Career Definition for Construction Scientists
A construction science professional oversees and coordinates a variety of residential, commercial, and civil construction projects. They work with designers, engineers, architects, and other professionals to complete these projects on time and within budget. Typically, construction science professionals work in an office - either from the company building or in the field - and are often required to travel from site to site. The work week for a construction science professional can be long, requiring night and weekend shifts when project deadlines must be met.
|Education||Bachelor's degree; upper level positions may require a master's degree|
|Job Skills||Communication skills, computer literacy, networking, working under pressure, decision making|
|Median Salary*||$87,400 (2015)|
|Career Outlook*||5% (2014-2024)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau Labor Statistics
A bachelor's degree in construction science should include courses in architecture, business, and construction science and will typically qualify job seekers to be field engineers, cost-estimators, or assistants to project managers. For higher-level positions with large companies a master's degree may be required. Those with post-graduate degrees may teach in universities or conduct research in the field of construction and engineering.
A construction science professional should be decisive and work well under the pressure of a deadline. An overall knowledge of business management and basic computer technology is also helpful. Strong communication skills are also valuable, as is the ability to network with a variety of other professionals.
Career and Economic Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 5% growth in opportunities for construction science professionals from 2014-2024. The BLS also reports the median annual income of construction managers to have been $87,400 in May 2015, but earnings vary widely based on the location, the size of the project, and the state of the economy.
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For those interested in designing and supervising the construction of infrastructure projects such as dams, bridges, tunnels and roads, becoming a civil engineer could be a good career option. Civil engineers utilize scientific techniques to analyze and test construction materials and ground soil, in addition to drafting design plans, explaining projects to government officials and the public, creating cost estimates and budgets, preparing permit document and managing land survey activities.
To enter the field, a bachelor's degree in civil engineering is generally necessary, but higher-level positions may require a master's degree. Civil engineers who provide services to the public or are in charge of a project must also be licensed, and this usually involves passing exams and obtaining related work experience. The BLS predicts 8% employment growth for civil engineers between 2014 and 2024, with the creation of almost 23,600 new jobs. In 2015, the BLS determined that the median annual salary for these engineers was $82,220.
If creating the design specifications for commercial and private buildings sounds intriguing, consider a career in architecture. Architects produce drawings that incorporate client desires and determine costs of materials and labor. They also put together contractor documents, inspect building activities and supervise drafters.
Aspiring architects need to earn a bachelor's degree in architecture which usually takes about five years to complete. They must also work in an internship for several years and pass the Architect Registration Exam before obtaining the required license. According to the BLS, employment opportunities for architects are expected to increase by 7% during the 2014-2024 decade. As seen in BLS reports from 2015, architects not working in the naval or landscape industries received a median yearly wage of $76,100.