Table of Contents
A construction management degree prepares students for careers in the field by honing skills in building design and planning, business operations. studying a building and construction management degree gives you lots of useful knowledge about the construction process.
A construction management degree prepares students for careers in the field by honing skills in building design and planning, business operations.
Types of Online Construction Management Degree Programs
Whether you’re interested in sales, business, engineering, finance, architecture, or manual labor, here are just a few potential career paths for construction majors.
1. Construction management
2. Commercial construction
3. Concrete construction
4. Heavy (civil) construction
5. Specialty construction
6. Residential construction
Mechanical and electronically green construction
A construction management degree can take you in many different directions, especially if you concentrate your studies on something specific.
Construction management is both a job and a field. You can become a construction manager and be responsible for overseeing construction projects from beginning to end.
You might plan, design, budget, schedule, and perform compliance checks for a wide variety of homes, buildings, bridges, warehouses, and railroads.
You may also study construction management as a general subject. It’s available as a degree on every level, including bachelor’s and master’s, and it can prepare you for work in a variety of fields.
You can learn about everything from cement mixing to business administration, and you can prepare for work as a designer, surveyor, contractor, or engineer.
The perks for this industry can be quite tempting. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of construction managers is $97,180 per year, and the field is estimated to grow by 8% in the next decade. That’s much faster than the national average.
Consider a degree in construction management if you’re looking for an in-demand field with diverse, high-paying jobs. The exact requirements for these jobs will vary, but a degree in construction management can help get you started.
There are several types of construction, but one of the most common distinctions is between residential and commercial construction. Residential construction is for homes. Commercial construction is for businesses and cities. projects may include schools, offices, malls, and movie theaters.
It can involve real estate, transportation, and big-time infrastructure. You might survey land to determine if it’s a good place for a new department store; you might crunch numbers to figure out how a city council can pay for upgrades to their highway system.
You don’t have to be a literal construction manager to work in this industry. You might get your degree and find a job as an engineer, urban planner, safety inspector, cost estimator, or risk analysis specialist.
There are lots of possibilities in commercial construction. You just have to dive in and find them.
Concrete is such a major material in construction work that it has entire degree programs devoted to it.
You can major in things like concrete science technology and concrete industry management, and you can also get certification from the American Concrete Institute in foundation, finishing, inspection, construction, and quality management.
Another option is to study construction management with a specialization in concrete. With the help of business and leadership courses, you may qualify for high-level jobs like concrete foreman.
According the the Bureau of Labor Statistics, concrete foremen have an average salary of $67,840 per year as opposed to the average $46,000 per year of regular cement masons and concrete finishers.
Working with concrete is a sticky business, but it can also be a profitable one. If you aren’t afraid of a little mess, it might be the career path for you.
Also known as “heavy civil engineering,” this branch of construction is centered around highways, bridges, dams, sewers, and tunnels. It poses unique challenges to construction professionals because its work is often expensive and time-consuming. There’s also an increased emphasis on safety.
Most people go into this industry with an engineering or construction degree. Construction management is just one possibility; there’s also construction science, architectural design, civil engineering, and equipment operation.
You might need advanced credentials if you’re thinking about a management position in heavy construction. Since there’s a lot of liability involved with such public works, employers tend to look for highly-qualified applicants with a good education and many years of experience.
You might need to become a Certified Construction Manager (CCM) or Certified Professional Constructor (CPC) for your resume to have some weight.
Residential construction is centered around living spaces. It’s most commonly associated with houses and apartments, but it could also include mobile homes, condos, duplexes, and anywhere else that people live.
Courses in residential construction typically revolve around everything from estimating costs to framing buildings for weather resistance. Common skills taught include how to install roofs, measure windows, read blueprints, and plan for energy conservation.
Even if you won’t be swinging the hammer yourself, you’ll need to know how these things work to oversee the labor.
Some schools offer special programs in residential construction management. This isn’t usually a requirement for jobs, but it can give you an edge over other applicants.
Consider a career in residential construction if you’d enjoy the building process of homes. Whether you work with luxury condos or low-income trailers, you’ll be creating the spaces where families live.
Specialty construction is a broad, non-specific term that can cover a wide range of projects.
For example, it could refer to mechanical construction for a home’s heating and cooling units, or it could mean electrical construction for power plants and industrial warehouses.
Do you enjoy working with your hands? You could become an engineer who uses your construction management degree to build hotels and hospitals from scratch. Do you prefer to work behind the scenes? Become a sustainability consultant who helps companies go green.
There are plenty of options in the field of specialty construction. It’s such a wide-ranging field that many people make their own definition for it, so it can encompass all kinds of work. This is a specialization where you can create your own future.
Sustainable and Green Construction
“Green” construction is a rapidly-growing industry. Not only does it benefit the environment, but sustainable practices may also help businesses cut costs, so it’s desirable all around.
