those with a master's degree and construction experience usually become construction managers for very large construction or construction management companies. Numerous two-year colleges provide construction management or construction technology programs.


Major Employers

The primary job providing sectors are nonresidential building construction, building equipment contractors, specialty trade contractors; foundation, structure and building exterior contractors; residential building construction, construction management firms, contracting companies, property owners and developers.

Schools for Construction Managers are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Construction Managers Skills

Below are the skills needed to be construction managers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

Skill NameImportanceCompetence
Active Listening3.884
Critical Thinking3.884
Complex Problem Solving3.753.88

Construction Managers Abilities

Below are the abilities needed to be construction managers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

Ability NameImportanceCompetence
Problem Sensitivity4.124
Deductive Reasoning44
Information Ordering44
Oral Comprehension3.884
Oral Expression3.884

Construction Managers Knowledge

Below are the knowledge areas needed to be construction managers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

Knowledge AreaImportanceCompetence
Building and Construction4.86.2
English Language4.24.16
Administration and Management4.044.68
Engineering and Technology4.044.72

Construction Managers Work activities

Below are the work activities involved in being construction managers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

Work ActivityImportanceCompetence
Making Decisions and Solving Problems4.65.12
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates4.585.12
Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others4.365.8
Scheduling Work and Activities4.245.56
Getting Information4.25.04

Construction Managers Work styles

Below are the work styles involved in being construction managers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

Work StyleImportance
Attention to Detail4.32

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Construction Managers

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Construction Managers jobs , as of 2019

Metro AreaTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Salary
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land10,770$99,990
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim10,740$127,320
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington9,740$102,670
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach7,590$112,230
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell5,820$106,010
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward5,370$134,880

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Total employment and salary for professions similar to construction managers

Source : 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2018-28 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics,; O*NET® 24.3 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor,

We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Construction Managers.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.