Technically, no one needs any construction certifications to be in the construction industry. In fact, most people can begin their career as an apprentice working on a construction site.
That being said, the construction industry is filled with specialty positions and opportunities as long as you have the right training and education. From concrete mixing to tower crane operations, several certifications can enhance your career.
Although certification isn’t strictly necessary, continuing your education shows employers that you’re committed to your career. The right certifications can help you stand out above the rest, increasing your value and worth.
Here is a list of 17 common and useful construction certifications that you can earn.
Table of Contents
- OSHA Training
- National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES)
- ACI Certification
- Green Business Certification (LEED)
- Aerial Lift Training
- Crane Operation Certification
- Certified Associate Constructor (CAC)
- Certified Professional Constructor (CPC)
- Construction Management Association of America — Certified Construction Manager (CCM)
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- Certified Safety Manager (CSM)
- Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST)
- Safety Trained Supervisor Construction (STSC)
- Credit Business Associate (CBA)
- Certified Construction Industry Financial Professional (CCIFP)
- Associate and Bachelor’s Degree
- Master’s Degree
1. OSHA Training
Duration: 10-30 hours
Technically, OSHA doesn’t offer any certification courses — you only need proper training to learn how to be safe and not endanger others on the worksite. OSHA only offers courses, and trainers can be “authorized.”
OSHA does offer a training program where students earn an official Department of Labor 10- or 30-hour training card. Although not required by OSHA, many states, on certain worksites, require every worker to have a Department of Labor card.
OSHA guidelines indicate proper training standards are to be implemented for any new employees on the job site. Although earning a DOL labor card can showcase your commitment to training, workers only need to be appropriately trained to be OSHA compliant.
2. National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES)
Price: $175 exam fee
Duration: 6 hours (exam)
The National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES) offers certifications for engineering and surveying. Both positions are crucial for the public’s safety and benefit as only those uniquely qualified and who meet the national nonprofit’s standards are allowed to become certified in engineering or surveying.
The NCEES’s process of becoming licensed includes taking their licensing exam and having the right amount of education and experience. The education and experience requirements differ by state, so check your state’s licensing board to see what you’ll need to qualify for the licensing exam.
3. ACI Certification
The American Concrete Institute (ACI) offers almost 30 different certifications on nearly everything about concrete. Although it may appear to be simple enough (mix a little cement and water), those in construction understand the science behind it. To earn their certification, candidates must pass a test, for which the ACI offers resources to help you prepare.
Because ACI-certified professionals keep up with the latest skills — like anchoring and testing — many local, national and international organizations require companies to have an ACI-certified professional on the job site. Luckily, you’ll only need to take the certification course once, as the ACI certification is recognized worldwide.
Depending on which certification you take, the exact time and price of the certification can vary.
4. Green Business Certification (LEED)
Duration: 2 hours (LEED exam)
An increasing number of people today choose to construct more sustainable buildings — and for a good reason. Not only are they good for the planet, but the psychological benefit of green buildings is also remarkable.
The Green Business Certification Inc.’s (GBCI) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) professional certification program independently recognizes proficiency in green building and design. It starts with earning a Green Associate credential, which signifies a person’s understanding of sustainable building practices. Afterward, candidates can pursue more certifications offered through GBCI’s LEED program.
If you’re inexperienced in green building, the LEED Green Associate is great for those who are just starting. However, the GBCI also has several other certifications as well, and any one of them can put you on the map as a global leader of green construction.
5. Aerial Lift Training
Price: $75 (exam)
Duration: Training + exam (varies)
Aerial lifts, or boom lifts, have many uses in and around construction sites. To reduce the risk of injuries, OSHA requires training completion and a certification program to operate boom lifts. Getting certified doesn’t take too long, but it’s best to undergo proper training beforehand. Luckily, there are amazing training and certification courses available to everyone.
Many sites will either require proof of certification or pay employees to earn certification — which shows how practical and useful an aerial lift certification can be on construction sites.
6. Crane Operation Certification
Price: $50 – $350
Duration: Varies based on the type of crane
To operate any type of crane, construction professionals must hold certification for operating the specific crane in use. The National Commission for the Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing effective performance standards for safe crane operations.
The NCCCO offers training and exams for many cranes. The organization also provides a variety of crane operating certificates, such as crane inspectors and lift director certifications. The NCCCO’s goal is to deliver premier education and effective safety standards for those working in and around cranes.
7. Certified Associate Constructor (CAC)
Price: $165 – $235 (exam only)
Duration: 1 month + continuing education
For those looking to work in construction management, the Certified Associate Constructor (CAC) program* can be a great step toward your goal. This certification, offered by the American Institute of Constructors (AIC), helps recent graduates of construction management programs or those transitioning from other industries to gain management capabilities, like:
- Communication skills
- Bidding and estimating
- Budgeting and cost control
- Planning and scheduling control
- Construction safety knowledge
This program is offered twice a year in the spring and fall and requires continuing education to maintain the certification.
*Formerly known as the Associate Constructor (AC) certification
8. Certified Professional Constructor (CPC)
Price: $500 – $675
Duration: 1 Month
After receiving the CAC certification and gaining a few years of experience supervising projects, construction professionals can enroll in the Certified Professional Constructor (CPC) program. This certification is a higher level than the introductory CAC program.
The CPC certification aims to help construction professionals in management tracks set themselves apart for promotions and advance their careers.
