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Best Online Construction Management Degrees

Construction workers are in demand, and so are those who manage job sites, workers, and supplies. These construction managers usually need a degree in order to advance in this potentially lucrative field. This guide to online construction management degrees focuses on the most pertinent things prospective students need to know before they leap into higher education. Topics range from understanding the range of programs and degrees available online to an overview of concentrations and certifications. Also useful is an interview with someone who has already walked this educational path.

Best Colleges for Online Construction Management Degrees 2017

Online construction management programs provide the valuable tools and knowledge needed to pursue or further a career in the field. We’ve scoured the options available to provide the most comprehensive list of online construction management degrees possible. Schools ranked on this list provide some of the best resources to students, including academic and career counseling services, affordable tuition and job placement services. Utilizing these metrics, along with a host of other data, we’ve ranked the nation’s online construction management degrees to find the best options available for students. Find out who made the list for Best Online Construction Management Programs for the 2017 school year.

Rank University Location Score Annual Tuition # of Online Programs Financial Aid % Student-Teacher RatioGrad RateCredit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Purdue University-Main Campus West Lafayette, IN 99.06 $9,208 1 42% 12:170%no yes yes

Purdue University's Polytechnic Institute offers comprehensive education in construction management technology through studies on- and off-campus. On campus, the Center for Career Opportunities connects students with about 150 companies per year for internship opportunities during the summer, co-ops during the semester and recruitment upon graduation. Potential companies students could work for include Pepper Construction, Kiewit, Turner Construction and Hensel Phelps. Students must complete 800 hours of internship-related experience before graduation and are required to maintain a 2.0 GPA. The degree program is accredited by the American Council for Construction Education, and students can focus on general construction or specialize in a particular area like residential construction management, mechanical and electrical construction management, healthcare construction management or demolition and restoration management. A host of scholarships are available for upperclassmen through Purdue Polytechnic. Prospective students can see current and past projects by searching for #BoilerBuilt on Instragram.

2 University of Oklahoma-Norman Campus Norman, OK 97.57 $4,128 1 77% 18:166%yes yes yes

University of Oklahoma's Norman campus offers a Construction Science program through its College of Architecture. Students attend architecture and business courses to gain a broad background, giving them communication and technical skills that will benefit them in management positions. Taking the Associate Constructor Exam senior year is a graduation requirement as well as maintaining a 2.5 GPA. Only 50 students are admitted into the upper-level courses per year after completion of prerequisites, making the degree especially competitive. Those majoring in construction science may get involved on campus through a number of field-related organizations or competitions, which the school earns multiple awards for each year. Scholarships are available to construction science students, and those who attend the biannual Construction Science Career Fair can be connected with industry employers looking for interns and permanent employees. Accredited by the American Council for Construction Education, the school boasts a 90 percent job placement rate for its grads.

3 Arizona State University-Tempe Tempe, AZ 92.80 $9,454 1 83% 23:159%no yes yes

Arizona State University's Tempe campus offers a bachelor's degree in construction management, one of only two of its kind in the state, through the School of Engineering. Applicants must meet a variety of strict criteria, including a 3.0 GPA and/or specific SAT or ACT scores. Transfer and international students may apply to the program, but must meet rigorous requirements. To make the transfer process simpler, Arizona State partners with colleges and universities within the state as well as California, Illinois and Washington. The bachelor's program focuses on the field's business aspects and has several specializations from which to choose, such as commercial, heavy, residential and specialty construction, and facility management. Depending on the emphasis, students can work in fields such as public works, real estate, commercial construction, special building projects and green construction as well as at the subcontractor level and for mechanical and electrical systems. The accelerated degree program works by giving high-achieving students the opportunity to take advanced undergrad courses that will shorten the length of time to earn a master's in construction management.