Working in green construction, your job could involve any or all of the following:
Depending on your exact job, you might take a hands-on role in designing eco-friendly buildings, or you might work from a desk to broker deals and finance initiatives that result in cleaner, greener companies. A degree in construction management can get you started.
Courses for an Online Degree in Construction Management
Construction management courses are a mix of the practical and the theoretical. You’ll need the day-to-day business acumen to handle budgets, schedules, plans, and materials, but you’ll also need a broader kind of intelligence to solve problems and bring people’s visions to life.
Here are just a few subjects that might be on your course list for a construction management degree:
Calculus: You’ll need math skills as a construction manager. Calculating angles, tracking expenses, converting units of measurement, and performing financial risk assessments for companies and clients are all a part of construction management. Prepare yourself for calculus and maybe even statistics and finance.
Construction Graphics: Can you read a blueprint? Do you understand the numbers, figures, and abbreviations that are common to architectural plans and construction zones? A course in construction graphics can help you learn what you need to know.
Leadership: Depending on your degree program, you might be offered different kinds of leadership courses. This is the “manager” part of construction management. Topics may include conflict resolution, organizational communication, business management, or training and development.
Construction Software and Technology: Gone are the days when builders did everything by hand. Today, computerized systems offer everything from building information modeling (BIM) to construction project management (CPM), and technology courses can teach you how to navigate them.
Economics: Many construction management programs will want you to understand economics. These classes could range from basic introductory ones to complex courses about microeconomics and macroeconomics. They could also intersect with business, finance, accounting, and administration electives.
Contracts and Law: You’ll probably deal with a lot of contracts in construction work, especially if you’re going into something like heavy civil engineering where there can be millions of dollars of liability on the line. These courses can help you understand what you’re drafting and signing.
What’s the Difference Between an Online Construction Management Certificate and a Degree in Construction Management?
There are dozens of online certification courses for construction work. The basic ones might only take-30 hours and cost anywhere from $100-$500.
The more advanced ones might require months of study as part of a certification program at university, and they may take 6-12 months and cost upwards of $8,000.
All of them will be quicker than getting an actual degree in construction management, which can take anywhere from two years for an associate’s degree to six years for a master’s degree. They’ll cost a lot less as well.
The downside is that a certificate won’t teach you as much as a degree program. It might not carry the same weight with future employers, either.
If you only have a six-week certificate and you’re up against another job candidate with a four-year degree, the hiring manager will probably go with the other guy.
Certifications aren’t a bad idea if you’re looking to build your skills or broaden your knowledge in a particular area. If you have larger career aspirations, however, you probably want to invest in a real degree.
Construction Management Degree Job Outlook and Salary
How much money can you make with a construction management degree? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some careers in the construction management field include:
Facilities Manager ($98,890)
Construction Manager ($97,180)
Construction Engineer ($87,060)
Project Manager ($77,420)
Urban Designer ($75,950)
Sustainability Consultant ($73,230)
Construction Estimator ($66,610)
Quantity Surveyor ($65,590)
Building Control Surveyor ($63,780)
Fire Risk Assessor ($63,270)
Building Inspector ($60,710)
Before you start counting bills, however, you should know that these are median salaries. There can be a big gap between the highest- and lowest-earning workers in any given career.
For example, construction managers make between $56,880-$169,070 per year. The $97,180 is just a median figure.
Certification and Licensure Following a Construction Management Degree
Once you complete a construction management degree, you might want to take things a step further with a professional certification.
It isn’t required by law, but it can give you an edge over other job applicants, and it can also help you build your skills if you’re seeking further education or career advancement.
Here are the most common certifications that you may complete as a construction manager:
Certified Construction Manager (CCM)
Offered by the Construction Management Association of America, the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) is officially recognized by national accrediting boards. It’s sometimes called the “gold standard” of construction management credentials. There are two ways to qualify for it:
Four years of construction management experience and a bachelor’s degree
Eight years of construction management experience with no degree
You’ll also need to complete a technical exam. Once you’ve gotten your CCM, you’ll need to renew it every three years by passing another exam.
Construction Manager-in-Training (CMIT)
Another title offered by the Construction Management Association of America, the Construction Manager-in-Training (CMIT) is for construction professionals who are still building their skills. It has three stages:
1. Completing a capstone assessment
2. Enrolling in a mentorship program
3. Earning “stackable credentials”
You’ll become a CMIT as soon as you complete the first stage, but it’s assumed that you’ll want to keep going and earn your CCM certification, so the other stages are important as well. They can provide guidance as you work towards becoming a full-fledged manager and not just one in training.
Associate Constructor (AC)
The Associate Constructor (AC) certification is offered by the American Institute of Constructors. It’s the first step to complete in their Constructor Certification Program, but you can also earn it as a standalone qualification.
