Associate's degree programs in construction typically are not available online. However, students can find bachelor's-level construction technology programs in both online and hybrid formats. Students learn about building materials, construction safety, project management and cost estimation. They often can complete lab activities at home through simulated computer programs; however, some schools require laboratory assignments to be conducted on campus.
Online master's degree programs in construction management are also offered that can prepare graduates for supervisory positions in the construction field. These graduate programs usually focus on developing leadership and business skills, in addition to learning about construction technology. Online master's degree programs typically include a capstone or thesis project that can be completed on the student's own time. Both bachelor's and master's degree programs may require completion of proctored exams.
Bachelor's Degrees in Construction Technology
Undergraduate construction technology programs are available through construction, engineering or building and construction technology departments. These programs combine science, business and architecture to give students an overview of what it takes to manage construction projects large and small. Many schools offer associate's degrees in construction management but these aren't frequently available online.
Program Information and Requirements
Bachelor's degree programs in construction technology are available both fully online and in hybrid formats. These programs usually take four years to complete, but the flexibility of the online format allows students to take longer. Degree programs can require up to 180 credit hours for graduation. In many programs, students are required to complete a capstone project to showcase what they've learned.
Most online construction degree programs utilize a course management system, which allows students to complete tests online, though some instructors may require exams to be supervised by a proctor. Online construction degree programs require students to activate an email address provided by the university in order to communicate with classmates and instructors. Other technical requirements include a computer with Internet access, Java capability and functioning speakers or a headset with microphone.
Construction degree programs include courses in architecture, management and building construction technology. Mechanical systems, architectural graphics and construction-specific courses comprise up to half of a degree program. Some of these degree programs require students to complete lab courses, which cannot be completed online.
This course teaches students methods and techniques for designing and building structures using various materials, including brick, concrete, wood and steel. Students study the characteristics of building materials to learn to use them properly.
Students learn about the development of construction safety regulations, including those enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In preparation for construction manager positions, students create safety plans and policies to prevent on-the-job accidents.
Human resources and organizational management courses prepare students for supervisory roles in the business world. Through class discussions, students explore the functions and characteristics of an effective manager in addition to learning to develop and maintain an efficient, productive team.
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Master's Degrees in Construction Management
An online master's degree program in construction management allows individuals with undergraduate degrees to advance their skills and continue working as they complete courses in procurement, cost analysis, management and other business-related courses. These programs take anywhere from 2-4 years to complete.
Program Information and Requirements
Schools may require prospective master's students to have a bachelor's degree in construction management or another related field, and experience in the construction field. Students may have the option of completing a thesis or a capstone project to demonstrate their knowledge prior to graduation.
To complete an online degree program, students must have use of a computer with Internet access to interact with students and instructors in discussions and to submit assignments. Students will be notified at the start of class or during registration if they're required to use a textbook or specialized software, like Microsoft Access 2003, Microsoft SQL Server 2000 or Microsoft Project Standard 2003.
Construction management degree programs offer students a combination of business and management skills along with architecture and sustainable building methods. As students complete the necessary 36-45 credit hours, they may concentrate their studies in several areas, including sustainability, real estate and construction project management.
Cost Estimating and Bidding
In this course, students learn about statistics and measurements involved in construction-related decisions. Students learn to test hypotheses, design experiments and gather statistical samples. Some courses include study of estimates and measures to control costs. Students learn about profit objectives, analysis of the competition and how costs can affect delivery of the final product.
Students explore the legal aspects of design and construction as well as relationships between client and designer. These courses focus on raising awareness of potential liability and problems that might arise in professional practice. These courses may also include instruction on interpretation of contracts and contract law.
This course focuses on the concepts of sustainable construction through land use, site development, selection of materials and reduction of waste. Students learn about sustainable technologies used in construction from design to project management. This course also includes information on the LEED certification process.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2015, more than 239,640 individuals were employed as construction managers, of which 40% were self-employed. A May 2015 survey revealed that construction managers earned salaries averaging $97,510 per year.
According to the BLS, individuals with master's degrees in construction management can find employment with larger construction or construction management firms. These jobs include construction superintendents, safety and cost engineers or positions in project management or scheduling. Construction management professionals with top paying jobs earn anywhere from $56.45-$74.61 per hour, also according to the BLS. (www.bls.gov)
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Candidates with a bachelor's degree in construction may consider graduate degrees in construction management. Available both online and in the traditional face-to-face format, these degrees usually take a minimum of 18 months to complete and include a variety of concentrations, from real estate development to sustainability.
Construction managers may receive professional certification from organizations like the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA). The CMAA requires that candidates complete a 2-year or 4-year degree and 48 months of experience as a construction manager in addition to passing an examination through the Construction Manager Certification Institute. Membership to the CMAA allows construction managers to access a wide variety of resources for performance and building improvement. (www.cmaanet.org)
Online programs in construction technology or management can be found at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. These prepare students with courses on construction techniques, safety, management skills and cost estimation. Graduates of bachelor's and master's programs can work as construction management professionals.