Construction Manager Qualifications: What You Need to Know

Construction Manager Qualifications

Construction Manager Qualifications are generally some of the most difficult qualifications to gain in the industry, as they require years of experience and specific skills. For a construction manager, qualifications can prove to be very beneficial, allowing you to gain your black CSCS card and certify your position.

What are the Main Construction Manager Qualifications?

The most popular construction manager qualifications tend to be the NVQ level 6 and the SMSTS qualification. Most experienced construction site managers in the United Kingdom will have obtained or be working toward a NVQ level 6 or NVQ level 7 since the phasing out of industry accredited CSCS cards. Many will also have a SMSTS qualification to ensure that their health and safety knowledge is up to date.

NVQ Level 6

The NVQ level 6 is reserved for experienced construction site managers and contracts managers who have a wealth of knowledge in their respective fields. The NVQ level 6 is a work-based assessment of competency, in which a candidate is observed undertaking certain specifications as required.

The NVQ level 6 will allow you to get your black manager’s CSCS card and legitimise your position as a construction site manager.

Construction Manager Qualifications

NVQ Level 7

Senior site managers may opt to complete a NVQ level 7. This is a more advanced qualification than the NVQ level 6 as is reserved for those in charge of large-scale operations and usually running the business.

NVQ Level 4

You can technically complete a NVQ level 4 as a construction site manager, but this is generally regarded as a qualification for those who are working at a more junior level. Typically, the NVQ level 6 is the industry standard for experienced construction managers.


SMSTS or the Site Management Safety Training Scheme is a valuable qualification, endorsed by the CITB and designed for construction managers.  

Learn more in our guide: What is an SMSTS Course?

Do I Need SMSTS to apply for my Black CSCS Card?

Whilst SMSTS is a highly regarded Construction Manager Qualification, you do not need this qualification to obtain your black CSCS Card. SMSTS may be important for some employers, but the CSCS does not require you to complete a SMSTS course to gain your black card. It is recommended that you obtain this qualification however to ensure that your health and safety knowledge is up to date.

Black CSCS Card

Possibly the most recognisable construction manager qualification or certification is the black CSCS card. This card is generally regarded as the industry standard for construction site managers. To obtain a black CSCS card, you must complete a NVQ level 6 and the Managers CITB Health and Safety Test. After this, you must pay a fee of £36 to the CSCS to obtain the physical card.

Learn more about applying for your black CSCS card on the CSCS website.

Construction Manager Qualifications

Completing the Manager’s CITB Health and Safety Test

In order to apply for your black CSCS card you must also complete a CITB Health Safety and Environment Test. This is the same for any CSCS card. You will need to complete the Manager test, which will allow you to apply for your black CSCS card. Without the test, you will not be able to apply for your black card. The CITB Health and Safety test will cost you £22.50 and must only be paid to the CITB.

You can apply for your Managers CITB Health and safety test on the CITB website

Construction Manager Qualifications

Do I need Construction Manager Qualifications?

Most construction firms will require their managers to have the correct training, health and safety knowledge and qualifications. This is due in large part to the nature of construction management and the level of responsibility. Having a NVQ level 6 in construction site management, or NVQ level 7 in construction senior site management and a black CSCS card can often be a requirement for a site manager, though it is not a legal requirement.

How to start your next Construction Manager Qualification

If you’re looking to obtain a NVQ and gain your black manager’s CSCS card, we’ll be able to provide the qualification you need with no time away from work and no classrooms! Learn more about how you can save £1500 on the cost of your qualification…

NVQ Level 6

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