9. Construction Management Association of America—Certified Construction Manager (CCM)
Price: $385 (application and exam only)
Duration: 6+ years
A certified construction manager (CCM) is committed to the excellence of construction management. The CCM showcases an individual’s dedication to construction planning, designing, project management and safety. Those who earn this construction certification receive recognition for their leadership, promoting project and program success.
The CCM, issued by the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA), is the gold standard of construction management credentials and proves you are up to date with industry best practices. The certification requires a four-year bachelor’s degree and four or more years of construction management experience — or eight years of construction experience with four years in management if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree.
10. Project Management Professional (PMP)
Price: $405 – $575
Another certification that can help construction workers advance in leadership positions is the Project Management Professional® (PMP)® certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). As the name suggests, this certification demonstrates that the holder understands and possesses key skills for project management in construction, like:
- Motivating teams through project completion
- Predicting which approaches will work best for different projects
- Analyzing the success of a project for future reference
Project managers with the PMP certification in the U.S. have salaries that are 32% higher on average, so it can be a worthwhile investment. To be eligible for this certification, you will need either a four-year degree with three years of industry experience or a high school diploma with five years of industry experience.
11.Certified Safety Manager (CSM)
Duration: 40 hours
Safety managers are important to any construction team. They help prevent fatal accidents and know how to write a construction safety plan that mitigates other risks on-site.
With such critical responsibilities, it’s not surprising this role typically requires intensive training. Most people in safety roles have a four-year degree and five years of industry experience. It can also help to have certifications, such as the Certified Safety Manager (CSM) Training Course offered by the National Association of Safety Professionals (NASP).
This course certifies that the holder understands construction site safety fundamentals like following OSHA requirements, developing safety programs, investigating workplace accidents and creating an effective safety culture in the workplace.
12. Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST)
Duration: 20+ hours
The Construction Health and Safety Technician® (CHST®), offered by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP), helps construction workers in leadership positions understand proper safety practices to keep their team away from danger. Many professionals use this certification to advance their careers toward higher safety management positions.
To be eligible, workers must work part- or full-time in a construction role that requires safety knowledge. They must also have three years of industry experience. To maintain their certification, CHST holders must stay current on annual fees.
13. Safety Trained Supervisor Construction (STSC)
Duration: 20+ hours
Another BCSP construction safety certification that might interest supervisors is the Safety Trained Supervisor Construction (STSC) program. This program trains candidates in tasks like monitoring job sites for safety hazards, ensuring compliance with safety regulations, documenting safety processes and communicating with management about team safety.
To be eligible for the STSC program, candidates must have 30 hours of safety, health and environmental training. They also must have either two years of experience as a supervisor or four years of construction experience.
14. Credit Business Associate (CBA)
Price: $410 – $820
Duration: 2 semesters
Construction workers who deal with financial management may want to obtain the Credit Business Associate (CBA) certification, offered by the National Association of Credit Management (NACM). This certification shows that the holder is versed in basic accounting, financial statement analysis and business credit principles.
This program does not require any previous work experience to be eligible to enroll. Candidates can prepare for the certification exam with coursework at a local college, NACM’s online courses or through self-study.
15. Certified Construction Industry Financial Professional (CCIFP)
Duration: 2 weeks
The Certified Construction Industry Financial Professional (CCIFP) program signals that the holder is versed in key financial management principles like accounting, reporting, budgeting, risk management, taxes, HR and legal requirements. Plus, a recent study found that over half of workers (52%) who obtained this certification saw a salary increase as a result.
To be eligible, you’ll need to meet one of the following scenarios:
- A bachelor’s degree or higher, with at least 12 credits of business coursework.
- An associate degree, with at least 12 credits of business coursework, plus 4,000 hours of professional financial experience.
- A high school diploma or equivalent plus 8,000 hours of professional financial experience.
After receiving the CCIFP certification, holders will need to meet recertification requirements, including a $200 annual maintenance fee.
16. Associate and Bachelor’s Degree
Duration: 2-4+ years
While there are various paths to becoming a construction manager, having some form of education is becoming increasingly important.
Typically, construction managers will have some form of higher education plus on-the-job experience. While it’s possible to become a construction manager with only an associate degree, or even a high school diploma, more education is usually helpful.
Any aspiring construction manager should look into earning a bachelor’s degree. Some of the most common among construction managers are in construction management, construction science, engineering or architecture.
17. Master’s Degree
Price: $25,000 – $53,000+
Duration: 2+ years
For construction professionals who want to go into the finer details of things, a master’s degree can be a great way to grow in the field. Although typically not needed for the everyday worker, attending graduate school will increase your knowledge in a variety of fields, including engineering, construction ethics, history and construction management skills.
Many graduate schools offer a variety of degrees to choose from, and although it’s no easy matter, continuing your education in this way can significantly assist you in your work.
Which Certification is Right for You?
Construction certifications showcase your dedication to your professional career, but
that doesn’t mean you need all of them. Only pursue those that interest you or that align with your career goals. For instance, if you don’t want to become a construction manager, a management certification won’t do you any good.
Receiving the right certifications can benefit you and your career. It can show employers that you’re dedicated to learning and improving your skills, making you more valuable. And the more useful you make yourself, the better the pay can be — especially with so many cities hiring for new construction jobs across the country.
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*All prices are estimated ranges based on the time of publishing.