Construction management has to do with overseeing all aspects of a construction project, from design and planning to budgeting. Construction managers may be in charge of a variety of different projects, from constructing buildings to bridges to roads. Construction managers must not only be experienced in the field of construction but they must also have great communication skills as they work closely with their clients, crew, building specialists, and government officials to ensure the project gets completed within the time allotted, within the budget, and safely. It is possible for an individual who has no degree yet years of on-the-job experience to become a construction manager. However, a bachelor's degree is more sought after by employers. In some cases a master's degree may even be preferred over an undergraduate degree.
Earning an associate degree will aid aspiring construction managers in gaining the skills needed in the areas of management and leadership to be successful in the industry. This level of program combines general education courses along with core skill-based courses in order to equip students with a broad base of knowledge. Students can complete the required 60 credit hours in just two years of study. The curriculum includes courses like introduction to business, business English, safety planning and administration, organizational behavior, cost estimating, project scheduling, business ethics, and construction management. Upon graduation an associate degree may not be sufficient enough to gain a construction management position without any previous work experience. This level of program, however, is a great foundation for furthering an education. Associate degree applicants must have a high school diploma or GED certificate and be over the age of 18. Tuition will of course vary by school and program, and annual tuition starts at less than $10,000 and can reach up to $20,000 or more.
Individuals participating in a bachelor's degree program will be required to complete 120-credit hours of study over the course of four years. Students who have previously earned an associate degree can graduate in just two years. This level of program centers on construction planning, design, and safety while preparing students to hold jobs as managers, project managers, and even property managers. Upon graduation individuals interested in participating in the green building movement will be eligible to sit for the LEED Green Associate exam in order to become certified. Courses that students will participate in include codes and standards, soil mechanics for construction, construction contracts, construction cost estimating, construction layout planning, construction law, and financial control of construction organizations. During the application process first time freshmen will need to show proof of high school graduation or showcase a GED certificate. Applicants who have previously received an associate degree will need to submit all of their college transcripts. Annual cost of tuition for a bachelor's degree will typically run somewhere around $15,000 a year, but there are programs available that cost $10,000 or less a year, as well as pricier programs that can cost up to $30,000 a more.
Individuals can set themselves apart in the construction industry by earning their graduate degree in construction management, which they can complete in 24 months. This level of degree will take students through in-depth study and training and provide them with superior credentials upon graduation. Many individuals go on to work as construction company owners or presidents, construction superintendent, senior claims analysts, and construction consultants. Key courses that students will participate in include construction accounting and financial management, construction operations and strategic management, construction leadership and marketing, managing construction quality and production, and pre-construction project management. Some programs even offer selective courses for students to take in order to target specific interests. For example, an individual interested in working on sustainable projects as a professional can take classes such as sustainable site development, special topics in sustainable interior design, and energy conserving building retrofit. In order to qualify for admissions into a master's program applicants must have a bachelor's degree and submit all college transcripts from previous studies. The applicant will also need to submit a letter of intent as well as two reference letters. It is possible to complete one these degrees for less than $30,000.
Students participating in doctoral studies will further develop their understanding of the construction industry. Those looking to pursue a Ph.D in this field may find that they will have to earn a their degree in something related, such as engineering management with a construction management emphasis, or a Ph.D in building construction, as Ph.D programs specifically focused on only construction management aren't common. The first year or two will be dedicated to completing course requirements while the remaining years will be dedicated to completing a dissertation. Curriculum requirements often include courses in construction contracts, soils in construction, project delivery, lean construction, construction dispute resolution, natural hazard resistant construction, and advanced productivity. Many graduates go on to work as university professors but there are other career options as well. Career opportunities include construction manager, cost estimator, and building inspector. Degree prerequisites typically include a bachelor's or master's degree in construction management or a related discipline. work experience in the field may also be required. Additional admission requirements include respectable GRE scores, a letter of intent, and two to three reference letters. Tuition for PhD programs is highly variable, and some students may also be able to receive funding for their studies, depending on what school they attend.
Certification is sought on a voluntary basis, as it is not a requirement to work in the field. Many employers seek out this credential in their employees because it showcases the professional's body of knowledge and experience. Individuals can become certified through the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) by meeting all requirements and passing the certification exam. Before individuals can qualify to take the exam they must hold at least a two-year degree in construction management or related field and they must have 48 months of accumulative work experience as a construction manager. The American Institute of Constructors (AIC) also offers certification. Individuals can earn the Certified Professional Constructor or the Associate Constructor certificate.
The American Council for Construction Education (ACCE) is the main accrediting body for construction management programs at the associate, baccalaureate, and master's degree level. The ACCE meets biannually to review construction management programs and to ensure that they are in compliance with their current accreditation standards. Reviews are conducted on curriculum, faculty, student resources, testing procedures, and the like in order to ensure that students are receiving an education that will prepare them to reach their full potential as professionals.
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