Is a Construction Management Degree Right for You?
An online bachelor’s degree in construction management is ideal for people who have worked in the construction industry in some capacity and who are ready to take the helm. Construction management programs teach students what it takes to supervise large-scale construction projects from start to finish.
For many, moving into management or private contracting for large projects is the path to higher earning power in the construction industry. Construction management is most appropriate for those who demonstrate natural leadership tendencies and who thrive in programs that emphasize practical education with real-world applications.
Advice for Earning Your Construction Management Degree Online
Since many people who enroll in construction management degrees online are working adults, it is vital to check ahead of time if the program will require any site-based internships, apprenticeships, or proctored exams. Students will need to make arrangement for such deviations in their normal schedule ahead of time.
We highly recommend programs that incorporate an internship or practicum experiences on construction sites where students can supplement their online education with hands-on learning. Prospective students should consider programs that allow for various specializations within construction management, such as commercial construction, residential construction, or facility management, and speak with an advisor concerning which most closely matches their career path.
Course work in a construction management degree program emphasizes the business, technical, and legal aspects of construction. On the business side, students will take courses in economics and financial accounting while technical and legal courses might include courses in construction law, ethics, and safety, and surveying layout or construction software courses. Other courses that are typical of a construction management curriculum include:
- Construction Methods and Materials
- Construction Documents and Codes
- Project Management
- Cost Estimating and Analysis
- Mechanical/Electrical Systems
Common Career Paths
Average job growth is expected in this field, and those with pertinent experience and degrees should have the best employment prospects. Salaries will vary depending on a person’s roles and responsibilities, their level of experience, and the region of the country they work in, among other factors. Popular careers in the construction management field include (but are not limited to):
- Expected Growth: 17%
- Average Annual Salary: $93,900
Construction managers are responsible for the overall planning of construction projects, including setting budgets, coordinating laborers and other staff, setting timetables for different phases of projects, and supervising all construction activity. These managers work on many different types of construction projects, including commercial, residential, and industrial structures, as well as public works like roads and bridges.
While it is still possible to advance to a construction manager position on the basis of experience, employers are increasingly seeking out those with bachelor’s degrees and certification because of the complexity of their duties, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The above job outlook and salary average were provided by the BLS.
- Expected Growth: 36%
- Average Annual Salary: $62,670
Cost estimators calculate the price of future projects so that stakeholders in the project can set budgets and secure financing for getting the project off the ground. Cost estimators travel to job sites and review blueprints when making their calculations, taking into account costs for workers, the length of time the project will take, and any special services that will be needed. They also provide accurate estimates for how profitable a project will be.
A bachelor’s degree in a relevant area, like construction management or building science, are generally required, the BLS indicated. The job growth projection and salary figure provided above were drawn from the BLS.
Construction or Building Inspector
- Expected Growth: 18%
- Average Annual Salary: $54,970
A construction inspector examines buildings, roads, bridges, water systems, and other structures to ensure that they meet certain requirements. This can include ensuring that the construction, alterations, and repairs are compliant with building codes and ordinances as well as zoning regulations.
While a minimum of a high school diploma, on-the-job training, and certification is often all that’s required to get started, a growing number of these professionals are earning bachelor’s degree, the BLS explained, so a bachelor’s may help you be more competitive in the field. The above employment growth projection and salary average were provided by the BLS.
- Expected Growth: 20%
- Average Annual Salary: $44,330
Carpenters make a living constructing and repairing wooden structures. They carefully follow blueprints to ensure they meet the specifications of the construction project and direct the work of any helpers who are assisting on the project.
While the BLS states that most carpenters learn the craft through an apprenticeship or on-the-job experience, a construction management degree can equip someone with the skills and knowledge they need to advance to a general construction supervisor or independent contractor position within the realm of carpentry. The above job outlook and salary figures were provided by the BLS.