Learn Construction Management
As the building construction field continually draws on new technologies and techniques, it is becoming more complex and interdisciplinary, and the task of managing construction projects is becoming more demanding. Construction managers are responsible for a wide array of tasks, including scheduling, budgeting, safety compliance, and work flow management. There are several ways to learn construction management, and this knowledge will help you develop a career in a dynamic, growing field.
- Pursue advancement through a current construction position. If you already work in the construction industry, you may be able to learn construction management in the field. Historically, construction project managers started as laborers before advancing to become foremen, project superintendents, and finally project managers. This career path is still an option even as more people enter construction management through a degree program.
- Learning basic construction management skills can be as simple as working closely with your foreman or superintendent. People in these positions are often more intimately familiar with construction work than the managers themselves, and have a solid grasp of tasks like scheduling even without formal training.
- Make sure to express interest in construction management to the contractors on your projects. Some may be willing to fill positions such as project engineer or assistant project manager directly from the field, rather than relying on recent college graduates.
- Seek out a construction management degree program. College degrees have quickly become the primary way of learning construction management and entering the field. Many universities offer degrees in construction management, including associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees.
- Four-year bachelor's degrees are the standard option. These degrees are coveted by contracting companies seeking to fill entry-level project management positions. Coursework will cover all aspects of project management, such as estimating, scheduling, contract law, construction technology, and more.
- Look for schools that have construction-related opportunities to take advantage of. For example, determine if the school has a chapter of the construction honor society Sigma Lambda Chi. Also look for local chapters of professional organizations like the National Association of home builders.
- Obtain an internship with a construction company. You will have a much better chance of obtaining a position in construction management if you have related internship experience. An internship will also provide you with the opportunity to learn about the industry on the job.
- Many construction management degrees will require you to complete an internship before graduating. Regardless, you should use the networking opportunities presented through the school to look for an internship.
- Take construction management courses without seeking a degree. If you do not have the time or money to work through an entire degree, you can take classes as a non-matriculated student. This has many advantages: you will learn construction management; you will still have access to the school's resources; and you will have a chance to make industry contacts.
- Note that you can pursue a career in construction management with a degree in a related field, such as civil engineering or building science.