Integrating concepts from construction, business and engineering, online construction management programs prepare graduates to oversee construction in a variety of construction projects. While undergraduate certificate and diploma programs are not common, there are quite a few graduate-level certificate programs available online.
Depending on the school, these programs can be found in entirely online or hybrid (partially online) formats. The online programs often allow students to study at their own pace and take about one year to complete. Some programs may require applicants to meet specific education prerequisites, such as having an undergraduate degree in engineering. Hybrid programs may require students to do some classes on campus and complete proctored exams.
Coursework in these programs typically include topics in cost estimating, scheduling and construction management principles. Some programs specifically prepare students for industry certification exams, such as the Certified Professional Constructor (CPC) exam offered by The American Institute of Constructors.
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Construction Management Graduate Certificates
Online construction management professional certificate programs prepare graduates to effectively manage various construction projects. Construction managers are involved with all sorts of construction projects, such as hospitals, schools, bridges, industrial structures, commercial buildings and residential structures.
Construction management programs commonly explore such areas as contractor organization and management, financial planning, estimating techniques, contract administration and project controls. Online construction management programs also look at legal issues in construction, as well as training students to use construction-related computer applications.
Program Information and Requirements
Many construction management graduate certificate programs, which are usually around 12 credits, are offered entirely online. Students do, however, have the opportunity to combine campus-based courses with online courses. Distance learning students may also need to arrange for a proctor in order to take their examinations. Some programs require prospective students to hold an engineering, business or related undergraduate degree.
Students pursuing an online graduate certificate in construction management can usually access course materials in a number of formats, including podcast downloads, DVDs of lectures and online streaming videos. Students can also communicate with professors and students via real-time chat or through message boards and e-mail. In order to view many of the files, students must have such Internet plug-ins as Adobe Acrobat Reader and QuickTime. Other computer requirements may include a sound card, a video card and an updated operating system.
Preparing graduates to oversee construction projects, a certificate-level construction management curriculum combines technical and managerial knowledge and skills. Courses train students to manage a team of construction workers and track the financial aspects of a project.
Construction Management Fundamentals
A course looking at the fundamentals of construction methods emphasizes basic project management techniques, as well as communication skills. Principal areas of construction management, including cost estimating, construction law and contractor organization, are covered.
An online project controls course explores methods of implementing construction projects and controlling their progress. Areas such as earned value analysis, project closeout, the project life cycle and schedule development are explored.
Cost Estimating and Analysis
This course focuses on estimating costs and bidding on various construction projects. Topics covered include profit factors, cost forecasts, bid analysis, cost reporting and definitive estimates.
Graduates of a construction management graduate certificate program are prepared for management jobs in general contracting, building construction, highway construction and more. Certificate programs are often taken by construction professionals looking for career advancement or by engineers and architects looking for additional training. Additional job titles include construction superintendent, field engineer, construction planner and project manager. Industry certification is not required, but may help with career advancement by demonstrating knowledge and experience. Certification is available from organizations such as The American Institute of Constructors (Certified Professional Constructor),The Construction Management Association of America (Certified Construction Manager) and The Project Management Institute (Project Management Professional).
Construction managers were expected to see job growth of 5% between 2014 and 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS also reported that construction managers earned a median annual income of $87,400 in 2015 (www.bls.gov). Credits earned in a certificate program can also typically be applied towards a master's degree in construction management, engineering or a related discipline.
Graduate certificate programs in construction management can be found in online and hybrid format. Students in this program focus on management, financial planning, estimating, contracts and legal issues.