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June 8, 2020
Whether building bridges and highways or houses and buildings, leaders in construction oversee the process from beginning to end. The roles of construction superintendents and project managers are vital for the completion of a construction project. Those looking to pursue careers in the industry should first understand the similarities and differences in a career as a construction superintendent versus a project manager.
There are many differences and similarities between roles for construction superintendents versus project managers.Those working in these jobs are in charge of ensuring that construction projects have a budget and adhere to it. Both construction superintendents and project managers must have an education and several years of experience in the field. Even though their jobs vary, these two types of construction leaders should demonstrate excellent communication skills, as they both work with their employers, administrators, and construction workers.
The primary difference in a construction superintendent versus a project manager is that construction superintendents work on construction sites alongside their construction workers, while project managers typically oversee the administrative aspects of a project and work off-site. A construction superintendent supervises a job site as the construction manager or foreman, whereas a project manager monitors the process and progress from a distance, handling problems and making decisions.
A construction superintendent is the individual who oversees every step of the construction process, from planning to completion. They are in charge of conducting interviews and selecting the workers they want on the job site. Some construction superintendents specialize in a certain type of construction, whether residential, commercial, or industrial. They take full responsibility for their jobs sites, overseeing everything from making schedules to selecting materials. The following essential skills are required for construction superintendents:
A project manager is the person who plans, schedules, and executes a project. Their duties involve preparing the team for work, forecasting and determining what work needs to be done for various stages of the project, and estimating project completion costs. Some of their critical responsibilities include budgeting and helping to procure land for a project. The following essential skills are required for project managers:
As long as people continue to need houses, buildings, freeways, parks, and bridges, there will remain a need for construction superintendents and project managers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects the employment of construction managers to grow 10% between 2018 and 2028, which is faster than most careers. The annual median salary for construction managers, according to the BLS, is $93,370.
Gaining experience in construction management is important for achieving a leadership position in the field. While employers may look for different amounts of experience in construction superintendents versus project managers, construction workers typically need around four years of experience before they can move into leadership roles. To manage projects effectively, construction managers should be familiar with the process of construction projects and how to engage with other workers on the job site.
Education is also essential for a leadership position in construction management. Most employers will expect a construction superintendent or project manager to have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, construction science, or construction management. Individuals can pursue an online Bachelor of Science in Construction Management and prepare for careers in construction management by completing general education coursework and taking specialized courses such as Construction Surveying, Construction Materials and Methods, Construction Contracting, and Construction Project Management.
Individuals who have already developed an educational foundation in the field can pursue a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Construction Management. They can take specialized courses in construction estimating, construction scheduling and cost control, and structural principles and practices.
Since experience and education are necessary for leadership roles in construction management, many individuals choose to pursue an online education that allows them to continue gaining professional experience in the field.
Students starting off their educational journey in the field can earn the Bachelor of Science in Construction Management to develop a foundation of knowledge. Individuals who have already completed their undergraduate degree can further develop their knowledge and skills by earning the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Construction Management. Explore how LSU Online can help you discover your options and prepare for a rewarding career in the field.