4 Western Carolina University Cullowhee, NC 90.62 $3,669 1 69% 16:151%yes yes yes

Western Carolina University offers both undergraduate and graduate programs for those interested in construction management. As an example, the bachelor's degree option prepares graduates for positions like project manager, engineer, scheduler and estimator inspector. Students are required to complete one internship in either the summer, fall or spring semester before graduation. This work experience counts as 400 hours in the construction industry and is designed to give students an opportunity to apply what they've learned in the classroom to a real world setting. At the graduate level, the school has an online master's program, which is designed to help professionals currently in the field advance their careers. This program consists of 30 semester hours and students have the flexibility to work at their own pace.

5 East Carolina University Greenville, NC 89.73 $3,959 1 48% 18:156%no yes yes

At East Carolina University, students can pursue a construction management bachelor's degree that meets the National Housing Endowment's Gold Standard Residential Curriculum. The program, offered through the College of Engineering and Technology, is one of the largest of its kind in the Southeastern United States and was the first to be accredited in North Carolina through the American Council for Construction Education. The college has state-of-the-art classrooms and labs, including the Caterpillar High-Bay Laboratory where students learn to use an overhead gantry crane to put together steel structures and framing units. The degree program teaches commercial, residential and infrastructure construction through in-person classes. Students must maintain a 2.0 GPA and complete an internship with 500 hours of construction work with a state-licensed company before graduating. A laptop is required for the program, and the student store sells Apple and Dell computers at educational pricing with additional savings through the store. East Carolina also offers a master's degree in construction management for those looking to advance their career.

6 North Dakota State University-Main Campus Fargo, ND 87.44 $6,604 1 38% 18:153%yes yes yes

North Dakota State University's main campus houses the Department of Construction Management and Engineering, which offers a bachelor's degree in construction management accredited by the American Council for Construction Education. The program, instructed by faculty with doctoral degrees and some with extra professional licenses, combines applied technology, business, construction techniques and management to build a strong foundation for a successful career in the field. Associated General Contractors of North Dakota and other construction firms employ students for summer jobs. Transfer students must have a cumulative 2.5 GPA for the pre-construction management program, and a 2.75 GPA is required to apply for the professional program. A minor in business must be earned before graduation, and students can seek professional licenses through the American Institute of Constructors and Constructor Certification Commission. Several degree-specific scholarships are provided by AGC of North Dakota, the Home Builders Care Foundation and the National Association of Home Builders.

7 Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College Baton Rouge, LA 86.51 $6,678 1 55% 23:167%no yes yes

Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College students can earn a bachelor's degree in construction management with five available areas of specialization: industrial, highway, commercial, residential and general construction. The program, accredited by the American Council for Construction Education since 1982 teaches students a broad range of industry-related topics, including engineering, construction, design and business, that aim to prepare students for the job market. Students can minor in business administration or technical sales and must earn a C or higher in all courses before moving on to the next. Five certificates can also be earned through the construction management courses, pending success on exams. A variety of degree-specific scholarships are available to those who meet the criteria.

8 Indiana State University Terre Haute, IN 84.03 $8,216 1 64% 20:142%yes yes yes

Indiana State University's bachelor's degree program in construction management provides its students with industry experience for technical and managerial roles. Professors have real world experience in the construction field, and students can gain hands-on experience through the school's state-of-the-art labs as well as the co-op/internship program. Students can also earn this degree entirely online. All distance education learners must have access to a Windows computer. The online construction management degree can also be earned in four years with a full-time course load, or students may opt to attend part-time if needed. Transfer students are accepted from in-state, out-of-state and Canada only, as are military or state department personnel with APO/FPO addresses.

9 Florida International University Miami, FL 82.52 $4,721 1 36% 25:152%no yes yes

Florida International University's construction management program is closely tied to the south Florida construction industry. The program, which is accredited by the American Council for Construction Education, offers students the education needed to become a construction manager, scheduler, cost estimator or a variety of other construction-related positions. Applicants must have a high school diploma, SAT/ACT scores and a cumulative 2.0 GPA. To graduate, 121 credits must be completed. Graduates can go on to find employment in land development, highway heavy construction or underwater and space age facilities, to name a few examples.

