Construction management is concerned with treating construction as a business with risks to be mitigated, employees to be mentored and costs to be taken into account when creating an estimate. Training programs in building construction management are available from the associate's to the master's degree level.
For an associate's degree program, prior coursework in algebra, science and geometry is required for admission. Bachelor's degree requirements include previous coursework such as two years of algebra, one year of computer science or physics and some training in architectural drawing and writing skills. Applicants for the master's program must have a bachelor's degree, a minimum GPA of 3.0 and 5 years of experience in construction. Online programs at the master's level may be available.
Associate of Applied Science in Building Construction Technology
Students will be able to concentrate their studies on construction management as they study building codes, layout, cost estimation and construction safety. They also complete hands-on projects in cabinetmaking, rough carpentry and remodeling as part of the two-year program.
Students learn about project management and scheduling, as well as the methods and materials of building construction. Courses cover:
- Algebra and trigonometry
- Construction planning
- Site preparation
Bachelor of Science in Construction Management
Students at the bachelor's level learn about contracts, engineering fundamentals, business management and safety. The program also includes general education topics as well as content on building codes, construction law and quality control.
In this undergraduate construction management degree program, students learn technical communication, project cost estimation, scheduling and quality management. Topics of study include:
- Construction documents
- Interpersonal communication
Master of Science in Construction Management
Master's degree students learn about accounting, public policy, labor relations and computer science in order to improve the construction process and shorten build times. Programs at this level take 18-24 months of full-time study to complete.
Graduate degree programs offer coursework in budgeting, safety management and research so that students understand construction as a business with manageable variables. Commonly offered subjects include:
- Building retrofitting
- Financial reporting
- Risk analysis
- Sustainable techniques
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 887,580 construction laborers (excluding self-employed workers) employed across various fields as of May 2015. Among these, entry-level workers found placement as:
- Assistant construction superintendent
- Construction technician
- Project manager
According to BLS reports, there were 239,640 construction managers employed as of May 2015. Most were employed in the nonresidential building construction industry or by residential building construction companies, the BLS states. Bachelor's degree holders were employed in the following positions:
- Building inspector
- Code enforcement specialist
- Construction manager
- Purchasing agent
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Construction managers, according to the BLS, were anticipated to see a 5% jump in employment numbers from 2014-2024. The median annual wage for these professionals was $87,400 in May 2015, per BLS figures.
Voluntary certification for construction managers as an Associate Constructor is available through the American Institute of Constructors and Constructor Certification Commission (http://www.professionalconstructor.org). While there are no formal education requirements, graduating from a bachelor's degree program in construction management can allow you to bypass qualifying work experience requirements. You must pass a certification exam. With four years of work experience, two years of construction management experience and a relevant bachelor's degree, you'll be able to sit for the Certified Professional Constructor exam.
Additionally, voluntary certification as a Certified Construction Manager (CCM) is available through the Construction Management Association of America (http://www.cmaanet.org). To apply for the CCM credential, you'll be required to have at least four years of work experience as a construction manager. If you have a qualifying bachelor's degree, you won't be required to have any additional work experience. The exam for the CCM credential lasts five hours; as of 2013, minimum passing scores ranged from 65-66% (CMAA).
Whether it's an associate's, bachelor's or master's degree program, training in building construction management prepares students to manage the employees, costs and risks associated with a building construction site. Graduates with bachelor's degrees can often bypass the work experience requirements needed for when taking exams for voluntary professional certifications.