Bachelor's and master's degree programs in construction project management cover technical skills, as well as the operational, financial and logistical ramifications of decision-making commonly used by construction project managers. Students learn about the field through classroom and practical methods. Aside from a career as an assistant or lead construction manager, graduates of these programs may also consider a role as estimator.
Project management fields of study may include construction management, project bidding or cost estimating. Prerequisites for a bachelor's degree include a high school diploma or its equivalent. Master's degree applicants are required to have a bachelor's degree in a related field, and some programs also require professional construction experience. Many master's programs in this field are offered online and most include a thesis option. Some programs may require students to have professional experience in the construction industry or participate in field work.
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Construction Project Management
The B.S. in Construction Management program offers students a comprehensive overview of construction project management theories and principles, as well as a practical application in a real or simulated work environment. Students can develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills, including technical proficiency with contemporary technologies and operating systems used in the industry.
The bachelor's degree program looks at the architectural, operational, logistical and financial standpoints of construction project management in order to prepare students for professional employment in the industry or further education.
The program combines general educational courses in the natural and social sciences, arts and humanities with courses specifically designed for the construction project manager. Programs stress practical, hands-on application and topics similar to the following:
- Deciphering architecture drafts
- Basic project management
- Construction methods and materials
- Principles of estimating construction costs
- Construction equipment
Master's Degree in Construction Project Management
Master's degree programs in construction project management, such as the Master of Science (M.S.) in Project Management, M.S. in Building Construction Management or Master of Construction Management, continue to stress practical experience, while introducing advanced concepts in construction management, such as financial, legal, ethical issues and leadership theories. Students study construction management from a business perspective and develop critical decision-making skills and operational analysis.
Master's programs allow students to focus studies exclusively in the field of construction project management. Students divide their time between attending informative lectures and hands-on experience. Some course topics include:
- Construction managing and operational strategies
- Legal issues in construction management
- Output maximization and quality control
- Accounting, financial and marketing issues in construction management
- Leadership principles in construction management
Popular Career Options
Graduates are prepared for a variety of construction management positions in a range of areas, including infrastructure and environmental construction. Common job titles include:
- Assistant project manager
- Cost estimator
- Bid project manager
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates a 5% growth in employment for construction managers from 2014-2024, which is due to the continued need for managers as the industry continues to expand (www.bls.gov). In 2015, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for construction managers was $87,400; those working in depository credit intermediation earned the largest average salary in the same year at $131,270.
Individuals looking for training in construction project management can pursue either a bachelor's or master's degree. These programs prepare graduates for jobs in the construction industry such as project managers and cost estimators.