10 Northern Kentucky University Highland Heights, KY 82.13 $8,472 1 57% 19:138%yes no yes

Northern Kentucky University offers a bachelor's degree in construction management that can lead its graduates to fill jobs like field engineer, project manager and safety engineer. The program is accredited by the American Council for Construction Education. Students are required to earn a C or higher in all program courses and prerequisites, and they will gain hands-on experience in the field through 600 hours of required internships. Sophomores are also encouraged to begin applying for scholarships after the first year of courses are completed. Juniors often join a campus organization or compete on a team like the Mechanical Contractors Association of America. The construction management program offers several degree-based scholarships, including Macy's Scholarship, Construction Specifications Institute Scholarship, Homebuilders Association Scholarship and the Spirit of Construction Scholarship, the last of which is available to any student and also qualified veterans. Students may also apply for outside scholarships like the Allied Construction Industries Scholarship.

11 University of Wisconsin-Stout Menomonie, WI 80.79 $7,014 1 24% 20:154%yes yes yes

University of Wisconsin-Stout's BS in construction degree has been accredited by the American Council of Construction Education since 1994. The faculty brings experience from a number of areas such as energy, heavy and civil construction, and industrial and water/wastewater. The on-campus learning environment is team-based to imitate construction project scenarios. Construction courses focus on subjects such as structural systems, architectural technology and communications. Lab requirements provide hands-on practice, and students must complete a co-op or internship to graduate. The co-op, real world experience shows prospective employers that grads can perform well in the field. Students seeking financial aid can apply for Stout Foundation Scholarships and Construction Industry Advisory Board Scholarships through the university. In addition, the construction program hosts the UW Stout Construction Industry Advisory Board, which includes representatives from construction-related industries and keeps the curriculum on par with current industry standards and requirements.

12 Everglades University Boca Raton, FL 80.39 $14,400 1 35% 11:133%no yes yes

Everglades University offers a construction management bachelor's degree both on campus and online for added flexibility. Required courses cover management and business skills to prepare students for an entry-level career as a manager, project manager or property manager. Students will learn about construction ethics, estimating and contracts. The program also details laws, regulations, planning, design and other methods used in the industry. Graduates can become certified as a LEED Green Associate after passing an examination. The Financial Services Department helps students prepare financially through a scholarship search, a net price calculator and student loan information. The university's news and announcements web page features construction-related topics, including job forecasts, specific construction project highlights and a spotlight on how higher education is reshaping the field.

Best Colleges for Online Construction Management (2-Year Schools)

Rank University Location Score Annual Tuition # of Online Programs Financial Aid % Student-Teacher RatioGrad RateCredit for Experience Placement Services Counseling Services University Information
1 Arizona Western College Yuma, AZ 99.67 $1,824 1 16% 21:1N/Ano yes yes
2 Allen County Community College Iola, KS 92.95 $1,824 1 72% 16:1N/Ano no yes
3 Mississippi Delta Community College Moorhead, MS 91.52 $2,490 1 54% 18:1N/Ano yes yes
4 Holmes Community College Goodman, MS 91.13 $2,000 2 38% 18:1N/Ano yes yes
5 State Fair Community College Sedalia, MO 90.91 $3,288 1 15% 17:1N/Ayes yes yes
6 Washtenaw Community College Ann Arbor, MI 90.90 $3,576 3 9% 18:1N/Ayes yes yes
7 Nebraska Indian Community College Macy, NE 90.21 $4,080 1 77% 6:1N/Ayes no yes
8 Shoreline Community College Shoreline, WA 89.08 $3,427 1 21% 16:1N/Ayes yes yes
9 North Dakota State College of Science Wahpeton, ND 88.28 $3,781 1 31% 11:1N/Ayes yes yes
10 Prince George's Community College Largo, MD 86.48 $4,440 1 5% 16:1N/Ayes yes yes
11 Aims Community College Greeley, CO 85.59 $2,538 1 20% 16:1N/Ayes no yes
12 North Hennepin Community College Brooklyn Park, MN 80.28 $3,962 2 2% 25:1N/Ayes yes yes
13 Palomar College San Marcos, CA 80.05 $1,288 1 N/A 26:1N/Ayes no yes

Who Earns an Online Degree in Construction Management?

