Construction Management is a growing field and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 8% increase in construction management jobs until 2029.
The best online construction management degree combines online learning with affordable tuition, and credits for work experience and other forms of learning. Construction managers typically have field experience and so a degree that allows them to evaluate experience for college credits is helpful for faster degree completion.
Affordability of the college degree is also important since many construction engineers are working adults who may not qualify for scholarships that typical high school graduates qualify for. By applying for scholarships and by choosing affordable programs, high school graduates can also save time and money.
Online degree for Construction Management
Dakota County Technical (DCT) college offers an associate degree in construction management which has the following features:
- The degree can be completed entirely online
- The tuition fees for online or classroom courses are relatively low
- Additional college credits can be earned through:
- Evaluation of work experience
- CLEP/ DSST exams
- Industry credentials
Here are three benefits of the DCT college associate degree:
- The total per-credit fees for the online college courses are $220 which is among the lowest for an engineering field.
- Since its completely online, anyone within the US or internationally can enroll into this degree.
- Additional time and money is saved by utilizing work experience, writing CLEP/DSST tests for credits and other industry exams for credit. CLEP/ DSST courses cost about $150 for a 3 to 6 credit exam including the costs for study materials or practice tests.
- So students can complete about college courses for about 30 credits and then take CLEP/ DSST exams for another 15 to 20 credits and get their work experience evaluated or write certification exams for the remaining 10 or so credits.
Ashworth college in Georgia also has an affordable, online associate degree program in Construction management. The credit for prior learning at Ashworth is likely to be limited to just previous college courses and a few CLEP credits if you have them upon enrollment.
Another difference is that at Dakota college, you can take the CLEP or other credits anytime, but at Ashworth you will need to get any previous credit-specific documents submitted within 90 days of enrollment.
SUNY Delhi in NY state is a transfer-friendly college that has an online Bachelors in Techology (BT) degree in Construction Management. The online courses tuition fee is also relatively low even for out-of-state students.
So students can complete their associate degree at Dakota Technical college and transfer to SUNY Delhi for their bachelors degree. Both of these programs can be completed entierly online. There are also numerous CLEP/DSST centers all over the United States and in many other countries all over the world.
The bachelors degree at SUNY Delhi is very much hands-on, so anyone can gain practical construction industry skills right at the college. The college also offers students numerous internships and some students find their job right in the company where they interned.
There are two program tracks and students can choose either the Commercial construction track or the Residential construction track. The commercial track focuses on building commercial buildings such as offic buildings, hotels, shopiing centers and so on. The residential track focuses on building condos, townhomes and single-family residences.
There are many other colleges that offer a degree in construction management but the above ones are a great way to get an affordable and faster degree in this field. The University of Southern Mississippi also has an online, construction management BS degree program.
Note: Neither I nor anyone at CollegeOnomics is associated with these colleges and my recommendations are only based on what I find to be smart choices for you.
Is a degree in Construction Management worth it?
As per the Bureau of Labor statistics, as of 2019, there were 476,700 jobs in construction management with an above-average growth rate of 8%. The average salary for construction managers as of May 2020 is $97,180 which means there are many experienced professionals earning much above this figure and more of the entry-level professionals earning much lesser.
The cost of living also needs to be considered for the place where you live. Someone living in California is likely to have a much higher salary than say someone in a small town in Texas or even a town in New York.
But as a career, a Construction Management degree is certainly a good career option and is constantly on an upward trend.
Requirements for admission into a Construction Management degree
Most colleges will require a good high school GPA and some will ask for an SAT/ACT score. Due to the pandemic, many colleges which would typically require SAT scores have made it optional. So it’s best to check with the college before you submit your college application.
There is also another cadre of college applicants who will have a high school diploma with a few years of experience in the building constructions industry. This is another great way to be eligible for admissions into this degree program.
In some cases when the applicant has years of solid experience on the field, someone who has completed a certification exam even without a high school diploma may be admitted into such a program.
What kind of jobs can I get with a Construction Management degree?
Construction managers are adept at various aspects of building construction but their primary focus is on the project management tasks within construction projects. Civil engineers focus more on the design, types of building materials to choose and so on.
Here are a few jobs that graduates with a construction management degree can get:
- General contractor
- Project manager (building/construction)
- Cost estimator
- Building surveyor
- Building services engineer
- Field Supervisor
- Safety Manager
- Field Inspector
- Contract Administrator
What is a Construction Manager salary?
In their first job, a construction manager at the entry level is likely to make anywhere about $50,000 or more annually. Once s/he gains more work experience, the salary will rise considerably and in many cases, construction firms also offer a good bonus.
With about 5 years of experience, construction managers will make about $90,000 and construction managers with successful projects and experience of about 10 to 15 years can make about $120,000.
Who makes more money Civil Engineer or Construction Manager?
According to the BLS, the median pay for civil engineers as of May 2020 is $88,570. This is quite a bit lower than the median pay for construction managers of $97,180.
The growth rate for civil engineers of 2% is also much lower than the growth rate of 8% for construction managers. The total number of jobs too is much higher for construction managers than it is for civil engineers.
Can you become a Construction Manager right out of college?
With a degree in construction, it is certainly possible to start as a junior level construction manager in your first job. Make sure to utilize the career services offered by your college for all their new graduates.
If you have the opportunity, sign up for an internship sometime in the final year of your bachelors degree. Many students have been known to get their first job right where they intern. At the very least, you can get a great employer recommendation from the company you intern with.
Some colleges have campus interviews whereby many local employers visit to hire their smartest and brightest students. If this happens at your college, be sure to participate and you could get your first job waiting for you right on the day you graduate college!
Can Civil Engineers become Construction Managers?
Construction managers spend part of their time onsite managing the progress of the building projects and the workers. A part of their time is also spent on reporting to the management and in discussing with the civil engineers, design engineers and architects whenever they encounter issues with the construction that need to be resolved or better understood.
Civil engineers spend most of their time in the office and a smaller part of their days onsite. Civil engineers with a few years of experience and good people management skills can certainly transition to a role in construction management.
In general, professionals who prefer working in an office building would choose to be civil engineers or architects and those who are more comfortable working outdoors and are comfortable around heavy equipment, noises and so on would prefer a job as a construction manager.
What are the different ways to become a Construction Manager?
Most employers require a bachelors degree for the position of construction manager. It is most preferable to have a degree in construction management. This will ensure that your job application gets to the top of the resume pile.
But anyone with a bachelors degree in any field and some experience in the building constructions industry can become a construction manager. The key is to have closely-related experience and a bachelors degree.
In some cases, someone with a certification in the field with some years of experience in the constructions field can also become a construction manager. Even in this case, for a much better salary, a bachelors degree is very much required.
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