Construction Manager Certification and Degree Program Requirements

Construction managers aid in the development of construction activities. Programs can be found at the bachelor's and master's degree levels. Explore common coursework, program specializations, along with salary and employment outlook.

Essential Information

Construction manager academic programs are available at the bachelor's and master's degree levels, with bachelor's degrees taking 4-years to complete and master's degrees taking 2-years. Post-baccalaureate certificates in construction management are available but typically count toward master's degree program enrollment. In degree programs, students have the opportunity to develop leadership and management skills needed to oversee construction projects.

Students seeking enrollment in a bachelor's degree program must possess a high school diploma or equivalent, and submit SAT or ACT scores. Along with possessing a bachelor's degree in a related field, master's degree programs may also require letters of recommendation, a resume, statement of purpose, and potentially submission of GRE scores. Master's degree programs offer program specializations including green construction, sustainability, real estate, and construction project management.

After graduation, voluntary certification through the Construction Manager Certification Institute is available. Professionals need to meet academic and experience requirements to qualify for the certification programs.

Bachelor of Science in Construction Management

The Bachelor of Science in Construction Management introduces students to core concepts of construction management. Many students who hold undergraduate degrees in civil engineering and business also enter into the field of construction management. However, the construction management curriculum is much more diverse and draws from disciplines such as architecture, business, civil engineering, math and economics. Many construction management departments argue that their graduates are much better positioned to deal with construction management issues in the field than graduates from other academic departments.

Admission into a bachelor's degree program in construction management requires that applicants complete all high school general education courses in math, science and English. Colleges and universities also require that prospective students submit scores from either the SAT or ACT exam. High school students that complete extra courses in math and science will improve their chances of being admitted.

The bachelor's degree program introduces students to a wide range of subjects pertinent to the construction management field. Courses may address:

  • Introduction to management in the construction industry
  • Materials strength
  • Construction project management techniques and construction safety
  • Structural analysis
  • Sustainable design
  • Finance and accounting in construction

Master of Science in Construction Management

The goal of the master's degree program is to create effective construction managers who deliver projects on time and have strong managerial and problem-solving skills. Most master's degree programs require that students hold a bachelor's degree in engineering or construction management. There are, however, some programs that will admit students who have a bachelor's degree in a non-technical field such as business.

If a master's degree program offers concentration areas, then the curriculum may change accordingly. However, core courses emphasize management, construction techniques and control of costs. Master's degree programs could also offer specialization options, such as green construction or project management. A standard curriculum for construction management may touch upon:

  • Risk management
  • Techniques of control in construction management
  • Bidding strategies and cost estimation
  • Scheduling
  • Improvement and analysis of productivity
  • Construction practices abroad

Popular Career Options

Graduates of a master's degree program can apply for upper-level construction management positions with a variety of commercial and residential builders. Job titles may include:

  • Construction superintendent
  • Assistant superintendent
  • Project manager
  • Cost engineer
  • Safety engineer
  • Facility manager

Employment and Salary Prospects

Completion of a bachelor's program qualifies graduates for entry-level positions in construction management. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that employment of construction managers is projected to grow 5% from 2014-2024, which is faster than average. The median salary for construction managers as of 2014 was $87,400, reports the BLS.

Continuing Education Information

Students can continue their graduate studies in construction management and enroll in a doctoral program. Graduates with a Ph.D. are qualified to teach at the university level and participate in research projects and the publication of papers in construction journals.

The Construction Manager Certification Institute (CMCI) is associated with the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) and determines the standards regarding construction management. The goal of the certification process is to recognize the skills and experience of construction managers in the United States. Applicants that wish to complete the certification process must meet minimum requirements in formal education and years of field experience.

Only applicants who have degrees accredited by the America Council for Construction Education (ACCE), the National Architecture Accrediting Board (NAAB) or the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) will be admitted into the program. Construction managers must also have a degree in one of the following areas: engineering and construction science, construction management, or architecture.

Completion of the certification process results in the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) credential and signifies leadership and experience. Certification may lead to better job opportunities as well as recognition from supervisors and clients.

Certification for construction management can be obtained after completing the proper education, typically a bachelor's or master's degree program, then obtaining relevant field experience.

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