Students looking to enter the workforce for the first time or long-time workers who want to change or advance their careers have a long list of possibilities open to them. Why pick construction management? The individuals profiled below are a sampling of those who have varied and important reasons to choose both online learning and the construction management degree.

Explore Online Degree ProgramsSearch Program
Student Profile #1

Carey has worked in construction all his life, but he has never made it past being a master carpenter. He wants to take over management of job sites, but also wants to bring home more money for his family – they have a new baby on the way. He opts for an online construction management program that allows him to work at his own pace, so he can get his degree but still be there for his family and his busy work schedule.

Student Profile #2

Alyssa has always been a great manager, and her love for construction, design, and architecture has drawn her to looking into online courses in construction management. Though she doesn’t have much experience with construction sites, she knows what she is doing when it comes to supply chains, human resources, facilities management, and the like. A job opening with a large construction firm has caught her attention, but she needs is a certificate to better demonstrate her relevant knowledge in order to walk through that employment door. She chooses to attend an online program because she can complete assignments without letting her current work suffer.

Student Profile #3

Shawn has honed his craft for decades, but he feels as though his career path has become stagnant. It’s time for a change. There have been several jobs that he wasn’t quite qualified for, because although he has a great deal of experience under his tool belt, he doesn’t have the right level of education. As a result, Shawn has decided to change all that with an online construction management degree program, so that he can enhance his resume and finally further his career.

Timeline for Online Construction Management Degree

There are numerous degree options for those who want to enter construction management. Though most employers prefer a bachelor’s degree for entry-level work, many students opt to begin with the associate degree, or choose to take their education further with the master’s or PhD. This timeline breaks down the various degree programs, how long they take to complete, and what students can expect from each. Please note that the time required for any of the following programs can vary, depending upon how many classes a student takes, how quickly he/she completes those classes, and what kind of concentrations or specializations he/she might choose.

Online Associate Degree in Construction Management – Two Years

A bachelor’s degree is typically the minimum sought by employers for entry-level work, but the associate degree offers many strong benefits for those who want to explore the field at a more affordable cost, and then transfer into a four-year degree. The associate degree prepares students to enter the bachelor’s degree program by offering a wealth of general education courses, as well as courses that focus on the fundamentals of construction management, such as cost estimations, reading and creating blueprints, and understanding supply chains. These fundamental courses provide a firm foundation for students who want to transfer their credits to a bachelor’s degree program in construction management or a related degree field. A two-year online degree, plus work experience, might be enough for the construction manager who supervises smaller projects.

Often available through community colleges as an online degree, the associate in construction management can also serve as a stepping stone for students who need a general degree in order to advance in their current position in the construction industry. Though the typical degree path takes two years to complete, students who take accelerated courses might be able to complete the associate degree in 18 months or even less.

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Construction Management – Four Years

This is usually what employers want to see on a resume for a construction manager. The bachelor’s degree begins with general education courses that lay the foundation for all other courses throughout the program, such as mathematics, English, social studies, and the like. Students can also enroll in core courses in construction management, such as the following:

Statics and Strength: An overview of building materials and their stresses, deflections and static loads, including the physics of construction and processes that affect the strength of building material.

Building Codes: Designed to familiarize students with various building codes, including those for plumbing, electrical, mechanical and structural. Also focuses on zoning ordinances, assessments and inspections.

