What’s the Difference?

Construction managers and architects play distinctly different roles in the construction process. While both are involved in single, or multi-family residential projects and commercial property construction, they differ on many levels. One of the most significant differences is that architects design structures while construction managers oversee the completion of those structures on building sites. Also, they differ in education and certification requirements.

Construction Managers

Construction managers oversee the entire construction process from choosing the right building site and design to project completion. Whether it be residential, industrial building, or office complexes, construction managers coordinate and schedule the design and building process.

Read more about The Role of a Construction Manager on our previous blog posting.


A higher education is not required to work as a construction manager. Some have climbed to the position through years of experience. Although the norm for this field is to earn a bachelor’s degree in construction management/science, engineering, or architecture.

Construction Managers who have earned their Bachelor of Science in Construction Science and Management degree learns:

  • How to manage the construction process
  • Coordinate the skilled trades
  • Sustainable building practice
  • Cost control
  • Technical theory of construction.

The Bachelor’s program also covers topics such as building technology, design visualization, construction law, and surveying. A CM with a higher education will be sure to use the best practices of construction management.


A license is not required to work as a construction manager. Instead, they can rely on years of experience. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, obtaining voluntary certification is relevant to validate the expertise of a construction manager. Construction managers who choose to earn their certification do so from the Construction Management Association of America and the American Institute of Constructors.

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The job of an architect is to design buildings and structures that are safe, energy efficient, functional, and of course, look nice. Architects work with clients to set construction objectives and budget. They also often do pre-construction assessments. Then, they will develop a final plan for project completion.  


Architects are required to earn a degree in higher education to practice. Earning a Bachelor in Architecture is a five-year program for students with no previous architectural training. Or, those who have completed a bachelor’s degree in another field can opt for a master’s degree in architecture to earn their expertise in the area.  


All 50 states require architects to obtain a license. To become licensed, they must complete a professional degree in architecture, complete a three-year internship, and earn a passing score on the Architect Registration Examination.

Rocky Creek Construction

Rocky Creek Construction works closely with certified architects. We manage all the working parts, so you don’t have to. Contact us to find out how we can help you with your new commercial building construction or office remodeling project.

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