The American Institute of Constructors began offering certification in 1996 with its aim being to raise the level of individual professionalism within the related fields of construction. Through it’s two levels of certification, the Associate Constructor (AC) and the Certified Professional Constructor (CPC), over 24,000 individuals have sought certification. The goal of the AIC was to provide construction professionals with an opportunity to be viewed in the same professional light as the Architect or Engineer. In 2014, the AIC completed its multi-year effort to become ANSI Accredited, this effort was something AIC saw as essential to the long-term viability of their certification program.
Over the years the programs have continued to see normal periods of growth and contraction, typically in line with the economy. The main obstacle has been true nationwide acceptance by companies. Many that have used the CPC as a method of pre-qualifying job candidates, some owners (those buying construction services) have required their contractor management team have a CPC on staff, but nothing that has provided the spark for growth that leadership always thought was possible.
The Associate Constructor program has continued to see growth in its usage. Today, nearly 50 ACCE (American Council for Construction Education) Accredited Construction Management Programs at Universities across the country now require their students to take or pass the exam in order to graduate. This has been a great opportunity not only for students to earn a Bachelor’s degree, but to enter the workforce with an industry designation. It has also provided AIC an opportunity to bring to the industry the AC designation through each program’s Industry Advisory Board. These Boards, made up of companies who hire directly from the programs, are encouraged to support the AC designation by asking the students about their performance on the exam and to show that the industry respects professional qualifications.
As we look to the future with the AIC and their efforts to up the level of professionalism within the construction industry – we see many bright spots. With continued usage of the AC exam at universities, we will have confidence that the industry is building its professionalism from the ground up with these freshly graduated and certified professionals carrying their AC badge. At the CPC level, we continue to see positive news about construction opportunities within the government, specifically the armed forces. Through the US Army Corps of Engineers, there has been growing support of establishing a new Construction Manager professional series within the US Government. This opens a wide door on the opportunities construction professionals have in doing work with the US Government. The key to this effort is defining what that CM professional is – in our view and in the early drafts of this position description, is someone certified as a CPC.
Professional and ethical builders is something we will always need as we continue to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure and having a qualification like the CPC that meets the rigorous ANSI standards puts the AIC in great position to continue its work of building the construction industry’s professional reputation with certification.