Principles of Building Construction Management: A broad overview of the construction management profession, including the history, typical roles and responsibilities, environmental concerns, current issues and career paths.

Construction and Measurement: Understanding the importance of layout, leveling, surveying, management of underground utilities, soil conditions, storm water drainage and more in the context of building.

Project Scheduling: Planning for equipment, labor and materials, as well as using a variety of communication tools in planning and scheduling projects with all vendors and workers.

Safety Management: Focus on all safety aspects on a construction site, including program development, federal and state regulations, life-saving equipment, personnel protection and safety administration.

Legal Issues: Overview of points that commonly arise during the course of construction, including land zoning, ownership, contractor liability, liens, litigation, arbitration, hazardous waste issues and labor law.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently over 100 programs for construction management in the United States. Many of these programs are online and can be found at colleges and universities, private colleges, and dedicated online schools. The bachelor’s degree program usually takes four years to complete. The nature of online learning also makes it easier for students who need more than the standard four years, if they choose to work at a slower pace while juggling family and career obligations.

National University
  • Enrollment: 15,925
  • Tuition: $11,736
  • College Type: Private
  • State: California
  • Bachelor of Science in Construction Management
Indiana State University
  • Enrollment: 13,141
  • Tuition: $8,098
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Indiana
  • Bachelor of Science in Construction Management
Baker College
  • Enrollment: 5,356
  • Tuition: $7,740
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Michigan
  • Bachelor of Science in Construction Management
Everglades University
  • Enrollment: 1,612
  • Tuition: $14,800
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Florida
  • Bachelor of Science in Construction Management

Master’s Degree in Construction Management – Six Years

Once the bachelor’s degree is complete, students can opt to hone their skills even further with the master’s degree in construction management. The master’s degree program focuses on advanced concepts in construction management, including leadership, construction operation, and current and emerging management techniques and skills. Depending on the college, a student may be required to complete a thesis. Some colleges, however, may not have such a requirement. Purdue College of Technology’s online MS in Building Construction Management program, for instance, does not mandate a thesis, but students will need to complete a capstone paper discussing how to improve a company or one’s specialized knowledge. Some of the more common courses at the master’s degree level include:

Construction Leadership: Practices and principles of leadership are discussed here, including leadership styles and traits, motivation, emotional intelligence, prevailing theories of leadership, dealing with change, collaborative environments and alliances, and more.

Control Techniques: Topics include how to control the management of a project from start to finish, including contracts and procurement, planning for a bid, cash flow, project budgets and an overview of current case studies.

Cost Estimations and Bidding Strategies: Focus on proper estimations of project cost and strategies to convey those costs when bidding, as well as analyzing competition, profit objectives, and determining balances between profit and cost.

Risk Management in Construction: This course delves into the risks involved in the technical and business aspects of construction, including astute assessment and developing the appropriate strategies of response.

Accounting and Financial Management: Examines accounting that specifically applies to construction projects, such as tracking of overhead, equipment, labor, materials and other resources. Also offers information on tax implications, revenue from contracts and proper financial reporting.

Keep in mind that these are examples of the core courses one might take in a master’s degree program–at this level, concentration courses typically fill up the last several semesters and include targeted education in various fields, such as project management or real estate.

The master’s degree may take less than two years to earn. Many online construction management programs are designed with working professionals in mind, so students can proceed at their own pace and complete the work on a schedule that is right for them. Some students can finish the master’s program within one year, while others space out the classes and spend three years on their master’s degree.

