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Knowledge & Experience: How Much is Necessary for Construction Supervisors?


“Only Those With Experience Need Apply.”

 That phrase used to be the common enigma faced by many men and women choosing a career or hunting a job. “How can I have experience if I can’t get a job where I can get experience?”

Those days have largely disappeared along with the classified ads and the newspapers in which they appeared. Although transformations in technology capture most of the headlines, industry standards, and federal regulations have also undergone significant changes, not the least of which are educational requirements. Even the scope of education has evolved into inclusion of internships and hands-on mentoring, such that education and experience are now part and parcel of “The Blueprint for Becoming a World-Class Construction Supervisor.”



Let’s start the learning!

What Education Do You Need?

Educational requirements may vary from state to state and company to company. However, there are some commonalities across the construction industry. “Competency” is required by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for persons to become construction supervisors. ANSI says that “Competence is normally achieved or demonstrated through one or more of the following: education, training, mentoring, experience, certification, licensing, and performance assessment.

Therefore, the education you need depends on your career expectations. While opportunities exist for those with no more than a high school diploma, one must recognize that those opportunities will likely be limited to small companies and small projects. It’s how an individual chooses to build on that basic foundation that will determine the extent of his or her career potential.

Persons who obtain a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a field like Construction Technology will have multiple and greater options. Certification from Construction Management Association of America is a necessity for anyone supervisor at any level. Many states, such as Massachusetts, require certification, which itself requires studying building codes, methods, standards, and laws governing the trade.

RECOMMENDATION: Don’t look at higher education as a delay. Consider it a head start.

In addition to knowledge related directly to construction, employers recognize the need to be educated in other skills including

  • Knowledge of raw materials
  • Cost control
  • Quality assurance
  • Safety
  • Administration and management
  • Communication skills, including being multilingual

I’m getting a head start on education and experience.

What Experience Do You Need?

Some construction careers require apprenticeships, such as plumbers and electricians. It stands to reason that construction supervisors need more than book learning. Although some candidates may become construction supervisors with one or two years of training, the average construction supervisor has from four to six years of work experience and on the job training with experienced supervisors in addition to classroom training.

Just as important as proving construction skills, candidates for the position of construction supervisor should expect to demonstrate the other critical characteristics during their training. Some of the leading in-demand characteristics may surprise you. They are Integrity, Dependability, Leadership and Active Listening.

Other high-demand skills for construction supervisors include

  • Attention to detail
  • Analytical thinking
  • Adaptability
  • Cooperative spirit
  • Concern for others

Only experience can prove that an individual possesses these significant qualities.

Alexander Graham Bell saw education and experience as preparation. He wisely said that “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” Our mission is to help prepare you for success as a construction supervisor. Our Construction Supervisor License classes are designed to help you reach your goal and meet the high standards of the position you seek. Take our Construction Supervisor License classes for free.

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