Industry Growth and Salary Potential
With a degree in construction management, graduates can work in one of the largest industries in the world. Construction managers handle the planning, coordinating, and budgeting of any public and private construction project. Having a degree in construction management increases salaried pay, and provides greater opportunities for career growth within the industry.
Base Salary with a Construction Management Degree
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary with a degree in this field is $94,590 as of 2014. Most people in this industry make between $65,350 and $114,360, with the top ten percent earning over $150,000 annually. There are many different levels of construction management, there are those who work for themselves as small business owners, and some who oversee large teams earning millions of dollars every year. When it comes to earning potential in this industry, the sky is the limit.
The graph below compares the national averages of construction management and general management salaries. While the averages have varied slightly since when the data was gathered in 2012, the overall relationship between the two categories has remained constant.
Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections Program
Salary by Location
True to most fields, location plays a huge role in expected salary. Each location’s real estate market is different from one another, and this greatly affects the earning potential in the construction industry. These states have the highest average salary for construction managers as of 2014.
- New Jersey: $131,130
- Alaska: $124,550
- Rhode Island: $119,330
- Pennsylvania: $116,420
- Delaware: $110,540
To capitalize on this information, know that those who work in a city typically earn more than those who are employed in rural areas. For example, a construction manager in New Jersey can earn more annually than the average reported amount of $131,130, if they are working in a fast-growing, highly populated city.
Career Growth for Construction Managers
Working in construction management offers diverse options for career change and growth. A degree in construction management provides a solid foundation to be able to expand into other areas beyond managing projects. Managerial construction experience is beneficial to all the careers listed below, yet most do require additional degrees in their respective fields.
- Civil Engineering: Common tasks required of this field consist of planning and executing large construction projects such as highways, bridges, airports, and other publicly funded projects. Civil engineers earn a median salary of $79,340 annually.
- Landscape Architecture: This career’s responsibilities include planning and designing public and private land. The setting can vary from city parks to decorative landscaping in subdivisions. Landscape architects earn a median salary of $64,180.
- Architect: They consult with and design buildings based on the client’s needs. This involves generating architectural drawings, both on paper and digitally. This usually requires going through multiple renderings of a design before finalizing it and beginning construction. Architects earn a median salary of $73,090 per year. It is fairly common for architectural firms to pay a portion of the costs of continuing education for their interns and employees.
- Architectural Management: Conducting research on architecture and engineering and directing teams of architects and draftsmen to produce building designs, are just some of the typical tasks to expect in this position. Architectural managers earn a median salary of $124,870, and typically need five or more years of experience working as an architect or engineer before moving into a management position.
All salary info is as of 2012, and is courtesy of the BLS.
Daily Duties of Construction Managers
Construction managers spend a great deal of time outside overseeing the progress of various projects. This position requires physical strength and stamina, leadership skills, and the ability to successfully coordinate many facets of a project over an extended period of time. While the logistical aspect of this job is enormous, the ability to perform physical labor is important as well. Some of the regular activities required of construction managers are listed below.
- Hiring Contractors: It is important to select the right team of skilled laborers, since they can make or break the success of a project.
- Choose Construction Materials and Methods: This task requires selecting materials within the allotted budget while adhering to safety and building standards and complying with local zoning ordinances.
- Fixing Scheduling Issues: Unfortunate weather, call-offs, and personal circumstances can influence the progress at a construction cite. Being able to effectively address and handle these setbacks are crucial to completing a project on time.
- Collaborating with Architects, Designers, and Construction Workers: There are many components of any construction project, and ensuring that each department is properly informed creates a cohesive development process.
Construction managers have several other responsibilities in addition to those listed above. Training received in a construction management degree program can help teach students how to juggle all of them at once.
How to Increase Pay as a Construction Manager
As with any field, excellent, hard work and networking are the cornerstones of moving up a company ladder. There are two other paths that may lead to a higher salary and are discussed in greater detail below.
- Starting a New Construction Company – While there are risks associated with any new start-up company, being able to have greater control over costs, hours, and salary can prove to be a rewarding experience. To help develop the new business, it is important to have reliable professional contacts established prior to beginning a new enterprise. Initially the income may be smaller than what a preexisting company would offer. However, remember that the potential salary will increase as the business grows.
- Pursuing Further Education – The chances of earning a higher salary increase when the construction manager has a well-rounded skill-set. As previously mentioned, most of the other related fields do require additional higher education. That extra time spent learning an added trade can allow for a construction manager to be perceived as a more valuable and competent employee, and lead to higher pay.
Choosing a Degree Program and Career Path
Many students entering college are unsure about which career path they would like to pursue. Colleges help with this by offering courses that cover broad topics earlier in the program, such as “Introduction to Construction Management.” At a four-year institution, career-specific classes are typically offered to students who are in their junior or senior year. Just like a construction project, it is important to have a wide educational foundation to build upon.
Choosing a degree program can be made easier by to talking to people in various construction and management fields. If it is possible, observe different work sites to see which is the most appealing in practice. Now that many institutions offer hybrid and online programs, higher education is more flexible than ever.
To find out more about earning a degree in construction management or a related field, check out the links on this site to contact schools and request more information about their programs, scholarships, and other available financial aid. Construction management is a rewarding career with tangible results, and students have a variety of degree programs to choose from to begin their career in construction management.
What degree 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. Various other majors like project management, general management, and contract management can also be applied to jobs in this field as well. Our list of accredited degree programs will help you find one that meets your unique career goals.
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