University of Florida
  • Enrollment: 20,747
  • Tuition: $12,642
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Florida
  • Master of International Construction Management
University of Washington
  • Enrollment: 14,609
  • Tuition: $15,303
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Washington
  • Master of Science in Construction Management
Arizona State University
  • Enrollment: 10,829
  • Tuition: $10,818
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Arizona
  • Master of Science in Construction Management
University of Houston
  • Enrollment: 9,714
  • Tuition: $9,612
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Texas
  • Master of Science in Construction Management (M.S.)
Western Carolina University
  • Enrollment: 2,147
  • Tuition: $6,694
  • College Type: Public
  • State: North Carolina
  • Master of Construction Management
University of Wisconsin
  • Enrollment: 719
  • Tuition: $8,749
  • College Type: Public
  • State: Wisconsin
  • Master of Science in Construction Management
Wentworth Institute of Technology
  • Enrollment: 152
  • Tuition: $34,350
  • College Type: Private
  • State: Massachusetts
  • Master of Science in Construction Management

Online Certificate in Construction Management

Students who opt for an online certificate in construction management might do so at any point in the educational journey. Some jump right into a certificate program through a vocational or technical college, and might take six months to a year to complete the requirements. Others who already have experience in the industry may look for a professional certificate as a means of enhancing or specializing their construction management skills and knowledge. In this case, a certificate program can help individuals brush up on current management techniques, keep up-to-date with evolving industry developments and standards, and qualify for advanced positions.

Students can choose an entry-level certificate or a certificate with prerequisites, which can only be earned after a certain degree has been reached. In either case, the amount of time required for the certificate program itself is typically anywhere from six months to two years, depending on the school’s offerings, the student’s chosen pace, and how in-depth the courses to earn the certificate might be.

Concentrations and Specialties

Those who have a particular career path in mind under the umbrella of construction management can target their education through a concentration or specialization. There are dozens of concentrations to choose from–most schools offer at least two or three, especially at the master’s degree level. Some of the most common concentrations for construction management professionals include:

Commercial construction: For those who intend to work with larger buildings, such as grocery stores, shopping malls, large office complexes, and the like.

Residential construction: Designed for those who intend to manage projects related to family homes, apartments, subdivisions, and similar residential buildings and facilities.

Sustainable and green construction: Focuses on materials and best practices that are friendly to the earth, including LEED certifications and sustainable buildings.

Heavy construction (civil engineering): This concentration is ideal for those who want to manage projects that involve building bridges, roadways, airports, and the like.

Specialty construction (mechanical and electrical): Emphasis on working with electrical wiring and mechanical requirements of large buildings.

Concrete construction: Overview of the requirements and unique aspects of concrete used for residential, commercial, and heavy construction.

Building for disaster-resistant communities: Focuses on building techniques and infrastructure systems that can withstand natural disasters, including hurricanes, earthquakes, and the like.

Students who are interested in a particular emphasis should decide on their educational path at the start of their construction management program, so that they have plenty of time to complete the proper prerequisites.

How to Select an Online Program

Earning a degree requires time, money, and effort. Those who choose to put forth all of that energy should be absolutely certain they have chosen the right online program in order to make their time and financial contributions worthwhile. Here are some of the most important elements to consider when narrowing down the list of online construction management degrees and the schools that provide them.

Accreditation. One of the most important components of any college education is accreditation status. Accreditation means that the school or program has been reviewed by an impartial accrediting body and has been found to meet the standards that put it on par with other colleges and universities. Furthermore, accreditation matters greatly to those in construction management, as the important Certified Construction Manager credential can only be awarded to those who earned a degree from an accredited college or university.

Faculty with construction industry knowledge. Those who want to become the best must learn from the best. That’s why the quality of the faculty teaching every course in construction management is so important. Look for professors who have a great deal of industry experience as project managers, construction managers/superintendents, or construction consultants; have conducted research or presented studies that made waves in the construction community; or have set forth initiatives that eventually changed how certain things are done in the field.

Internships and other hands-on opportunities. In the world of construction, education matters, but so does experience. Many online construction management degree programs work closely with a variety of companies and businesses to provide internship placement, hands-on training, and further experience for participants. Look for a school that has numerous opportunities available to students who wish to accumulate experience while they continue earning their degree.

