According to an April 2021 survey by Software Advice, 33% of construction businesses say winning more bids is their top short-term goal for the next six months. (Read the survey methodology here.)
With a third of construction businesses vying for more bids, it’s a great time to consider pursuing certifications to stand out among your competitors. From safety protocols to environmental buildings, there are many different kinds of construction certification programs to choose from.
If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got you covered. We’ve put together a list of six in-demand construction certifications—based on information from Indeed—to help you achieve your business goals. But first, let’s cover what construction certifications are.
What is a construction certification?
Construction professionals should have proper training before they get to work, and construction certifications help provide such training. They cover many different aspects of working in construction, from operating cranes and other equipment to following safety standards at job sites.
A construction certification can improve your company’s appeal to clients, raise your standards for work-site safety, and diversify the kinds of projects your organization can take on.
Because of the wide range of certifications available, no matter what you do within the construction industry, there’s likely a certificate program to help further your business goals.
6 in-demand construction certifications
1. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
OSHA is a well-known name in construction—to say the least—and the government agency offers an Outreach Training Program that covers common on-the-job safety and health hazards.
The OSHA Outreach Training Program for the Construction Industry trains workers and employers on recognizing, avoiding, abating, and preventing safety and health hazards at workplaces.
OSHA is essential for the safety of all construction workers, and since its establishment in 1971, it has helped reduce workplace fatalities by over 50%. This is impressive considering that between OSHA’s founding year and 2001, U.S. employment nearly doubled from 56 million workers to 105 million workers.
You can take a 10-hour or a 30-hour course, depending on your needs. The 10-hour course is meant for entry-level workers, while the 30-hour course provides workers with a greater depth and variety of training. There are no prerequisites for both courses.
2. Certified Safety Manager (CSM)
If you’re interested in pursuing a safety management role, opt for the Certified Safety Manager (CSM) certification. By becoming a Certified Safety Manager, you’ll prepare yourself to work without supervision. You’ll also be ready to oversee safety programs, procedures, and policies for your business.
The National Association of Safety Professionals (NASP) offers a 40-hour course that prepares you to take the CSM exam. There are no prerequisites for the program, but you’ll need to draw upon previous knowledge and experience with workplace safety.
3. American Concrete Institute (ACI)
The American Concrete Institute (ACI) is an organization dedicated to developing standards and technical resources for concrete design and construction. ACI offers 30 certification programs covering the testing, inspection, and construction of projects that use concrete.
Whether you’re a construction project manager, laborer, or business owner, you can benefit from being ACI certified. Your next construction project may be subject to local, state, or national building codes or specifications that require an ACI-certified personnel on the job site. Being eligible to capitalize on those opportunities is why more than 550,000 craftsmen, technicians, inspectors, and other concrete professionals have pursued the ACI certification.
There are no prerequisites for the program, but the organization does recommend ACI online training to prepare for the exam.
4. Certified Construction Manager (CCM)
If you already have some experience in construction management, you’ve probably heard of the Construction Manager Certification Program. Through this program, construction professionals like you can become a Certified Construction Manager (CCM).
The CCM program is offered by the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA). The CMAA describes its CCM program as the “gold standard” in construction management and claims it’s the only construction management certification accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
The CCM program teaches management techniques designed to help you learn how to manage projects more efficiently to stay on time and on budget. Here are the prerequisites for obtaining your CCM certificate:
- Four years of leadership experience in skills listed by the CMAA
- Eight years of work experience in construction or design
- Two client references
You need to renew your certification every three years by completing required training activities, paying a recertification fee, and passing the CCM exam.
5. Green Business Certification (LEED)
The nonresidential green buildings industry is expected to be valued at $103 billion in 2023. For that reason, it makes sense for construction practices to be proficient in sustainable design.
To obtain this proficiency, you can apply for various green business certifications from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the organization responsible for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certificate.
If you are new to green building practices, the LEED Green Associate certification is your best option. The exam is two hours long, and the USGBC provides resources to help you prepare. There are no prerequisites, but each project your construction company takes on, once certified, must meet certain criteria to qualify as a LEED-certified project.
Post certification, you must earn 15 continuing education hours from the USGBC within two years of the certification exam. For more in-depth information on the LEED Green Associate and other USGBC certifications, check out the LEED certification guide.
6. American Institute of Constructors
The American Institute of Contractors offers a Constructor Certification Program for construction workers and managers. The program has two certifications: Associate Constructor (AC) and Certified Professional Constructor (CPC).
The AC certification is for construction workers with any level of experience and trains them in various general areas of construction, such as engineering, estimating and bidding, and project planning. The CPC certification is ideal for established constructors who have several years of project oversight experience and want to take their career to the next level.
While there are no official prerequisites for either the AC or CPC certification, it’s recommended to have some prior knowledge of or experience in construction management.
*Software Advice conducted this survey in April 2021 for 538 U.S.-based small-business workers in the construction/contracting industry. Respondents were screened for employment status (employed full time), annual business revenue (<$100 million), and number of employees at the respondent’s company (1-250).