Whether you’ve just taken a career aptitude test or you’ve always known what you want to do for a career, it’s a great idea to be as prepared and informed as possible before pursuing a college degree. If you have a knack for leadership and love to admire buildings and infrastructure of all shapes and sizes, then construction management might be the perfect job for you.
Whether you’re a senior in high school, ready to pursue college after a gap year, or looking to make a career switch in your adulthood, you can be prepared to enter the construction industry with a construction management degree. But before you sign on the dotted line, consider these 6 things to ensure it’s a good fit.
1) Tuition Fees Depend on the College or University
Unfortunately, we can’t give a foolproof number for how much a construction management degree will cost. (That sure would be nice, though!) University degrees in the United States are often quite expensive, and a 4-year degree could cost you anywhere between $28,000 and $150,000. 😱
The sticker shock can hurt many potential college students, but there are ways to reduce the costs of higher education:
- Work-study opportunities
- Completing general credits at a community college
That’s right; you can complete your first two years of college at a local community college. You can get the required general education courses completed at a much cheaper cost and then transfer your credits to a college or university that offers a construction management degree. Then, you’ll only have to pay higher costs for your specialized degree program for two years instead of four.
The more involved you are in your community, the more likely it is that you’ll receive local scholarships. Don’t be afraid to cast a wide net and apply for as many scholarships and grants as you can.
2) A Construction Management Degree Isn’t a Civil Engineering Degree
Many people get construction management and civil engineering confused because they’re pretty similar. However, they are two completely different degrees and jobs.
Construction management services deal with the on-site aspects of construction projects. The ultimate responsibilities of a construction manager include:
- Hiring and supervising subcontractors on projects
- Managing the budget and project expenses
- Communicating with clients on the status of the project
- Collaborating with architects, designers, and engineers
- Handling deadlines, delays, and safety codes
On the other hand, civil engineers handle all of the aspects of an infrastructure project, (not only the work on-site), including:
- Environmental safety
- Legal permits
- Planning and logistics
- Overall budgeting and development
A civil engineering degree allows you to work in both fields if you’re interested in that. But a construction management degree will allow you to work more directly with materials and techniques on the physical construction site.
3) There Are Degree Programs Across the World (And Online!)
You can likely find a college or university within your home state that offers a construction management degree. However, if you’re looking to travel and experience new places, you can find construction management degrees across the entire country and world!
Some well-known programs are available at schools like:
- Virginia Tech
- University of Washington
- Milwaukee School of Engineering
- The Ohio State University- Agricultural Technical Institute
- The University of Cambridge– the UK (Master’s Program)
- The University of Sydney– Australia
If you would prefer to continue working full or part-time while completing a degree, then an online program may be best for you. There are a handful of schools that offer online construction management degrees, but keep in mind that tuition and fees usually aren’t much cheaper for online degrees compared to on-campus degrees.
4) Many Jobs Are Available and Well-Paying
Many people are concerned with the job market before they select a course of study. No one wants to spend thousands of dollars on a degree and then be stuck in a field that doesn’t have very many jobs available.
Thankfully, there are ample jobs available for construction managers. This is no surprise as the world’s population continues to grow and cities are rapidly expanding. Many available jobs related to construction management also pay respectable salaries.
Average annual salaries of construction management jobs:
- Construction Manager: $77,000
- Site Engineer: $86,000
- Facilities Manager: $71,000
- Sustainability Consultant: $65,000
5) You Don’t Always Need a Degree, but It Does Help
Since many of the trades prefer hands-on experience over college degrees, you may be wondering if a construction management degree is worth it. The answer is absolutely yes, but it’s not impossible to become a construction manager without one.
Many hiring managers require a 4-year degree in construction management or a related field (like civil engineering) to be considered for a position. So, earning a degree will definitely accelerate your ability to land a great job. However, it is possible to become a construction manager without a bachelor’s degree, but it will take a different kind of hard work.
Without a degree, you’ll need to spend many years working in construction, gaining experience, and climbing up to leadership positions. A degree will give you the hard and fast knowledge and experience needed to fill the role, but don’t neglect the importance of hands-on experience outside the classroom. Which brings us to our final point…
6) Take Advantage of Internships
A degree in construction management will help you land important interviews. But ultimately, real-life on-site experience will make you incredibly prepared and capable for the role. Many college courses incorporate hands-on work in the classroom, but the best way to get tangible experience is by taking internships.
Utilize the help of your on-campus career counselor to secure summer internships and jobs in the construction management field. Putting this experience on your resume will help you stand out to hiring managers— plus, the connections you make at your internships will be invaluable as you begin your job search.
The Trades Are Great Careers
There are so many positions across the trades, including leadership positions like construction management. If you’re looking for construction experience at a top-rated commercial construction company, browse our open positions at APX Construction Group. If you want to learn more about commercial construction, check out the other articles on our blog!