Online Construction Management Schools: How to Choose

There are many different levels of online construction management programs, from certificates and associate's degrees for those who have no experience in the industry to master's degrees for working professionals who already have some construction management experience. Read on to learn more about your options for schools with online construction management programs.

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Undergraduate and graduate degree programs in construction management are available online, but vary greatly in the program depth and format. Here we discuss how students should research and consider these factors, as well as look at a few available degrees and schools.

How to Select an Online Construction Management School

Online construction management programs can be found through community colleges, technical schools and universities. Students must weigh the program depth and comprehensiveness with format and time constraints.

Program Depth and Comprehensiveness

Students should choose a degree level that prepares them for the type of construction management career they want. Most levels of construction management programs have the same general focus, with classes such as construction finance, project control, facility and machinery maintenance, construction law and personnel management. More advanced degrees, however, often focus more on the leadership aspects and less on such subjects as maintenance and facilities.

Format and Time Constraints

Because construction is a hands-on discipline, very few construction management programs are available fully online. Most are hybrid programs that allow students to take most of their classes over the Internet but require them to take some courses in-person or on-campus. Time requirements may also vary from program to program. Though most construction management programs are designed to be flexible to give working adults options in taking the program, some may have stricter assignment due dates or class schedules than others. Students should be sure they know what their time commitment will be before enrolling.

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Online Construction Management Programs

Certificate in Construction Management

A certificate in construction management may be for graduate students, requiring an undergraduate degree in architecture, engineering or a similar subject for admission, or it may not have any requirements at all regarding formal education. Normally, a certificate program in construction management is designed to give students who already have experience in the architecture or engineering fields knowledge of the business and management sides of construction projects. Students enrolled in a certificate program could take courses such as:

  • Project planning and control
  • Construction management principles
  • Construction estimation
  • Safety principles

Associate of Science in Construction Management

An associate's degree program in construction management is designed primarily for students who are considering entry-level jobs in construction management or who are already employed in the construction industry but wish to move into a management position. Students who complete an associate's degree in construction management may go on to work as project managers or foremen for small construction jobs or team leaders in larger projects. Courses at the associate's degree-level could include:

  • Blueprint reading
  • Surveying fundamentals
  • Project scheduling
  • Construction materials and methods

Bachelor of Science in Construction Management

A bachelor's degree in construction management is also normally for those who are seeking an entry-level job in construction management, but who may not necessarily have previous experience in the industry. This program covers a wide variety of subjects, such as:

  • Legal issues in construction
  • Engineering economics
  • Surveying, metrics and GIS
  • Soil mechanics and foundation

Students may also be required to complete a senior project.

Master of Science in Construction Management

Master's degree programs in construction management are usually designed for students who already hold an undergraduate degree, usually in engineering or architecture, and are already employed in managing construction projects. Because these degrees are normally for working professionals, they can be completed entirely online and are designed to be completed at each student's own pace. Courses in an online master's degree program in construction management might include:

  • Construction forensics
  • Land developments
  • Sustainability in construction
  • Advanced materials and methods
  • Computer applications in construction

Some programs require students to complete a research project under the guidance of a faculty member.

Schools With Online Programs in Construction Management

Penn Foster College offers an online associate degree in construction technology that requires a lab course that must be done on-campus at Pennsylvania State University in Harrisburg or can be transferred in from another institution. Students will learn about green building practices, construction planning and more. Students will be given access to a 3-year version of AutoCAD for coursework.

Indiana State University provides a fully online Bachelor of Science in Construction Management program that requires 81 credits in the major. An internship is required. Students must have a Windows operating system to complete courses online. Students will learn about building design, construction costs and more.

Louisiana State University has an online Master of Science in Construction Management that consists of 36 credits and can be completed in two years. Courses are 7 weeks long and cover topics in research methods, construction materials, construction estimating and mechanical and electrical systems. The school offers required foundational courses to students who do not have a bachelor's degree in architecture, construction management or engineering.

Online certificate, associate's, bachelor's and master's degree programs are available in construction management, but students need to evaluate the program's depth and comprehensiveness and see if it fits with their career goals. Students should also consider a program's format and any on-campus lab requirements or internships.

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