In addition to professional certificate programs, prospective construction management students can take degree programs that are designed for those who have no prior experience in the building trade. The educational prerequisites for a bachelor's degree may include high school courses in algebra, trigonometry, physics, pre-calculus, and natural sciences. Non-traditional students may need to pass a mathematics placement exam and take some of these courses before they are accepted into the program.
Associate of Applied Science in Construction Management
Associate's degree programs in construction management typically require 72-credit hours, which includes 18 or more credits of general education classes. The curriculum of an associate's program includes many common construction management courses, as well as courses in management and business. A common course load includes:
- PC applications
- Land development
- Principles of management
- Blueprint reading
- Construction safety and supervision
Bachelor of Science in Construction Management
These 4-year programs vary in their implementation, from being extensions of engineering programs to being a specialty within an undergraduate architecture school. In addition to common courses in blueprint reading, supervision, business, and construction materials, the curriculum includes a rounded education in the arts, sciences, mathematics, and humanities. A bachelor's program will commonly include courses such as:
- Construction accounting
- Structural systems
- Business law
- Electrical systems
Construction Management Professional Certificate
Construction management certificate programs often take less than one year to complete. They provide students who work as architects, contractors, or other construction-related careers with the basic knowledge needed to manage construction sites. Many schools recommend that students have a few years of construction experience and a basic understanding of the mathematical skills used in constructing buildings. Courses in these programs often include:
- Estimating and bidding
- Construction drawings
- Construction materials
- Construction management
- Project management
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most employers prefer to hire construction managers who have both experience and a bachelor's degree. The number of construction management jobs is expected to grow by 5% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). Construction managers were reported to earn a median salary of $87,400 as of May 2015, with the highest 10% earning in excess of $155,200.
Certification is not a necessary component to gaining employment as a construction manager. However, many voluntary certifications help differentiate candidates in this competitive field. Both the Construction Management Associate of America and the American Institute of Constructors have certification programs for construction managers.
Those interested in learning about construction management can consider associate's degrees, bachelor's degrees, or certificate programs. Upon completion of these programs, graduates could have the knowledge and skills needed to gain certification and secure entry-level jobs as construction managers.