Format and time expectations. When choosing an online program, look for those that allow the ultimate in flexibility. Those in construction management need to have a great deal of experience under their belt, which means putting work aside for a few years to attend colleges in a brick-and-mortar institution is often not feasible. Online programs solve that problem by offering learning formats that allow students to take classes at a pace that is right for them. Students should consider their current work schedule, decide how much time they can devote to an educational program, and then look for an online construction management degree option that works for them.

Construction Management Skills Map

Those who have never experienced distance education might wonder just what they will learn. Are the courses the same as what they would experience in a traditional program? Can students gain the valuable marketable skills and knowledge that they would if attending a campus-based program?

Below is a look at the skills and knowledge that distance students learn in an online construction management degree, and how those skills translate to the construction world.

Course Course Description Skills and Knowledge Gained

Project Management Introduction/ Overview

A study of this discipline, including history, tools and techniques, processes and principles, plus the evolution and life cycle of projects.

A deeper understanding of how and why certain techniques are used in project management, and how to apply each to actual projects in the field.

Legal Issues in Construction

An in-depth study of the legal points important in construction and management, including contracts, liens, litigation and arbitration, dealing with hazardous waste, and labor laws.

This prepares students to look for legal issues before they happen, choose their projects wisely to avoid any legal problems, and understand the labor laws that apply to their workers and projects.

Cost Estimates and Analysis

A financial course focusing on project costs, including labor, vendors, materials, and equipment. Students also learn about overhead, bidding, profits reporting and computer-based estimating.

A firm understanding of the financial implications of the job so that students can avoid mistakes in bidding and planning, thus saving them a great deal of money and hassle in the long run.

Project Scheduling

Focus on planning and creating schedules to take into account materials delivery, worker schedules, project constraints, equipment usage, and communication with all the appropriate parties.

Scheduling can make or break a project. Students are able to effectively handle scheduling conflicts that inevitably arise, as well as keep the big picture in mind when they begin to schedule a large-scale project.

Documents and Contracts

Students learn about the wide variety of documents and contracts that are generated when a project begins, understanding what each means, and how to protect themselves through the use of such documents.

Students gain knowledge that helps them understand and process new contracts, including what language to keep and/or avoid.

Building Codes

An understanding of building codes as they apply to various types of projects, including codes that govern plumbing, electrical, and mechanical.

Building codes are the constant companion of construction managers. Students are able to properly inspect and assess sites to ensure that all building codes are met, as well as provide instruction on how to fix problems when something does not pass inspection.

Management and Leadership Principles

Students learn advanced skills in leadership, management principles, dealing with a variety of strong personalities, understanding how to manage human resources, and how to keep their projects running smoothly.

Proper leadership and management are important on any project. Students are able to handle conflicts, motivate workers, and deal with individuals of all stripes during their time on a project.

Resume Booster: Certifications & Credentials

Those in the construction industry can choose to further their education or enhance their resume with a variety of certifications in the field. In some cases, these certifications teach professionals a new angle on what they already know. In other cases, certification is a method of demonstrating knowledge and skills in a particular area or specialty.

One of the most frequent certifications for construction managers is the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) credential, offered through the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA). Those who choose to earn the CCM can do so with varying levels of education: a bachelor’s degree, an associate degree plus four years of experience, or no degree but at least eight years of experience in the field. In addition, the applicant must complete at least 48 months of experience as a construction manager. These rigorous requirements help ensure that individuals have an extensive amount of relevant and current education and/or experience.

Another option for aspiring construction managers is the Construction Manager-in-Training credential, or CMIT. This is designed for those who are currently pursuing a degree or have just graduated from a construction management program. Candidates need to show that they are gaining the proper experience and have every intention of becoming a construction manager. This credential is available through the CMAA.

The American Institute of Constructors (AIC) also offers credentials suitable for those in construction management. For example, the Associate Constructor (AC) certification is for those who are entering the profession, while the Certified Professional Constructor (CPC) is designed for those who have at least eight years of experience in the field–in reality, the average CPC holder has 24 years of experience.

