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Construction Certifications For Subcontractors That Are Actually Useful

Published: December 22, 2021
Last updated: January 11, 2023
Read time: 5 minutes

Construction certifications are given from a variety of organizations including government agencies, private companies, and construction associations. This is a comprehensive guide of construction certifications that we believe are the best in the industry.

How to decide what certifications are right for you

There are tons of construction certifications out there, but not all are created equal. Before getting certifications you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will you learn something new and useful becoming certified?
  • Will the certification allow you to complete a new type of work?
  • Will the certification give you an edge over other professionals in your industry?

If the answer is yes to any of those questions we would argue that it is worth becoming certified. Certifications should show people that you possess the knowledge to successfully complete new tasks or jobs.

Expert Advice: There are two certifications that we believe everyone in the construction industry should have. The first is a OSHA 10 hour certification, and the second is a FAA Part 107 UAS certification. Part of the reason everyone should have these is because the knowledge you learn is backed by government agencies, but the real reason is that they are by far the most useful and easily attainable certifications in the construction industry. You can read more information about the two certifications in the descriptions below. 

1. OSHA 10 & 30 Hour Certifications

Cost: $80-$170

Time to Complete: 10 or 30 hours depending on the certification


The OSHA outreach training program provides you with more advanced training on safety practices and health hazards on your job sites. The 10 hour certification is appropriate for supervisors or workers to obtain. The 30 hour certification should be obtained by supervisors or workers if you will possess any construction safety oversight responsibilities on your job sites. This is a great certification to obtain because some companies require it, it is very easy to obtain, and every construction project has hazards. Knowing safe ways to identify and minimize those hazards should be something everyone on a jobsite is able to do.

To find all the information you need to get your OSHA 10-Hour and/or OSHA 30-Hour cards visit the OSHA website.

2. FAA Part 107 UAS (Commercial Drone) Certification

Cost:Testing fee is $175, you do not need to take a class, but if you want to they are available online for roughly $100

Time to Complete: 10-30 hours of studying prior to the exam (varies from person to person)


If you want to set yourself apart from your coworkers, get a FAA Part 107 UAS Certification. This certification allows you to fly small unmanned aerial drones commercially. If your construction company isn’t already using drones they probably will be in the next 2-10 years, so you should take the opportunity to become your company’s expert in drone operations. 

Construction drones can speed up surveying activities, reporting and tracking requirements, and inspections. A $5,000 drone could save your company hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a year, but only if you or someone in your company has an FAA certification allowing them to fly drones commercially. 

The process to become certified as a commercial drone pilot is simple, and relatively cheap. To get certified follow the instructions to become a drone pilot on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) website. 

3. Professional Surveying Licensure – NCEES Certification

Cost: $175 exam fee

Time to Complete: The exam takes around 6 hours to complete, but the actual training/education time is much greater. In certain states you may have to practice under another licensed Professional Surveyor for four years. 


Whether you are working at a small or large construction company, surveying is an invaluable skill to obtain. While you don’t need to get a certification for a lot of surveying activities in construction you do need a surveying license in order to legally undertake a survey to mark the boundaries of a property. 

If you want to be able to help manage surveying crews or complete your own surveying then getting your professional surveying license may be a great fit. Each state has different licensing requirements. The NCEES (National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveyors) is the governing body for surveying certifications and testing. In order to become a licensed surveyor, reference the NCEES webpage to determine the requirements for your state. 

4. ACI Certification

Cost: Varies depending on which ACI certification you are trying to obtain

Time to Complete: Varies depending on which ACI certification you are trying to obtain


The American Concrete Institute (ACI) provides a certification program for craftsmen, technicians, inspectors, and other concrete professionals. Over 550,000 construction professionals have obtained an ACI certification in the nearly 30 different construction testing, inspection, and construction activities regarding concrete construction. 

If you work with concrete or anything involving aggregates these certifications are some of the most useful certifications to obtain. In some cases you may be required by your contract documents to have someone on your team obtain specific ACI certifications in order to verify testing, and inspection activities that are being performed on your jobsite. 

To learn more about the 30 certification opportunities given by the ACI you can visit ACI’s site.

5. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Credentials

Cost: $250-$550

Time to Complete: The exam takes 2 hours, but actual education time varies depending on the certification and education you decide to complete


Obtaining a LEED credential shows a proficiency in sustainable design, construction, and operations standards. Over 203,000 professionals have earned their LEED credentials to assist in advancing their careers

A LEED credential denotes proficiency in today’s sustainable design, construction and operations standards. More than 203,000 professionals have earned a LEED credential to help advance their careers. Showcase your knowledge, experience and credibility in the green building marketplace as a LEED professional.

There are two LEED credentials that can be obtained-

LEED Green Associate: Signifies core competency in green building principles. This certification is ideal for those that are new to green building.

LEED AP with Specialty: This is an advanced LEED certification that signifies an expertise in green building and the LEED rating system. This certification is ideal for those that are actively working on green building and LEED projects. 

To learn more on how to become certified visit the U.S. Green Building Council website.

6. National Association of Safety Professionals (NASP) Certifications

Cost: Varies depending on what certifications you get

Time to Complete: Varies depending on what certifications you get


The National Association of Safety Professionals certifies that you have acquired in depth knowledge of the OSHA requirements of 29 CFR 1926 as well as other regulatory requirements for construction sites, general industry, municipalities and federal government workplaces where construction may occur. 

If you are planning to be a safety specialist for your company the NASP offers several certifications that are right for you. It will allow you to confidently create and review safety plans, jobsite safety requirements, and create safety programs for your entire company. 

If you want to find out more about getting a NASP certification check out the NASP website

7. Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) – Certified Construction Manager (CCM)

Cost: The test costs $385, this does not include membership fees for CMAA or educational fees. 

Time to Complete: The certification takes 6+ years to complete


In order to obtain a CCM certification you must have a 4-year bachelors degree and 4+ years of construction management experience or you must have 8 years of construction experience with 4+ years of construction management experience. 

Requiring this level of experience means that everyone who holds a CCM certification is incredibly knowledgeable in construction management, and that you are up to date with the industry standards and best practices. To keep the CCM certification credentials as meaningful and useful as possible the CMAA assigned an independent administrative body to govern the construction management credentials. It is governed by a Board of Governors made up of construction management professionals that are responsible for creating policies and procedures affecting the criteria for professional credentials. 

If you’re interested in obtaining or beginning to obtain a CCM certification you can visit the website for the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA)


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Hayden AbrevayaProduct Marketer

Hayden has worked in the heavy civil construction industry in estimating, project management, and concrete production. He is an avid learner and lean construction proponent who believes that the construction industry is ready for technological advancements in all aspects of the construction process. At Billd he uses his skills to help contractors grow their companies by providing them the information they need to win more bids, and take on more projects.

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