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Career Pathways in Construction Management

Like that of firefighter, doctor, and astronaut, the profession of builder is a common answer to the childhood question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” But whether you have always wanted to work in this field or you are simply considering it as one among varying options, construction management is a vital component of any building project. In fact, operations in the construction industry would come to a screeching halt without it.

 Reflecting its supreme importance, construction management has evolved over the years to encompass a range of sub-fields and positions that go beyond the straightforward construction manager. Read on for details about various construction management careers as well as guidelines that could help you secure one.

The Role of Education in Construction Management

A specialized form of process and project management, construction management involves planning, designing, and overseeing the diverse and complex construction operations from concept to completion. Although there is no official educational barrier to entry into this profession, a formal college degree in a relevant field is highly desirable to, if not required by, many employers in the construction sector. Likewise, numerous construction professionals have found the general and specialized training provided by a good postsecondary management program extremely helpful.

The amount and type of training aspiring construction managers should pursue depends on their unique personal and professional interests, strengths, and goals. It is most common for new construction management professionals to break into the field with a relevant bachelor’s degree, though some might have either an associate or a master’s degree. While choosing the right degree program for you, you must keep in mind that different degrees at different educational levels can have a dramatic effect on both your potential starting position and your overall earning power.

Core Skill and Knowledge for Construction Managers

The most key skills and knowledge for you will depend on your desired career path within the field of construction management. Construction managers are tasked with handling a broad scope of processes and functions targeted to serve diverse client bases, from individual property owners and developers to government agencies and other public entities. Therefore, wise professionals in this field will tailor their skills and knowledge acquisition to meet their specific professional objectives.

However, nearly every aspiring construction manager could benefit from learning the fundamentals of the profession through a quality undergraduate degree program. Working their way toward a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management, students can gain a strong understanding of scheduling, logistics, and other essentials of project management. In addition, at Florida Technical College (FTC), we help construction management students lay a solid foundation of knowledge and skill in areas such as building cost estimation, labor relations, and building construction law/regulation.

Career Opportunities in Construction Management*

From pre-design brainstorming to final punch-out and closing, different construction management professionals might serve any number of different roles on a given project. Depending on your unique passions, strengths, and opportunities, you might want to pursue a niche as a construction industry leader. You may also decide to expand into various niches as you climb the career ladder in construction.

Here are just a few career paths available to individuals with a solid academic or professional background in construction management:

  • Construction manager – Construction managers’ duties are generally restricted to just the construction stage of a project, although they may also be responsible for drafting cost estimates and pre-ordering materials.
  • Project manager – Unlike the relatively limited purview of a construction manager, the oversight duties of a construction project manager (also known as simply a “project manager”) extend to all stages of a building project—from collaborating to create initial designs and set project deadlines to managing ongoing relationships with key stakeholders.
  • Project supervisor – Construction project supervisors (known in the industry as simply “project supervisors”) closely monitor and lead construction projects on site with a focus on planning, organizing, and facilitating efficient operations while emphasizing safety, timeliness, and cost-effectiveness.
  • Field engineer – This highly technical construction position revolves around maximizing effectiveness and efficiency in areas that range from basic building design to raw construction materials.
  • Sustainability consultant – Experts in green design and energy consumption, sustainability consultants work at all stages of a construction project to help make environmentally-friendly buildings.

The Importance of Safety and Regulation Compliance

In all the above areas of construction management and more, adherence to relevant government and industry regulations, codes, guidelines, and standards is essential, especially when matters of safety are on the line. Aside from risks of underperforming in terms of safety concerns, non-compliance can lead to legal problems, project delays, quality reduction, and reputational damage.

Along with remaining aware of all relevant regulations, construction management professionals must ensure that they understand and follow them with an eye on strategically addressing the range of challenges they present. This means remaining up to date on the latest changes in the world of regulatory compliance and communicating effectively with team members to educate them on regulatory policy and processes.

A key industry safety compliance measure incorporated into Florida Technical College’s bachelor’s degree in construction management program, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 10 Safety introduces standard construction industry safety practices and offers guidelines to identify construction hazards and prevent accidents.

Advanced Topics in Construction Management

Beyond laying a firm foundation in general construction project management and safety principles, the best construction management programs will branch out with more specialized courses that address specific and advanced subject areas. For example, the bachelor’s in construction management program at FTC includes the following courses:

  • Construction site management – Dealing exclusively with activities at the construction site itself, this topic area also incorporates resourcing and budgeting components.
  • Construction risk and financial management – Two closely interrelated components of effective construction management, risk and financial management involve developing a clear picture of project costs and cash flow, including coverage for possible problems that might occur.
  • Engineering graphics-drawing – A basic understanding of technical engineering and architectural principles can help construction managers lead effectively and work better with professional partners in the field of design.
  • Contracts and procurements – In the construction industry, you cannot underestimate the importance of negotiating and drafting airtight and legally sound client contracts, procurement documents, and other business agreements.

Practical Experience and Hands-On Learning

While workplace training is critical in virtually every employment sector, hands-on construction experience is particularly crucial for a variety of practical and safety reasons. Like all FTC programs, the bachelor’s degree in construction management program presents ample opportunities for practical learning and the real-world application of concepts presented in the classroom.

Many people enroll in a construction management program after years of professional industry experience, while other incoming students have little to none. Regardless, FTC is strategically structured to prepare graduates for careers that demand applied skills and concrete capabilities. Specifically addressing its commitment to practical experience and hands-on learning, the college recognizes that “one of the primary reasons for people not being able to find work is that they do not possess the practical job skills that employers need for the positions that are open.”

Industry Certifications and Their Value

Depending on the particular areas of the construction management profession that interest you most, you may want to pursue construction management certifications such as a Certified Construction Manager (CCM) designation through the Construction Management Association of America, a Certified Professional Constructor (CPC) designation through the American Institute of Constructors, or a Certified Associate Constructor (CAC) designation through the American Institute of Constructors.

As part of its core curriculum, the FTC bachelor’s degree in construction management program allows students to obtain two essential industry certifications. As discussed, the industry-standard OSHA 10 Safety training certification that FTC provides shows potential employers you can keep construction teams safe and secure.

Additionally, FTC brings extra value to its construction management program by offering LEED Green Associate certification. LEED Green Associates have proven expertise in sustainable, environmentally friendly construction operations with particular concentrations in net-zero carbon emissions and climate-resilient building practices. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, construction professionals who hold the LEED Green Associate designation benefit from a wider base of career opportunities and tend to advance more quickly within the organizations that employ them.

Preparing for a Career in a Dynamic and Evolving Industry

In addition to instilling fundamental project management skills and covering key subjects such as safety and environmental practices, a quality construction management program prepares students for the evolving trends (both good and bad) that are likely to impact graduates in the real world.

As construction managers navigate the industry’s opportunities and challenges in 2024 and beyond, technology will continue to change the landscape. From the financial forecasting and construction risk management modeling capabilities of artificial intelligence to the architectural engineering and drafting capabilities of design software, tech is shaping the construction field in frankly amazing ways.

You can learn about the latest construction industry trends while laying a firm foundation of project management fundamentals at Florida Technical College. We offer a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management program at our conveniently located campus locations in Deland, Kissimmee, Lakeland, Orlando, Pembroke Pines, South Miami, and Tampa. For more information about this program or any other educational offering at FTC, fill out a short information request form today.


These examples are intended to serve only as a general guide of possible employment opportunities. There are many factors that determine the job an individual may obtain and Florida Technical College cannot guarantee its graduates any particular job. Some positions may require license or other certifications. We encourage you to research the requirements for the particular position you desire.