Best Online Construction Management Degrees 2021

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Online construction management programs prepare graduates to assume leadership roles in the construction industry. Construction managers oversee the planning, budgeting, and construction phases of building projects on behalf of owners. Leveraging technical, managerial, and interpersonal skills, they strive to ensure safety, efficiency, quality, and legal and regulatory compliance.

These professionals need extensive knowledge of construction processes, materials, and technology. Strong communication skills help them serve as a key point of contact among owners, inspectors, and design and construction professionals. They must also cultivate essential business skills in areas like budgeting, scheduling, personnel management, and contract negotiation.

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Construction managers collaborate with diverse teams, including owners, legal advisors, general contractors, subcontractors, and construction workers. Unlike general contractors, who typically join a project after design work is finalized, construction managers may provide input during the development phase. They often work closely with the building designers, architects, and engineers who conceptualize, design, and blueprint projects.

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Top 5 Best Online Construction Management Degrees

  • What is construction management?

    Construction management draws on business principles and industry expertise to oversee the budget, schedule, and execution of building projects. Construction managers also liaise between project participants.

  • How long does it take to earn a degree in construction management?

    Depending on the level, an online degree in construction management typically requires 2-4 years of full-time study. Some schools offer five-year combined bachelor’s and master’s programs.

  • Can I study construction management online?

    Distance learning programs deliver some of the most affordable construction management degrees. Online options include associate, bachelor’s, and doctoral programs.

  • What is the difference between construction management and civil engineering?

    While civil engineers and construction managers might work on similar large-scale infrastructure projects, civil engineers focus on design, planning, and analysis. Construction managers oversee the physical construction process.

Best Online Construction Management Degrees 2021

  1. Purdue University-Main Campus

    West Lafayette, IN



    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



    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



    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



    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



    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.

Career and Salary Outlook for Construction Management

The construction industry offers stable and well-compensated opportunities for individuals with online degrees in construction management. According to Census Bureau data, construction spending continues to steadily rise since 2011, boosting demand for workers and managers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects construction management job opportunities to grow 8% between 2019-2029.

Construction managers ensure that projects proceed on schedule and within budget. They also hire personnel and execute quality control protocols to verify that materials and construction meet clients’ standards.

As construction technology advances in complexity, employers increasingly favor college-educated management candidates. An online degree in construction management, combined with industry experience, provides ideal preparation for launching a career in the field.

Graduates of online construction management programs typically begin their careers as assistants. Graduate degrees can help some professionals accelerate their career progression and pursue specializations. Some individuals with a construction management degree also work as cost estimators. These professionals specialize in calculating and analyzing estimated project costs.

Career Lowest 10% Median Annual Salary Highest 10%
Construction Manager Less than $56,140 $95,260 More than $164,790

Source: BLS

Accreditation for Construction Management Degrees

Students pursuing an online degree in construction management should verify the accreditation status of each institution and program before applying. Schools may earn regional or national accreditation through an independent review process.

Regional accrediting agencies maintain more rigorous standards and typically assess academically oriented, nonprofit institutions. Many schools accept transfer credits only from similarly accredited institutions. Additionally, only students at accredited schools qualify for federal financial aid.

Programs within a school may also hold accreditation. Many of the best construction management online programs hold accreditation from the American Council for Construction Education.

Courses in a Construction Management Program

Integrating business instruction with construction-related coursework, online construction management programs examine the construction field’s processes, standards, stakeholders, and subfields.

Work experience requirements and capstone projects allow bachelor’s and master’s candidates to explore areas of interest, demonstrate technical skills, and apply theoretical principles to practical situations. Master’s-level and upper-division undergraduate courses may explore specialized areas such as disaster restoration, sustainable building, and heavy construction.

Courses vary by program, but the following list outlines several courses commonly found in online construction management programs.

This course covers the use of written and graphic construction documents, such as drawings, specifications, and contract materials, in project planning. Students learn to analyze and interpret standard vocabulary, symbols, abbreviations, and conventions. The course may also explore material take off, the process by which construction managers ascertain required materials based on design documents.

A firm understanding of construction laws and regulations prepares aspiring construction managers to oversee compliance issues on the job. Frequently featured in both bachelor’s and master’s curricula, this course examines the U.S. legal system and its impact on the construction industry. Learners investigate subjects such as labor, bidding, contracts, and dispute resolution.

This course teaches students to devise, implement, and update project schedules as part of an integrated planning and control system. The curriculum may introduce various project scheduling methods, including automated and manual techniques, or emphasize a particular framework, such as critical path method scheduling. Students learn to allocate labor, materials, and equipment resources.

Students in this course prepare to use cost estimating methods, procedures, and software to identify and value materials, labor, and equipment. They learn to organize estimates, quantify direct and indirect costs, and prepare bids. The course may explore ethical issues and address cost estimating techniques for specific factors, such as mechanical and electrical systems.

A popular topic in graduate and undergraduate programs, sustainable construction prioritizes resource-efficient and environmentally responsible building processes and materials. The course exposes learners to the essential concepts and practices of this emerging construction specialization. Students analyze current industry practices and explore the environmental and financial impact of sustainable building.

Scholarships for Construction Management

Learners pursuing an online degree in construction management at any level may qualify for scholarships. Colleges, universities, businesses, and nonprofits may offer scholarships based on factors such as course of study, financial need, and academic achievement. The following list outlines several scholarship opportunities for construction management students.

NAWIC Founders’ Scholarship Foundation

Who Can Apply: The National Association of Women in Construction awards multiple annual scholarships to students pursuing a construction degree. Open to applicants of any gender, these scholarships require a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Amount: $500 – $2,000

Associated General Contractors of America Scholarship Program

Who Can Apply: AGC scholarships support graduate and undergraduate students enrolled in accredited construction management or construction engineering programs. Undergraduate applicants must be at least rising sophomores. Application materials include transcripts and evaluations from faculty and employers.
Amount: $2,500 – $3,750

APA Jim Boyce Memorial Scholarship

Who Can Apply: The Accessibility Professionals Association grants the scholarship to students pursuing a degree closely related to accessibility design, such as construction management. Applicants must possess a minimum 2.5 GPA and demonstrate an interest in accessibility through a design portfolio and career goals.
Amount: $2,000

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