Online Construction Management Degree Overview & Career Information
As a vocational program, an associate degree in construction management will teach students to plan and schedule construction projects, deliver presentations, and supervise construction sites. The associate degree curriculum for construction management covers construction fundamentals and other areas, such as construction methods and materials, cost estimating, project scheduling, and safety planning and administration.
Construction management bachelor’s programs equip students with fundamental skills in construction as well as business management knowledge. Examples of some of the subjects covered during the bachelor’s program include building codes and standards, construction methods and materials, contract administration, and cost estimation and analysis.
Master's degrees prepare students for advanced positions in construction management or construction academia and allow students to specialize in a particular area, such as real estate, construction technology, or finance. Courses may cover legal issues, business planning, land use analysis, and real estate development. Master’s programs require extensive research, and some programs require students to complete a thesis.
Online Bachelor's Degrees in Construction Management
The construction management bachelor's program teaches students the skills for managing complex construction projects. These programs take four years to complete; some are bachelor's-completion degrees that allow students to transfer credits from a two-year associate degree. Applicants do not need experience in construction, but they do need a high school diploma or GED, and some bachelor’s programs require scores from an ACT or SAT test.
Approximately half of a CM student's course load consists of general education courses and prerequisites. Before a student can begin construction management courses, they may have to study communications, business, math, finance, economics, and English composition. Some schools require all students to take science, art, and foreign language classes, as well.
CM courses train students to succeed at managing the employees on a work site, developing a project budget, and ensuring that work teams stick to schedules. Students study both the theoretical and practical aspects of construction management. Some schools also require that construction management students study architecture and contracting. Other courses include project control and management, site construction and management, construction safety management, and mechanical systems.
Graduates of the bachelor's program are prepared for entry-level positions such as cost estimator, field engineer, project manager assistant, or scheduler. Professional experience is important in the construction industry, and graduates may have better job opportunities after they complete a year or two of job-site experience. In most cases, bachelor’s programs require students to take a capstone course.
Accrediting agencies are independent, non-governmental bodies that conduct evaluations of schools and degree programs to assess their viability and their ability to provide a valuable education. Institutional accreditation applies to entire schools, while programmatic accreditation applies to a particular type of degree program. The US Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditations provide recognition for regional and national agencies at the institutional and programmatic level.
The American Council for Construction Education and The Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering are both recognized by the USDE and CHEA as specialized, programmatic accrediting agencies for construction management education. In most cases, schools offering online degrees in construction management are also accredited by regional or national accrediting bodies, such as the Distance Education Training Council.
Choosing a construction management degree program that has been accredited by one of these agencies will help ensure that you will receive an education that reflects the highest academic standards. It will also enable you to transfer your credits to other accredited institutions and to utilize any financial aid you might be granted. Unaccredited programs cannot guarantee this.
Frequently Asked Questions About Construction Management Degrees
What is the difference between a degree in construction management and a degree in civil engineering?
Although the two fields are closely related and many people who earn degrees in civil engineering find employment in managing or overseeing construction sites, the two degree programs are very different. In a civil engineering degree program, students will focus more on the planning and design of buildings and other types of construction. For example, they will study the characteristics of commonly-used construction materials and how they interact with the building site. Students in a construction management degree program, on the other hand, are going to focus on the implementation of a design from a business perspective. For example, they will study project control and management, construction safety management, financial controls, contracting, and other business transactions.
What is the demand for construction managers in the near future?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, career opportunities for construction managers in the next decade are promising. Demand for educated construction managers is expected to grow at a rate of 10%, which is faster than the average for most other occupations. Many of these job opportunities will be found in states where the population is increasing, such as Idaho, Nevada, Utah, and Florida, due to the increased need for commercial, industrial, and residential buildings in those areas.
How much can I earn with an online degree in construction management?
Construction managers who hold a bachelor's degree can expect to earn a median annual salary of about $95,000, and the highest-paid 10% of construction managers earn approximately $164,000.
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