Becoming a construction manager is a career path that can be rewarding and fulfilling – but also difficult at times. With so many people under you, all looking to you for instruction and guidance as you tackle job after job, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed.
The good news is that you don’t have to feel that way. We understand the unique struggles and challenges that a good construction manager faces. In this blog post, we want to give you several tips and pieces of advice for becoming a construction manager. Below are six steps on how to be a construction manager:
1. Ask yourself if construction is the right career choice for you
A good construction manager is passionate about what they do. And it’s hard to be passionate about something that doesn’t, well, excite you. If you’re unsure about what you’d like to do and you’ve seized upon ‘construction manager’ as a possible career, do some research about the construction management industry. This will help you decide whether the work is something you would actually enjoy doing.
Research exactly what is required of a construction manager, what you would be expected to do from day to day…all of it. Once you’re reasonably sure that becoming a construction manager is something you’re excited to do, it’s time to move forward to the next steps!
2. Make sure you have the proper credentials
Before you learn how to be a construction manager, just know that it requires some higher education. The first requirements are, quite obviously, a high school diploma. If you’ve got that in the bag, you’re already partway to becoming a construction manager! Next, you’ll need to get (at least) a bachelor’s degree in some kind of construction-related field.
As you work toward your degree, this is also a great time to figure out if becoming a construction manager is right for you. Any kind of higher education you pursue after getting your bachelor’s can only help you become a construction manager, but a high school diploma and a bachelor’s degree is the bare minimum required.
3. Work on your less quantifiable skills
Getting a good education is an amazing, much-needed step toward becoming a construction manager. But there are also some other skills and talents that it’s good to have up your sleeve – and not all of them can be taught in the classroom. For example, it’s important to have natural tact, leadership skills, and feel comfortable interacting with and directing all kinds of people.
Now, you can go to leadership workshops, but it’s also good to get some real life practice if at all possible. Practice your communication skills, take a lower-level management job somewhere…do whatever you can to strengthen your leadership potential so you can get the job you really want.
4. Prepare yourself for the rigors of construction management
If you think that becoming a construction manager means that you’ll have less on-site work to tackle, think again! The best managers lead by example and are there in the trenches, working alongside the people they’re responsible for. Construction work is noisy, dirty, and even dangerous much of the time. And you won’t get a break like the regular workers when the work is done for the day because you’ll have to process paperwork and plan for the next day, week, or even month.
All this might sound like we’re trying to turn you off from being a construction manager. Nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, it’s often those who go into difficult work with no idea of what it’s actually like that end up quitting. We want you to know what being a construction manager entails – and then do it anyway. Because it’s great work. Just not for everyone. (And that’s okay.)
5. Expect your path to full manager to take some time
Patience is a great virtue for anyone to have, but you may need an extra dose of it as a construction manager – especially if you really want to be in charge of your own crew right away. The thing is, for that to happen, you almost always need to prove yourself in the industry first. That means being an assistant manager before you are ever made a full manager.
If you’re willing to work hard and be patient, you’ll be a full manager sooner than you think. Just remember that, as with all good career paths, this will take time and a lot of hard work.
6. Consider becoming certified
When you become certified through any one of the number of construction certification programs, you’ll instantly receive a credibility boost that can really help you on how to be a construction manager. Make sure that you take a certification course through a reputable company. Yes, it’s extra work but worth it.