Average Salary With a Construction Management Degree

With a degree in construction management, you can work in one of the largest industries in the world. Construction managers are influential in planning, coordinating, budgeting, and implementing public and private construction projects like bridges, roads, commercial buildings, homes, and more. You don’t need a degree to get started in the construction industry, but with a construction management education, you can qualify for better jobs and, in turn, make more money.

Base Salary with a Construction Management Degree

According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary you can expect with a degree in this field is $94,240, or just over $43 per hour. This data is from 2011, and is the most recent official estimate available. Most people in this industry make between $64,070 and $112,630, with the top ten percent earning over $150,000 annually. Keep in mind that many people in this industry work for themselves as small business owners, though, so when it comes to earning potential, the sky is the limit. Some contractors with larger teams make millions of dollars every year.

Remember, your benefits package should also be considered when comparing career options in this field. While you can sometimes make more money working for yourself, as someone who is self-employed you won’t get the same perks that come with a salaried position, like paid health insurance and vacation days. The graph below, from The Bureau of Labor Statistics, compares construction manager salaries with national averages and general management positions. The data used is from 2010, so the averages have changed slightly, but the overall relationship between the categories is well-represented.

Salary by Location

In this industry, your location plays a huge role in the salary you can expect. This is the case in most fields, but in the construction industry, it is especially true, since the real estate market varies from location to location and great affects earning potential. The top states for construction management workers, in terms of highest salary amounts, are as follows:

  • New York: $131,800
  • Rhode Island: $130,140
  • New Jersey: $123,350
  • Alaska: $113,010
  • California: $110,410

Jobs in cities generally pay more than jobs in more rural areas. The top metropolitan areas for contraction managers include Nassau-Suffolk in New York, New York City, Edison-New Brunswick in New Jersey, Elmira in New York, and Yakima in Washington. Want to live somewhere more rural? Check out Southwestern Alaska, Central New York, Western Washington, and Eastern Georgia, which are all locations where you can earn six-figure salaries with a degree in construction management.

Career Growth for Construction Managers

Working in construction management offers diverse options for career change and growth. If you’re looking for more authority or better pay, or just want a different set of daily activities from your current job, it’s a safe bet you’ll be able to find what you want with a construction management degree. Some other career paths for someone with a degree or experience in this field include:

  • Civil Engineering: Duties include planning and executing large construction projects, often publicly funded, such as highways, bridges, sewers, and airports. Civil engineers earn a median salary of $77,560 annually.
  • Landscape Architecture: Duties include planning and designing public and private land, from city parks to decorative landscaping in in subdivisions. Landscape architects earn a median salary of $62,090.
  • Architectural Management: Duties include conducting research on architecture and engineering, and directing teams of architects and draftsmen to produce building designs. Architectural managers earn a median salary of $119,260, and typically need five or more years of experience working as an architect or engineer before moving into a management position.
  • Architect: Duties include consulting with clients and designing buildings based on the needs of those clients. This involves generating architectural drawings, both on paper and digitally, and usually requires going through multiple iterations of a design before finalizing it and beginning construction. Architects earn a median salary of $72,550 per year. It is fairly common for architectural firms to pay a portion of the costs of continuing education for their interns and employees.

The above careers all require some additional education on top of construction management experience, but they pay well and are definitely in the same general field. All salary info is courtesy of The Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Daily Duties of Construction Managers

Construction managers spend a lot of time outside overseeing the work being done on a building. The job requires a lot of physical strength and stamina, as well as leadership skills and the ability to coordinate many facets of a project over an extended period of time without letting important steps fall through the cracks. The logistical aspect of this job is enormous, but also brute force and the ability to do physical labor are important. Some of the regular activities required of construction managers include:

  • Hiring Contractors: A construction manager is often in charge of hiring the workers to actually get a job done.
  • Choose Construction Materials and Methods: Knowing the building standards in the area where they are working, and complying with local zoning ordinances and other building laws, fall to the construction manager on many projects.
  • Dealing with Scheduling Issues: So many factors can influence the schedule of a construction project that it can be a struggle to get the work finished on time. Hiring extra workers and managing their schedules in the event of delays is the responsibility of the manager on duty.
  • Liaise Between Architects/Designers and Construction Workers: Construction managers usually don’t design the buildings they work on, but it is their job to make sure the construction workers get the size, proportions, and positioning of structures right.

Construction managers have many other duties as well as those listed above, and the training you receive in a construction management degree program can help you learn to juggle all of them at once.

How to Get a Raise as a Construction Manager

While the average salary of construction managers is already great, at $83,860 per year, there is always room for salary growth if you’re willing to work for it. The top ten percent of workers in this field earn more than $150,000 per year, around 5 times the average income for all occupations. Getting to this top echelon of earners will require years of hard work, but if you love your career, that shouldn’t be an issue.

Two paths that are likely to lead to a higher salary in this field, though they may not be fast or easy, are starting your own company and getting further education in a related field. A construction manager who also has architectural drafting experience will earn more than one without. As your own boss, you can manage overhead costs and choose your hours, and that gives you more control over your total salary.

Starting your own construction management company won’t be easy. But if you study the field and seek internships and work experience, you’ll naturally develop professional contacts that you can use when starting your business. This won’t immediately lead to better pay, but will pave the way for you to control your time and choose the kind of work you want to do, which is a reward all its own.

Choosing a Degree Program and Career Path

Many people entering college for the first time aren’t totally sure about which path they want to take. It can be difficult to make what feels like a career choice when you still have years of college left to go. Most colleges help with this at least a little by offering courses with broader interest and applicability early in the program, and not getting into career-specific classes later on. However, this can be a drawback if you’re absolutely certain about the career you want to follow. If this is the case for you, consider a technical or vocational school that does not include liberal arts standards like English and the humanities with its construction management degree program.

One way to make choosing a program easier is to talk to a few people in the various fields you are considering, and possibly visit some of them at work sites, to see which is the most appealing in practice. Once you’ve decided to pursue construction management, applied management, or even architecture or another passion, you can use the links on this site to get in touch with schools that offer those programs. They can help you find scholarships and other financial aid, and you can take a few classes to see how school feels before committing to the whole program. Higher education is flexible that way, especially now that so many degree programs are offered partially or entirely online.

Construction management is a rewarding career in that it has tangible results that you can look at and feel proud of, and it pays very well compared to most occupations.

Construction Management Degree Programs

These construction management degree programs are offered by accredited colleges. You can request information from about any program by clicking the college's logo.

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.
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.
Everglades University
Everglades University – Everglades University offers a fully online Bachelors in Construction Management program which includes accredited courses in essential skills and tools such as construction contracts, construction law, building construction drawing and drafting, construction scheduling, and project management.
Capella University</span>
Capella University – Capella University is one of the biggest providers of online programs, with several hundred in its course catalog. The curriculum behind the programs focuses on helping students obtain the skills and knowledge needed to be successful in their careers. As such, the Organizational Management and Bachelors and Masters of Project Management degrees give students an education they can apply to real-world situations.

Click Here to see more schools offering Online Construction Management Programs