To qualify, you’ll need to sit for an exam. To sit for the exam, you’ll need to meet one of the following requirements:
A bachelor’s degree in construction management
Four years of relevant education or field experience
There are detailed guidelines about what counts as “relevant” experience.
Certified Professional Constructor (CPC)
The Certified Professional Constructor (CPC) is the highest certification offered by the American Institute of Constructors. It requires an application before you can even sit for the exam, and you’ll need one of the following:
1, An AC certification and four years of experience, two of which must be construction management experience.
2. Eight years of experience without the AC certification, two of which must be construction management experience
3. You’ll also need to renew your CPC every two years.
Accreditation for Construction Management Programs Online
logos of American Council for Construction Education and Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering
Going to an accredited school is an absolute must. Not only can it impact things like financial aid, but if you plan on getting any professional certifications like the CCM or CPC, you’ll need a degree from an accredited college before you can sit for those exams.
There are six boards that oversee college accreditation. These are regional organizations that divide the U.S. into different groups of states, so depending on where you enroll, your school might be accredited by various boards.
For example, if you’re in Florida, your school should be covered by the Southern Association of Colleges. If you’re in Oregon, it’ll be through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
There are also two organizations that are devoted specifically to construction:
The American Council for Construction Education
The Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering
You can check their websites to see which schools and degree programs that they choose to accredit for construction science and construction management.
Financial Aid for Construction Management Students
If you can’t afford to pay thousands of dollars in tuition, there are different kinds of financial aid to choose from that can ease some of your burdens.
The first step is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It won’t cost you a dime to complete, and depending on your family’s income, you could qualify for several types of aid that can lower your college costs:
Grants are essentially free money that doesn’t have to be paid back. The most common is the Pell Grant, but there’s also the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) and the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant.
Loans have to be paid back, but if you’re under a certain income threshold, you could qualify for a subsidized loan where the government pays your interest until you graduate. There are also unsubsidized loans where you’re responsible for the interest.
You can earn money for college outside of FAFSA as well. For example, you may apply for different scholarships, or you may choose to check with your employer to see if they offer tuition reimbursement.
You can also do some research on the special programs offered by your college that will accelerate your credits and have you complete your bachelor’s faster. Similarly, accelerated construction management degree programs could be another option as they condense the courses into shorter periods in which allow students to graduate sooner. don’t be afraid to explore every avenue when it comes to lowering the cost of your education.
Questions Related to Earning a Construction Management Degree Online
Here are our answers to a few more questions you might have in regards to earning an online construction management degree.
Is There a Degree in Construction Management?
Many schools offer a degree in construction management. These programs usually require around 120 credits to complete, and the courses can teach you the academic basics of business, finance, and administration while also educating you in industry-specific topics such as bricklaying, concrete finishing, and construction codes.
Some schools don’t have a construction management major. They might offer construction science instead, or they might have construction management as a concentration for an engineering degree. In these cases, you’ll need to take supplementary courses on your own.
Can You Get a Construction Management Degree Online?
There are many online construction management degree programs. Most of them are meant for associate and bachelor’s degrees, but there are a few options for master’s degrees as well.
Something to note about construction management degrees is that they often have a practical element. It’s required for some programs to complete internships or capstone projects with fieldwork.
There are different ways to handle this with an online degree, including the acceptance of a local placement with a construction company, but you better look into the details before you choose to enroll in the program.
How Much Does a Construction Management Degree Cost?
The price to complete your online construction management degree will depend on many different things, including:
How much does each credit cost? Are you getting in-state or out-of-state prices? Is there a discount for online students?
Degree level: Are you aiming for a two-year associate degree or a four-year bachelor’s degree?
Are extra courses required for your specialty? Is it a major, minor, or course load concentration? Will you need an internship?
Are you in an accelerated program?
The breakdown of costs can be quite detailed, and it’s difficult to ensure an average cost since there are so many different factors involved.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Construction Management Degree?
You can choose to earn a construction management degree at any level, so your schedule will depend on what you’re trying to get.
An associate degree usually takes two years. A bachelor’s degree usually takes four. A master’s degree usually takes 1-2 years unless you’re in a special dual degree program, and a doctorate can take anywhere from 4-8 years.
In addition, you may be able to test out of some basic courses if high scores are achieved, which will ultimately reduce the number of credits required, and allow you to complete your degree quicker.
How Hard is a Master’s Degree in Construction Management?
In general, master’s degree programs are more difficult than bachelor’s due to the fact that they extend on previous learned knowledge and skills.
Through a master’s construction management program, you may complete more research based projects and assignments. Some programs even may require a thesis to be developed as the capstone project.
Sure, graduate school has its issues and challenges, however, many students ultimately find it exhilarating and very rewarding as it may open a large number of new, lucrative career opportunities.