Frank A. Wilson initially earned a certificate at The Construction Prep Center before entering the field as a tradesman. He then returned to school to complete his Bachelor of Science in Management at Albany State University. After earning his degree, he worked for a few years as a journeyman laborer, and then decided to study for his Master of Science in Construction Management at Washington University. He made the decision to continue his education after his employer told him that he needed to advance his technical knowledge in the field.
Washington University offers 1 of the top construction management degrees in the country. The program’s director has over 30 years of experience and is the third generation in his family to work in this industry. Frank admits that he was initially concerned that he might be at a disadvantage in his masters degree program since he was somewhat older than most of his fellow students. However, he quickly realized that his years of hands-on experience in construction had provided him with useful practical knowledge that most of his peers did not have.
For 2 years, Frank continued to work full-time while he studied for his masters degree. This was possible because Washington University offered night classes for his construction management degree. During this time, he also earned his graduate certificate in project management.
Frank tries to promote the field of construction management whenever he has the opportunity. In addition to his position as adjunct professor of civil engineering at Washington University, he still works on construction projects and even volunteers at job fairs. In addition to raising the profile of the construction management profession, he says that his diverse activities actually help to improve his performance on the job.
Although Frank enjoys promoting and educating people about his profession, he also cautions that people should not have unrealistic expectations about the job outlook in this profession. In the past decade, the housing market has been unstable, and so has the job market for construction managers. He says that a successful construction manager has to be creative these days.
If you are interested in this profession, Frank recommends that you work on your networking skills and educate yourself about new and emerging technologies in this field. The most successful construction managers are proactive learners who understand that this line of work requires a life-long commitment to continuing education. And while your classroom education will equip you with critical knowledge about construction management, Frank says that no formal education can fully prepare you for your first day on the job. More than almost anything else, experience is the key to success in this profession.