Your Guide to Construction Management Degrees

Construction management covers a wide range of knowledge throughout the construction process. You can receive a construction management education several different ways, such as formal degree programs, on-the-job training, or continuing education/professional development. There are many schools offering construction management programs, including some that offer a master’s degree. For more information, click on the questions below to receive more in depth answers:

  1. What is construction management?
  2. What degrees options are available in construction management?
  3. What educational options exist for construction management degrees?
  4. What is my salary potential with a construction management degree?
  5. Where can I find additional information about construction management degrees?

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Construction Management Degree Programs

Kaplan University
Kaplan University – Kaplan is a leading online educator with hundreds of accredited courses available in various fields of study. KU provides two Bachelors of Science in Project Management: one is a BSBA degree that is for students starting their education while the other is an MBA designed for student who have had prior education.
Ashford University
Ashford University – Ashford University's highly-rated online BA in Operations Management and Analysis program is fully accredited and provides a broad based curriculum that prepares students for a variety of management careers. This degree can be completed on your own timeline and in an environment of your choosing. Ashford also offers a BA and MBA in Project Management.
DeVry University</span>
DeVry University – DeVry has two online courses that include skill development for time management, safety awareness, risk assessment and management, task prioritization, and communication and interaction. Students can pick from either a BBA in Project Management or a BBA in Operations Management.
Northern Arizona University
Northern Arizona University – Northern Arizona University provides a convenient way for students to obtain a Master of Administration in Construction Management that offers a deep exploration of key managerial skills like communication, organizational, financial planning, and project management.

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What is construction management?

Construction management (CM) is the overall planning, coordination, and control of a construction project from its inception to its completion. Construction managers must aim to meet a client’s requirements and direct a functionally and financially feasible project. The Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) lists seven core competencies and responsibilities for a construction manager:

  1. CM Professional Practice
  2. CM Project Management
  3. Cost Management
  4. Time Management
  5. Quality Management
  6. Contract Administration
  7. Safety Management

What degrees options are available in construction management?

A degree specifically in construction management offers the best skill-set when pursuing a position for this career choice. Programs will not only explore general management competencies like project management and planning, risk assessment, human resources, and communication but also industry-oriented elements like attention to safety, regulations, and laws. That said, various other majors like project management, general management, and contract management can be applied to jobs in this field.

What educational options exist for construction management degrees?

Employers are beginning to hire CMs who have a bachelor’s degree or higher. You can get a qualifying bachelor’s degree in construction science, construction management, building science, or civil engineering. Master’s degree students typically go into the field if they’ve already had experience in construction. After graduating they can become construction managers at large companies. Sometimes individuals who hold a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field seek a master’s degree in construction management or construction science to be able work in the construction industry. Occasionally students also get a master’s degree in business administration or finance to further their construction management career prospects. Potential coursework in a construction management curriculum can be as varied as Site planning, Construction materials, Accounting, Building codes and standards, Statistics, and more.

What is my salary potential with a construction management degree?

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the outlook for construction management jobs is great, with employment projected to increase by 16 percent during the 2012 to 2022 decade. Construction managers held 485,000 jobs in 2012. About 57 percent were self-employed, many as owners of general or specialty trade construction firms.

Wages depend on the size of company you work with and the nature of construction project you’re working on. Factors such as geographic location and economic conditions are also important players. Typically CMs receive benefits, bonuses, and permission to use company motor vehicles in addition to their salaries. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wages of salaried construction managers in May 2013 were $84,410. The median annual wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of construction managers were as follows:

  • Nonresidential Building Construction: $94,550
  • Building Equipment Contractors: $93,150
  • Residential Building Construction: $84,650
  • Foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors: $87,490
  • Utility System Construction: $94,860

Where can I find additional information about construction management degrees?

The CMAA has compiled several resources for those interested in studying construction management:

  • The Construction Management Career Brochure: This PDF brochure explains what a CM does on a day-to-day basis. It also includes what skills and education a CM needs.
  • CMAA Career Headquarters: This is a forum that provides candidates and employers a resources to post resumes and job openings.
  • What is Construciton Management?: This is an article that will help you understand what the CM career is like.
  • Glossary of CM Terms: This glossary provides a quick overview of popular words used in the CM industry. This is a good resource to use if you’re looking at different CM degree program’s websites and you don’t understand the language they’re using.

Other outside sources for CM include:

  • Wikipedia: A general overview of construction management education and career.
  • National Center for Construction Education and Research: This is a not-for-profit education foundation created to develop standardized construction and maintenance curricula and assessments with portable, nationally-recognized credentials.