Other qualifications are available to provide more training in particular aspects of construction. Common credentials address subjects such as health and safety, lead abatement, asbestos removal, scaffold building, forklift operation, and pipeline operations. Credentials from national agencies and organizations include green building/LEED certifications and OSHA safety certifications.

Many construction managers choose to earn individual certifications gradually, enhancing their job prospects, knowledge, and skills over time. Those who plan to work in a specific area, such as commercial building or energy-saving construction, can find numerous certifications that might help in their pursuit of advancement.

Surprising Career Paths

Construction manager is a typical title for those who graduate with an online construction management degree or a related major. But the world of construction is a vast one, and there are many opportunities outside of this specific role. The following three jobs could be considered non-traditional, but they put the same skills and knowledge learned in a construction management program to good use.

Cost Estimator Construction managers learn a great deal about budgeting, bidding and planning out projects with a firm bottom line in mind. Cost estimators look at the time, materials, labor, and budget to help clients decide on the best approach to a project. Though this work is often done in the construction world, it might also translate to other industries, such as automotive or engineering.

Green Construction Expert/Consultant As more individuals and companies seek to go green, those who have experience with sustainable materials and construction techniques are expected to be in high demand. Construction managers who focus strongly on sustainable, energy-efficient techniques can find unique opportunities in green construction.

Architect Construction managers who adore the design and planning phase but are not keen on the actual site work might find a good home as an architect. Architects work closely with clients to create a design that fits their vision, as well as their budget. They might design everything from a residential home to a major skyscraper, or choose to specialize in a particular area, such as historic buildings or civil construction projects.

Q&A: Advice from a Construction Management Graduate

Talking with those who have already walked the educational path of a construction manager can be a huge help to those who are considering the degree. Lauren Permuy, the Vice President of Business Development at Power Design, Inc., has a few words of wisdom for those who are intending to enter construction management.

What led to your decision to pursue a position in construction management?

When I first was accepted to the University of Florida, I wanted to major in marketing until I interned at Power Design for a summer. I got the opportunity to see a lot of different project types and experience several facets of the industry. It was fun to work on such large scale and high profile buildings. Power Design specializes in high rises, so it was very rewarding for me to drive through several major metropolitan markets and be able to point out projects that I had a hand in building. After that, I changed my focus the next semester to construction management and never looked back. Also, my parents work in construction and they love it. I grew up hearing about the business around the dinner table so I was always drawn to it.

What is your educational background, and how does it apply to your current position?

I got my Bachelor of Science in Construction Management at the University of Florida and it has served me well in my career. At the University of Florida, the construction program focuses on construction from the general contractor’s point of view. Even though I work for an electrical contractor, all my clients are GCs and developers so I was able to get a good understanding of their language and expectations and how to relate.

What does your day-to-day work entail?

I spend a lot of time working with clients on projects they have in the pipeline. In conjunction with our regional operations teams, I analyze if Power Design is the right fit and strategize our approach. I provide a national understanding of the customer relationship while the regional operation teams provide feedback on their resource availability and desire for that type of project in the specific area.

Do you have any advice for students interested in entering construction management?

The construction markets are getting busier and there is a labor shortage. There are a lot of job opportunities right now. I recommend that once students are in the program, they keep an open mind. Like I mentioned earlier, the classes are geared toward general construction, but there are a lot of great opportunities to work for subcontractors with the chance to become more specialized.

Construction Management Degree Search Tool

While those working in construction management historically have not been required to hold a degree, more and more those who aspire to top level positions will be expected to have postsecondary education. Institutions across the nation have responded to this need, creating options ranging from certificates and associate degrees to master’s level studies. The search tool below will help students sort through these options while also only showing students online construction management programs that meet their criteria in areas such as financial assistance, real-world training options, and excellent student support.