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Career Info for a Construction Management Degree

A degree in construction management prepares graduates for work in many aspects of the construction industry. Read on to find out about the requirements of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for construction management graduates.

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A construction management degree can be valuable preparation for a career as a cost estimator, construction manager, or carpenter. A degree in this field will cover how to plan, direct and monitor a building project until it's complete and how to inspect each stage of construction. Information about contracts, building plans and construction codes is also covered in these programs.

Essential Information

Graduates with bachelor's degrees in construction management are qualified to work in several areas related to construction. Students with experience in carpentry or inspection might find work as cost estimators, construction managers, carpenters and more. Many of these professionals are self-employed, although some work for construction companies. Most are based in an office but do much of their work at a construction site.

Careers Cost Estimator Construction Manager Carpenter
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree High school diploma and apprenticeship
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 9% 5% 6%
Median Salary (2015)* $60,390 $87,400 $42,090

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Options

Graduates with degrees in construction management have the option within their careers to continue to specialize in specific aspects of the construction industry. Additional education and significant experience in a particular field add to an individual's qualifications. Here are descriptions of a few career options that are available to graduates.

Cost Estimator

Cost estimators predict the expense of a construction project, including labor costs, material expenditures and possible overruns. They use their experience and training in construction to take into account all cost factors. They frequently specialize in one process or area, such as labor or equipment costs. Most cost estimators are expected to have a bachelor's degree or extensive experience in their field or specialty. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for a cost estimator was $60,390 as of May 2015. The BLS also reported an estimated 9% employment growth in this field between 2014 and 2024, which is faster than the average for all jobs.

Construction Manager

Construction managers manage the overall completion of a project or a specialized area, such as building systems or site clearance, depending on the size of the project. Construction managers can have a variety of different job titles, including constructor, supervisor, project engineer and project manager. Regardless of their specialization or title, they are responsible for completing the job to specification, on time and within its budget. The BLS reported that in 2015, construction managers earned a median annual wage of $87,400. It also reported a projected a 5% increase in employment of construction managers between 2014 and 2024.

Carpenter

Carpenters work with wood to build a wide variety of structures, including doorframes, furniture, window trim, building frames and flooring. Carpenters might work in lumber mills, cutting and shaping raw timber into workable pieces of lumber, or they might be skilled craftspeople, fashioning the lumber into consumer and construction products. They often have highly developed skills in more than one specialty. The BLS stated that in 2015, carpenters made an annual median wage of $42,090. It projected a 6% increase in employment of carpenters from 2014-2024, which is fast as average growth rate for all occupations.

Degree or Certificate Options

Before working in construction management, carpentry or inspection, students might earn certificates or associate degrees in areas such as cabinetry and carpentry, building inspection and code enforcement technology and construction management. These programs teach students skills like how to plan, direct and monitor the completion of a building project and inspect each phase of construction. Students learn about contracts, building plans and construction codes. They also learn how to develop management and financial skills while studying construction processes and theory.

Cost estimators approximate the expense of construction projects, while construction managers oversee the completion of a project or a specialized area within the project. Carpenters construct items from wood. All of these careers contribute to the construction of new homes and buildings, and benefit from postsecondary training in construction management.

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