Given how specialized the role of construction superintendent is, it should come as no surprise that there are many certification programs designed specifically for professionals looking to become superintendents.
Keep reading to learn more about construction superintendent certifications and how to become a construction superintendent.
What is a construction superintendent?
Construction superintendents are responsible for managing the day-to-day operations on job sites. Duties include:
- coordinating subcontractors
- overseeing quality assurance initiatives
- ensuring projects remain on track (and reporting on progress to key stakeholders)
- overseeing the purchase of materials and equipment
- helping staff members understand career progression paths
- overseeing cost estimating
- mediating on-site conflicts
Larger construction projects often feature several superintendents managing daily operations together.
Learn more about the core competencies of construction superintendents.
Construction superintendent qualifications
Next, let’s discuss the qualifications and certifications professionals are expected to have prior to becoming construction superintendents.
Experience in a supervisory construction role
Construction superintendents must have at least a high-level understanding of various aspects of construction projects. Consequently, many companies hiring construction superintendents expect candidates to have several years of experience in a prior supervisory construction role (particularly ones fulfilled on job sites).
Construction project manager is an example of a role that often leads to that of a construction superintendent.
A bachelor’s degree in a relevant construction-related discipline
To become a construction superintendent, one must generally have at least a bachelor’s degree in a related subject such as construction management, engineering, or architecture. In the absence of a degree, one must typically have a significant amount of relevant work experience.
Specialized construction superintendent certification
While specialized construction superintendent certifications aren’t always a requirement to obtain this role, they often go a long way toward demonstrating one’s fitness for the job, particularly in large companies.
As we’ll discuss shortly, there are many types of construction superintendent certifications out there, including ones aimed at professionals in specific areas of construction. These specialized certifications can help cement one’s expertise.
How to become a construction superintendent
To tie the previous sections together, let’s discuss the steps involved in becoming a construction superintendent.
Step 1: Receive a traditional education in a construction-related topic
As mentioned earlier (and confirmed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), construction companies typically prefer candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree in a subject such as:
- construction management
Note: Becoming a construction superintendent without a bachelor’s degree isn’t impossible. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, professionals with only a high school diploma must have several years of professional experience. Even after satisfying this requirement, these professionals are often more likely to find work as self-employed contractors hired on a job-by-job basis.
Step 2: Begin accumulating professional construction experience
It’s uncommon for professionals to become construction superintendents right out of school. Instead, they must accumulate on-the-job experience, preferably in management roles (although it will, of course, take time to qualify for these positions as well).
Step 3: Complete construction superintendent training programs
While accumulating work experience, many professionals aiming to become construction superintendents will also pursue various construction superintendent training programs and certifications (more on the various programs available shortly).
Construction superintendent certifications and training programs
Here are a few of the most reputable construction superintendent certifications throughout North America.
1. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) certificates
Overseeing job site safety is a key responsibility for construction superintendents. Consequently, OSHA safety certificates can be valuable assets for professionals looking to demonstrate knowledge in this crucial area.
OSHA has several safety certification programs, including:
- Safety & Health Fundamentals Certificate Program
- 10-Hour and 30-Hour Cards
- Safety & Health Fundamentals Certificate Program for Construction
One key advantage of receiving certifications from OSHA, of course, is that OSHA is a U.S. federal government agency with certifications recognized nation-wide. So if there’s a chance you might ever relocate, pursuing an OSHA certification (as opposed to a more geographically-bound one) may prove wise.
2. Certified Construction Manager (CCM)
As we discussed earlier, construction management expertise is also valuable for construction professionals to demonstrate. That makes the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) credential offered by the Construction Management Association of America (CCMA) potentially valuable.
The CCMA has been around since 1982 and is widely recognized as being among America’s most reputable associations for construction managers. It has more than 16,500 members and places a significant emphasis on providing construction management-related education.
The Certified Construction Manager (CCM) designation must be obtained in four stages:
- Eligibility assessment: Applicants must have a specified amount of professional experience. Alternatively, a degree can be used to compensate for a lack of work experience.
- Application: The CCMA offers an Application Handbook detailing various information, including qualification requirements that can help potential applicants determine whether the CCM program is right for them.
- Candidacy: Following a successful application, participants in the CCM program will be advanced to candidacy, which is the stage at which they must prepare for an examination.
- Examination: Lastly, participants in the CCM program must successfully complete an examination either online or via phone.
3. Certified Safety Professional (CSP)
The Certified Safety Professional (CSP) designation is offered by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP). To be considered for this certification, one must have:
- a bachelor’s degree
- at least four years of experience in construction safety, with at least 50% of that time having been spent in a preventative role)
- another BCSP certification (i.e. Associate Safety Professional, Graduate Safety Practitioner)
Additionally, applicants must pass a CSP examination and renew their certification annually.
To prepare for the examination, participants can utilize the CSP examCORE, an application that provides more than 1,000 example questions and answers. It also comes with a guarantee (six months of free access to examCORE for participants that do not successfully pass their examination after using the tool).
Construction superintendent license and training: Conclusion
We hope this article has helped you understand the role of a construction superintendent and how to become one. For more articles about construction management, including various roles and certifications that can help professionals obtain them, visit our blog.