To become a certified construction manager, you will need ample years of experience in the field, as well as qualifications to back it up. Building work and construction as a field is becoming more competitive, and the need for qualifications to access the field and progress is more and more becoming a regular thing.
A Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as construction management, engineering, or architecture is advantageous, although not necessarily required. For example, if you are an experienced construction worker, then these years of employed work will prove your experience as a construction worker and set you in good stead to become a manager.
You will need a certification to become a certified construction manager. The most popular ones are the Certified Construction Manager (CCM), Associate Constructor (AC), and Certified Professional Constructor (CPC).
You will need to pay for these programs, but there is funding available under COOL programs. Once you have completed the qualification, you will be seen as a Certified Construction Manager – with the proof to back it up!
Most employers will look for these qualifications and experience when hiring a construction manager. This experience doesn’t necessarily need to be in a management role, but experience working in the construction field for a few years.
Some certifications and employers like eight years of experience working in construction before becoming a construction manager, although this is not a hard and fast rule.
Qualifications aside, there is a collection of skills that you will also need to possess to be a certified construction manager. You will need to have excellent time management skills, technical construction skills, and customer service skills.
You will need to be well versed in these and organize yourself and others to deliver successful construction work that satisfies your customers.
Thankfully most of these skills can be developed as your career progresses, allowing for success as a certified construction manager.
How long does it take to become a certified construction manager?
The time it takes to become a certified construction manager varies depending on the certificate they are undertaking and their experience. For example, you need to have eight years of experience to qualify for the CPC certification before beginning the qualification.
Eight years is deemed essential for candidates to successfully pass the written exams, where they will need to detail the application and provide analysis of construction practices.
However, if you already have a relevant Bachelor’s degree (architecture, construction management, etc.), then you will only need four years of experience in the field before undertaking the management qualification.
The courses themselves vary in length, depending on whether you do them full-time or part-time; the CCM, Certified Construction Manager qualification, is the most popular and takes roughly 1-2 years to complete.
You will need to log hours in a management or supervisory role and have evidence of these. It’s best to discuss these with your current employer before undertaking the course so they can make the necessary arrangements and support you.
If you work freelance or run your own business, you will still need proof of these hours, and it’s best to contact the examining body for specific advice tailored to your situation. Once you have completed this experience, you can take the exam.
However, we advise that you also build in some time to revise and prepare for the exam. You can do this while completing your experience or dedicate time to prepare; the choice is yours.
We think it helps make notes of your experiences and prepare for the exam while completing your necessary experience. In addition, it means you won’t forget anything and can relate your exam to real-world experiences you have had in a supervisor or management position.
The CCM exam takes 4 hours (240 minutes) to complete and covers a range of topics. You will be expected to answer questions based on the following topics:
- Cost Management
- Professional Practice
- Program and Project Management
- Risk Management
- Contract Administration
- Quality Management
- Safety Management
- Time management
The exam is designed to be very practical and determine that you are aware of all risks and factors that need to be considered when undertaking and managing construction work.
Depending on the qualification you are undertaking, the time and practical work required will vary, but you can expect these topics to be covered.
We recommend checking out the CMAA Handbook Guide for more information about the CCM exam and how you can best prepare for this!
It’s worth noting that once you have passed your exam and been recognized as a certified construction manager, you will need to renew it every few years to remain up to date and certified.
Whether you need to and how often will depend on the qualification you are undertaking and will be made clear to you before you undertake your studies.
How hard is the Certified Construction Manager exam?
The Certified Construction Manager (CCM) exam is considered to be quite hard. As we saw earlier, you will have 4 hours to answer questions on various topics, all relating to your capabilities as a construction manager.
In addition, you are assessed based on your general knowledge of design and construction, following the norms the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) establishes as the norm. You can find out more information about this by contacting them directly.
To pass the exam, you will need at least 71%. The computer-based test can be quite tricky, and we recommend being extremely well prepared to ensure you pass the first time and begin working as a certified construction manager. You must allow plenty of time to revise and prepare for the exam.
An excellent way to prepare for this exam is to read the Handbook Guide the CMAA provides. The guide is full of helpful tips that can help you prepare and the guidelines you need to follow. These guidelines are very strict, and you need to follow them carefully to ensure you can successfully sit and pass your exam.
It’s worth reading these carefully and raising any questions with your supervisor or exam board in plenty of time; you don’t want to panic at the last minute, do you?